How to Get the Most Out of Your Surfing Lesson
Surfing is a fantastic sport that people of all ages can enjoy, and whether you live by the sea or you head to the beach for holidays, it’s something we strongly believe everyone should try once. Surfing schools up and down the country offer a range of lessons for beginners, from a few hours to teach the basics to week-long camps that aim to get you up on your feet within days. Whichever you choose you are likely to learn everything from wave etiquette to holding the board the right way around, but here at F-One, we thought we’d provide a guide on how you can make the most of your surfing lesson. We’ve created just seven of what we believe to be the most useful hints, tips and information for you to read up on prior to your lesson, making it easier for you to develop and get the most out of what the qualified instructors can offer.
Opt for a Foam, Stable Board - the Bigger the Better!
This stage of your surfing journey is not about looking cool – quite the opposite in fact! A ‘foamie’ as they’re so affectionately called may not make you look like the coolest rider on the beach, but it is certainly exactly what you need to pick up the basics. Most surf schools will provide one of these as the norm and will only consider a hard board if you have a substantial amount of prior experience.
Think Carefully About Location
Much like in most snow sports you spend the first few days on baby slopes falling your way down any slight incline, you should ease into surfing gently and choose somewhere that’s known to be accommodating to beginners. Sheltered bays will minimise the role played by wind on conditions and keep those pesky winds at bay while you’re learning the basics. If you’re in an area with lots of ‘surfable’ beaches in the vicinity, it might be worth asking around which one is most recommended for beginners.
Don’t be Surprised if You Spend Much of the First Hour on the Sand
Believe it or not, there’s a lot more to surfing than getting the board in the water and jumping on top of it. The most important part of any surfing lesson is on the sand, where you’ll learn how to pop up, various board positioning and safety information such as what to do in the event of a rip tide, all of which prove crucial in your ability to stand up on the board. Try to ignore the sniggering spectators as you mock paddle with your hands on the sand for the umpteenth time; rest-assured you’ll have the last laugh when you’re up on your feet in no time.
Keep it Positive and Embrace the Bails
If we’re being honest, it’s highly unlikely you’ll learn how to surf without experiencing a few pretty spectacular bails, much to the enjoyment of those spectating on the beach. Sometimes, these are embarrassing, or may even hurt a bit, but the best thing to do is laugh it off and get back on the board. Most surf schools will actually pre-empt bails by teaching you how to fall safely, minimising pain and allowing you to keep going, so no matter how confident you are, be sure to listen carefully to that part. Chances are you’ll be in a lesson with other learners and can laugh along with each other at every fall. Bails are actually vital learning curves, and once you’ve nose-dived for the seventh time in a row, you’ll start to realise you may need to move a little further back on your board which will improve your technique and know-how no end.
With today’s ever-increasing reliance on digital or, more specifically, how many likes your photos get on Instagram, you may as well opt for photography at an extra cost if it’s on offer at your surf school. Even if you stand up for just three seconds over the whole week, the photographer might catch you in your prime and your followers certainly don’t need to know you spent the majority of the time with your head under water. On a more serious note, these provide memories you can look back on with fondness, and if you want to pursue surfing then the photos may provide an opportunity for you to perfect your posture and technique.
Prepare Yourself Physically
Spending hours in the water at a time and using muscles that aren’t usually worked in this way can be tiring and if your level of fitness is generally quite low, this is something you may wish to improve prior to any lessons. Spending time in the sea and waves is physically demanding at the best of times, let alone when you are attempting to keep control of a seven-foot board and paddle as powerfully as you can to get on the waves in the first place. Even just a little bit of extra cardio a week will enable you to focus on technique rather than your breathlessness and the increase in stamina gives you more of a chance of pushing yourself up to a standing position.
Get the Right Kit
If you’re planning on learning in the UK during any time of the year, the sea will be colder than you might like, meaning having the correct kit that allows you to stay out in the water for hours at a time is of upmost importance. Most surf schools will provide all the gear, but if you get particularly cold, we recommend looking into extra accessories that may not be available at the school, such as gloves, boots and hoods.
That concludes our guide to making the most out of your surfing lesson. For those thinking about kitesurfing for the first time, check out our guide to Making the Most of Your First Kitesurfing Lesson, or browse our online store for some of the best kitesurfing equipment in the UK. We also stock a range of products ideal for surfers, including Manera wetsuits, should you wish to continue to learn to surf following your lesson. If you have any questions at all or would like to talk to us about equipment, don’t hesitate to contact our team of in-house experts who would be more than happy to help.