Becoming a proficient surfer can be a long and sometimes arduous journey. Noticeable progression can be particularly slow especially when you first start. So here’s a list of some of the most common errors beginners surfers make, brought to you by the friendly and professional coaching team at Lets Go Surfing.
1. Board Selection
Beginner surfers need big boards. The bigger the board, the more stable and buoyant it will be. This will maximise the amount of waves you’re able to catch, therefore allowing you to practice your pop-up and stance more often. Small, thin fiberglass boards are essentially the sports cars of the surfing world. They’re designed to be ultra light, fast, and fluid on the waves. But you wouldn’t teach someone to drive in a ferrari, so grab yourself a big, durable soft-top. If in doubt, bigger is better. And if you’re not sure of the right size for you, come check out our huge range of boards and have a chat to one of our soft-board specialists.
2. The conditions.
It’s always important to assess the conditions before you go surfing. I always like to watch the ocean for at least 20 minutes before I venture out. How big are the waves? How frequent are the sets? Learn to identify the rips and currents. Know your limits and you won’t find yourself too far outside of your comfort zone. Generally speaking, smaller, more gentle waves are better for beginners. We highly recommend some surf lessons with a qualified instructor who will be able to teach you the ins and outs of swells, sandbanks, winds, tides and all the factors that affect the waves.
3. Position whilst paddling.
If you’ve already had some lessons with us, you’ve probably heard this next line a few times! “Keep your toes on the tail.” When you’re riding a large board its a good idea to keep your toes positioned on the edge of the tail. Too far forward and your likely to nose dive. Too far back and you’ll create too much drag and struggle to catch waves. Keep your body straight, and raise your chest and chin, allowing your ribs and lower half take most of your body weight. This will improve your balance and allow for a stronger paddle stroke.
4. Using knees when you pop up.
Probably one of the most common, yet easiest bad habits to correct is using your knees when you pop up. For many, the initial pop up is the hardest skill to master. Using your knees not only unbalances you, but it will also make progression much, much slower. Practice your pop up on the sand before you enter the water and regularly at home to build muscle memory and become accustomed to the technique. When you’re in the water, slow down your movements. People tend to use their knees when they panic and try to rush the pop-up. Take it easy! You’ve always got more time than you think you have.
5. Knees bent.
Bending your knees lowers your entire centre of gravity and improves your balance. You can compare it to suspension on a push-bike. Bent knees will absorb any bumps you may encounter along the wave. Just remember to bend from the knees and not from the back. Bending your back, in an attempt to get low on the board, pushes your head off-centre from above the board. Your head is the heaviest part of your body, so it’s super important for your balance to have it over the surfboard.
I hope these tips help you this summer! Remember, the best way to get better at surfing is to get in the ocean as much as possible. If you think you’d like some extra guidance, come see us at Lets Go Surfing to organise a lesson or have a chat about your surfing journey.