START SURFING VOL. I THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE FOR THE BEGINNER
Getting Started Surfing, the ULTIMATE guide for the absolute beginner.
For some reason you want to start surfing, you still don't know why, this sport has always caught your attention and you have that almost inexplicable connection with the sea, maybe it was that trip to the coast where you saw those surfers catching waves as if nothing had happened, or the Instagram photo of your co-worker / class or simply the need to play sports. You don't know it yet, but it's about to change your life.
First of all, the most important thing: IT'S NEVER TOO LATE to start surfing.
the basic question What do I need to start surfing?, but more important than that is, How do I prepare to start and stay surfing for a long time?
7 out of 10 beginner surfers quit surfing after a year. Surfing is a sport of ups and downs, of great moments of euphoria and moments of frustration. The main reasons why people leave surfing are:
– No progress observed.
– Fear / bad experience with waves or currents.
– There is no one to go with.
– The lifestyle does not accompany.
- There is no time".
– There is no means of transportation.
All these points are summarized in one: lack of motivation. Every surf session is going to teach you something and the key is to learn that lesson (good or bad) and save it for the next one. If you have chosen the right equipment, the good days will be many more than the bad ones, so there will be more motivation and enthusiasm for the next session. More motivation means more time in the water, which brings more progress and again more enthusiasm and motivation. So the circle goes and the reason why the correct choice of your board is very important.
To start surfing you need:
- A SURF BOARD: A good board is essential. If you weigh between 65 and 85 kilos, probably the best option will be a funboard, with good buoyancy and weight distribution, light and easy to paddle. You'll worry about maneuverability and control later. Forget about a short board under 6.6 feet, those types of boards just don't work for learning. It is not easy to find a balance on the tables. If you buy a very big and long board, you will not want it in a couple of months, if you buy a very short board either, since the frustration will be too great to continue. A 7 foot board seems to be the reasonable option in these conditions. Eye! It's not a magic recipe, but in my experience it works for most people with these characteristics.
– The board has 3 (or sometimes 4) small “fins” located on the underside of the board called KEELS, these small fiberglass, carbon or plastic structures serve to stabilize the board as it travels through the wave. They can be fixed or removable (recommended) and there are different systems for fixing the fin to the board: FCS, VPS, Future, etc. If you are in the process of learning, do not think about it too much and choose the simplest and most economical. Many times they are included in the purchase of your board, other times you will have to buy them separately (the usual price range is €20 to €20). In initial stages, you need a large fin to stabilize your board especially if your weight is over 80 kilos. You will have time to worry about the shape, angles, colors, or technology in more advanced stages of your surfing.
Surfing seems so much easier than it is. Honestly, you'll be surprised how hard it is to learn. But calm down! The road is extremely fun, sometimes sweet and other times bitter but 100% rewarding. If you have already decided, you are about to start a major change in your life.
I have always thought that those of us who practice surfing go from having a life revolving around work, family, sports, friends, etc., to a life where everything, I repeat “everything” is linked to surfing: work, food, family, sport. , etc etc. You will check that.
– A SUIT: The suit is less important than the table, even so it is a point to consider. A good 4,3mm wetsuit (meaning 4mm on the chest and 3mm on the arms and legs), will do the job for much of the cold water and winter surf, but you can use a thinner 3,2mm wetsuit. .1 mm if you surf in not so cold waters or if you are only going to learn in summer. Please, do not worry about analyzing the new characteristics of "thermo padding" or super flexibility technologies, for now the important thing is that it keeps you warm, warm and that you can spend at least 2 to 150 hours in the water, without having to suffer of hypothermia. In summary, a good suit in the range of 200 to XNUMX euros will do a good job.
- Is the surf suit used with or without a swimsuit? controversial as well as optional. Personally, always without anything under the suit, comfort in the water comes first. And something you should never do is put it on your suit!
- Ankle boots?. This depends a lot on the water temperature of the spot where you are going to learn and the time of year. It is something optional and depends on if you are cold. I personally think it's like playing the guitar with gloves on; In surfing your feet are the ones that feel the board. Without boots, you will improve your balance and the sensations multiply.
