Surfing is an experience every person should definitely try. It may look easy to do when we watch them on TVs or YouTube, but in reality, it’s an activity that takes a lot of practice and safety in order to do it right. Have the best surfing experience without putting your life in danger by following these nine important surfing tips below.
Check the Ocean
Surfing safety starts with knowing what kind of ocean you’re surfing to. While still at home, you should be aware about the weather condition to avoid being stranded at the beach just in case the weather starts to go bad unexpectedly. Check your local news or go online for live weather updates. Once at the beach, feel free to ask the lifeguard and ask for guidance.
Watch out for rip currents. These currents are narrow channels of powerful water that launches seaward. They show up when waves break with stronger force in particular areas of the sea. If ever you’re caught in a rip current, remain calm and let yourself stay afloat along the shoreline and paddle along until you’re out of the rip current.
Do Stretching Exercises
Keep yourself away from muscle injuries by doing stretching warmups before you hit the waves. Stretching can make you flexible and keep in mind that flexibility is important in this activity. You can maneuver your board easily if your muscles are comfortable with bending, stretching, and swerving.
Don’t Forget to Protect Your Skin & Eat Up
The scorching heat of the sun can damage your skin, so don’t forget to apply sunscreen before you go to the beach and ride with the waves. This can prevent you from getting any gnarly burns, dehydration, and various skin diseases. Also, don’t forget to eat your breakfast to fuel your body. This is crucial especially for an activity like surfing.
Pace it Slow
If you’re a beginner, you might want to try surfing using a foam board or longboard first. Shortboards are designed for more advanced surfers since they’re more difficult to control. Keep yourself away from accidents by using longboards if you’re still not capable on surfing with shortboards yet.
Learn Duck Dives & Turtle Rolls
Paddling out can be a daunting experience for newbie surfers. Paddling requires a great amount of work from your upper body strength. It can be hard to get out of the water especially if the waves are crashing pretty hard. You can prevent this by doing duck diving though. Practice duck diving under trashing waves to avoid being carried back to the shore. Mastering this move is the key for safe surfing and will help your body conserve energy for more wave riding action.
Don’t be afraid to surf even if you’re just a beginner. Remember, every expert came from bitter beginnings. The important thing is that you have to be confident in your skills and know how to navigate the lineup. Be mindful of where you’re paddling into so that you won’t hurt any people that are just enjoying their time in the water. Keep in touch with your fellow surfers and ask for guidance if you don’t know which direction you should go so that you’ll avoid any collision.
Protect Your Head
Other sports require wearing a helmet, and this also includes surfing. But they are only reserved for those high-performing athletes that are capable to do dangerous surfing stunts. It’s important to protect your head while surfing especially when wiping out. Once you’re thrown off the board, quickly use your arms to cover your head. Put one hand on your head and the other one extended in front to break your fall.
Surfing safety should be your top priority. Always stay on the board no matter how hard the waves are crashing. If you ditch your board while bailing out of a wave, you might end up crashing with other surfers which will lead to serious accidents. Your board is your best friend while surfing so stay on it while still in the water.
Re-fuel your body by drinking water between every surfing session. This will keep you hydrated before you paddle out for another round.
Did you experience any accidents during your surfing session? If you did, then don’t worry, accidents are a part of the learning process. Take time to look back at your mistakes and evaluate yourself so you can think of ways how to be safer the next time you surf. This gives you a chance to do better, communicate better, and surf better than what you did today.
Surfing may be a hard and tough activity, but the feeling of enjoynment is definitely worth it after every wipeout. As long as you follow these nine surfing steps, you can have a safer and enjoyable surfing experience.
You might be required to wear a wetsuit depending on whatever surfing location you’re at. So if you have one, then great. If you don’t, then consider getting one. Surfing works best when barefooted so don’t wear any water shoes or sandals while doing such. Don’t forget to bring extra dry clothes for you to wear on after surfboarding. If you’re a girl with a long hair, French braid it to avoid making your hair looking like a giant nest after an hour of fun in the ocean.