- A leash (or invention): It is the plastic rope that connects the board to your ankle. Very important as a safety element, since the board is your lifeline in the water, if the link is cut, you will have to float back to the shore on your own. It does not need to be from big brands, just something effective and proven. The leash is attached to the ankle of the rear leg, that is, the leading forward leg is free and the rear leg is attached to the board with the leash. How to know which leg is my front leg or which one is the back one? Stand up, and imitate a forward fall as if someone had pushed you from behind. Don't think about it too much, look at the leg you used to break the fall, that is your leading or dominant foot on the board. The leash should be placed on the opposite ankle.
Anything else? You don't need more to learn to surf! surprising isn't it? Surfing is a sport with few accessories, and that is one of its virtues, absolute simplicity, just you, your board and the sea.
With a budget of around €500 you can get into the water and start riding your first waves.
What skills do I need to learn to surf?
Many will immediately say, balance!, but the truth is, in the initial stages, the time you can stand on a board is quite short. While those characteristics are certainly important, I would say that the most important thing is agility, the ability to move fast and light as a feather, from the prone position (when you are lying on the board) to the standing position. Another fundamental characteristic is strength, which you will develop as you progress in your surfing. Strength to row and to push your body to a standing position.
Flexibility is also another of the important characteristics to adapt to the different positions that your body at your desk job is not used to having.
A thing. EVERYONE can surf, women, children, people who are overweight or very thin. You don't need superhuman strength or speed to surf. It only takes perseverance to improve day by day.
It would be ideal if before you start you can practice exercises where you mobilize your body weight such as push-ups, squats, pull-ups, jumps, yoga poses, etc.
Do I need to know how to swim?
It is not 100% necessary, but it is highly recommended for your safety at sea. I have never been a great swimmer, yet I ventured out a while ago to learn to surf. 100% necessary to know how to stay afloat (with a wetsuit and salt water it becomes much easier than without them), and to be able to move in the water in case you lose your board in the sea to be able to reach the shore again. If you go in on big days and strong currents you must be a competent swimmer.
Do I need to teach?
It is a complicated question. If you ask, 90% of surfers will tell you that they learned on their own or with the supervision of a friend. Of course, since in these times there are more people who want to learn than those who are willing to teach, it is convenient that you take some classes to learn the basic concepts of safety at sea, the technique of rowing and pop-up (as it is called says to get up on the board) and the duckling (pass the waves under the water with your board without being dragged by it). Those concepts are fundamental and you must learn them.
In the event that you can afford extra classes, it will always be a plus if someone with more experience guides you in the correct techniques and fundamentals of surfing. Your progress will be faster.
Personally, I have always thought that surfing is not taught, like walking, it is something instinctive and that it improves with practice, but it is important that at first someone guides you and gives you the rules of the game. Let's go, with perseverance everything is possible, even surfing.
I get tired?
Solid and resounding YES!. Surfing is physically demanding. The arms and the muscles of the lower back and neck suffer the most. Mainly because we are not used to using them in our day to day. It is incredible how after a few weeks your body is transformed and in one or two months your muscles become strong and ready for ever greater demands.
How often should I go to the water?
There is no specific recipe, just try to surf as much as you can, even more than once a day. That will bring great progress to your surfing. Realistically going into the sea once a week is adequate and just enough to see progress. Surfing once a month, most likely you will not reach the goal.
How long should I be in the water?
The average session lasts about 1,5 hours. The sessions at the beginning are shorter and very exhausting, your muscles are not used to the new demand. It will also depend on your tolerance to cold or the thermal insulation capacity of your suit.
How soon will I be up and riding waves?
Surfing is definitely one of the most difficult sports to learn, highs and lows will fill your path. Days in which you will be the king of the world and many others in which you will simply want to leave everything.
In my personal experience, I believe that 6 months is a normal time when people can start surfing their first walls of clean waves by practicing at least once a week.
When to go?.
Continue in the PART 2.
With love, by Wolf for Flysurf Boards Spain.