Surfing isn’t a joke. It may seem fun to look at while looking at them through TV or the internet, but once you’re actually there and see those sky high waves you’ll probably doubt yourself if you should either go or not. You can go to small beaches first and practice there. A full moon is the best time to do it because waves can quickly get higher and higher because of the tide. Keep in mind that you won’t be wearing any life jacket while surfing so make sure that you know how to swim just in case something wrong will happen. Upper body strength is important so you’ll be able to pull yourself onto the board and transition your feet during surfing.
Bring the Essentials
Bring as little as possible with you if you go surfing. This is not a trip or a vacation or something where you really have to bring lots of things. Bring the essentials like dry clothes, towels, and of course food and water to enjoy. Some surfing beaches may offer you with free lunches as a part of the package but nothing hurts if you bring snacks right? Granola bars or Trail Mix are perfect snacks to fuel your body to help you get ready for those waves coming at you.
What to Expect
Depending on what surfing company you’re applying in, surfing lessons may vary. But most of these companies follow a basic lesson routine. You arrive at the beach, go to the surf store and you’re sized for boards and wetsuits. After that, you unload your things and wear your gear. You’ll be doing quick warmups like jumping jacks, jogging, squats and stretching. While still in land, you’ll be guided by the surfing instructor what to do once you hit the waves. This may look easy on paper, but it’ll be hard once you’re actually doing the real thing. Tides will become higher and higher unexpectedly from time to time so you really need to keep your body balanced all the time. That’s why being physically prepared is very important if you really want to try surfing.
Your body may be sore after all those trial and errors while surfing at the beach. It’s ok for a first timer, so make sure to get some rest thereafter. If you do plan to continue surfing the next day, take it easy this time to avoid getting bruises or any kinds of accidents in the water. Remember to take good care of your body all the time.
There’s nothing dangerous when we think about the beach right? Wrong. Even if the beach is nice to look at, surfers, both experienced and not should be careful to avoid any unfortunate mishaps that might happen. There’s nothing wrong with taking extra safety precautions as long as it can save your life. So what do surfers need to do to make their surfing escapade enjoyable and safe at the same time? Let’s have look!
Before you ride the waves, take a look at this safety checklist first and see if you’re ready and prepared.
Examine the Area
Just like what our grandparents use to say, look before you leap. To ensure a smooth and safe surf, be sure to scan the area first and see if there are any rocks, shallow reefs, or any other dangers to avoid.
Be Updated About the Weather
Check the local news or go online for weather updates. If you see that the sky is starting to cry, then look for another safer date to go surfing.
Check Your Board’s Fins
Fins under your board can be very sharp, so it’s better to dull it first before venturing out in the sea to catch some waves. If you don’t, then being attacked by your own board is the last thing you need to worry about which can get really messy.
Learn & practice how to unhook your board leash while underwater. Leash entanglements is not a good sign and you might be caught up into underwater accidents later on.
Know Your Limits
Lastly, the most important thing to do is to know your limits. If you can only ride small waves, then it’s ok. Don’t push yourself outside your boundaries just to impress anyone. You’ll end up dead pretty soon if you try to ride big waves without proper knowledge and skills just yet.
Watch Out for Riptides
Nature can be pretty and scary at the same time, especially when it starts to challenge you while you’re just enjoying your surfing session in the ocean. Riptides are one of the sneakiest dangers of the ocean. If you ever find yourself being caught into one, then remember the triple “F”.
Flip – onto your back so you can breathe.
Float – to conserve energy.
Follow – the current until it stays calm.
Swimming against a riptide is just a waste of energy and makes your escape much harder. Keep in mind that a riptide’s force lessens further from the shore. This means that it will stop pulling you out 50-100 yards away from the shore. Once the current had calmed down, you can swim back into the shore until you’re completely out of the riptide, or you can just either float until the current will lead you back into land.
Shallow Reef Wipeout
If you’re ready to wipeout, do it in a place that’s completely free from corals. Corals are very sharp so it’s important to avoid them. The best thing to do in this situation is not to wipeout in a shallow reef. But if you ever find yourself already in a shallow reef, then do the “starfish”.
So what is this “starfish” thing that we’re talking about? Well, if we look at a normal wipeout, you have to bring your arms together above your head and extend yourself to form a line. However, the starfish is miles different from this. As the name suggest, when you wipeout, you ext end your arms and legs to the side just like a starfish. This enables you to float higher and farther away from coral-filled places.
This is indeed one of the scariest part when it comes to surfing. Being tossed like a ragdoll by the waves is an experience you don’t want to remember. Hold downs are inevitable though so if ever this happens to you, then remember these:
Relax – keep calm and go with the flow of the current.
Use your arms – to protect your head from any danger that might happen.
Hold your breath – to save yourself from drowning.
Do not panic – or else a trip to the hospital is the next thing you’ll end up on.
Keep in mind that panicking and fighting for the surface won’t do any good. Your body will use more oxygen which prevents you to breath properly that may lead to worst situations later on. Train yourself to breath longer underwater to help yourself become more comfortable during a hold down. An average hold down can keep you underwater for 12 seconds. For big waves, however, might last longer than that. And what’s worst is that one wave will be followed by another depending on the place of the ocean you’re at. Do some yoga to train yourself to relax during longer hold downs.
As a surfer, you absolutely need to know how to read the waves. The reason why advanced surfers always seem to be in the right place at the right time and beginners don’t is simply because the advanced surfers know how to read the waves. If you can see which waves are coming, how to approach, which ones to choose, etc., you will get your moment of magic. Here is how you can learn to read the waves.
Consider the tide – Find out which tides you can expect when. You want to choose the right tide for the spot you want to surf in and you also want to know whether the tide is going out or coming in. You need to learn to understand the tides and how they influence waves in the areas where you surf. This will help you choose the right times to go for a surf.
Find your mark – This means that you need to find a spot on the beach to align yourself with once you’re in the water. You also need to know how far in you need to paddle. You will determine this by studying the waves and identifying where they start to break.
Know the different wave shapes – Before you go in the water, look at the waves. Identify the shapes, the size, where they break, swell direction, etc. This will help you know what to do when you are in the water.
Watch the surfers around you – This is especially helpful when you’re a beginner. Watch what the other surfers are doing and how and where they line up. Try to identify why they choose their spots and how they approach it.
Basically, you need to observe before you do. You can learn a lot from other surfers, but you also need to learn to read the waves yourself. Observe them, feel them, and learn to understand them. Once you have an understanding of the waves, you are ready to go.
Surfing is a sport that involves guts, confidence, and a good surf style. Surfing and surfing with style are two different things. To make an impression and look and feel good in the waves, you need to improve your surf style. These tips will help you get more out of your surfing.
1. Observe what other surfers do. Learn from your fellow surfers – the advanced ones and the less advanced ones. When you can identify what other surfers are doing well and poorly and compare it to what you are doing, you can learn a lot.
2. Ask someone to film your surfing. If you don’t see what you are doing, it is very difficult to improve. You need to have a look at what you’re doing, your technique, how you approach the waves, etc. and improve on those things.
3. Eat healthily and stay fit. If you are serious about your surfing, you need to stay healthy and fit. This is true for any sport, so start eating healthy and make sure you get enough exercise. This will definitely help you out there in the waves.
4. Do some research. Get a few books and videos of surfing. Study the videos and learn as much as you can. Read up on surf technique, different boards, style, etc. The more you know, the better you will train.
5. Continue surfing in winter. Surf throughout all the seasons. This will enable you to be ready when the great waves hit. Practice makes perfect and if you train in all types of weather, you will have no problem with any waves.
6. Train with a skateboard. Use the wheels and asphalt as an alternative training option. Practice your moves and tricks out of the water as well as in the water. This gives you an edge and more opportunity to practice.
These tips will help you get your surfing to the next level. It is also good to ask an experienced surfer to offer constructive criticism on your technique and style. This will help you improve.