Learning to surf – my experience

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When I first started as an intern at LGS I had never surfed in my life. I was a complete beginner, but very excited to start my journey!

I took a couple of lessons to make sure I had the right technique and learned more about the ocean. This part is really important. Getting up on a board is one thing, reading the waves, learning about currents, being in the right spot is another thing. This is the part that has been taking me the longest to learn, because the conditions are always changing. If you’re thinking about learning how to surf I recommend taking some lessons as this is really important to not get in trouble in the water, go to the best spot on the beach and surf the best waves.

Practise, practise, practise. That’s what all the coaches at LGS kept telling me, so that’s what I did. I tried to go out for a paddle at least 3 times a week. After the first two months I was able to paddle into my own waves instead of standing next to my board and jumping on when the waves were approaching.

It was important to start small and build my way up to some bigger waves. After getting caught in the wrong spot multiple times and experiencing a nosedive once in a while I can say I am much more confident than I was at the beginning of my surfing experience. After 4 months of surfing I learned how to get up, I am starting to turn, I am catching my own waves without a push. I can confidently go out on my own every time.

If you are a beginner my one piece of advice is: Do not give up! There will be days when you feel like quitting. (I definitely had them!) It’s important to not give up, because the reward of catching a wave all the way to shore is bigger than anything else and will leave you stoked all day!

Blog written by Julie Van Eccelpoel (2019 Intern)

Top 7 Tips For Beginner Surfers

Location: , , 11:36 am Tags: , ,

Surfing is something that you should try at least one time in your life. Unfortunately, many people who want to pick up surfing are afraid that they will get out on the water and embarrass themselves or get hurt.

Don’t let these fears stop you from getting out in the water! Instead, follow these top 7 tips for beginners surfers and you’ll be on the right path to surfing with ease and confidence.

  1. Book a lesson

We always recommend booking a lesson when you are new to surfing, getting a surfer friend to take you the first time is not the best option. Even though they may be able to surf, they may not be able to teach. We really recommend booking a lesson before hitting the waves.

Not only will this help you progress faster, it will also keep your safer from possible injuries.

  1. Get The Right Surfboard

Too many inexperienced surfers roll out on the beach with shortboards under their arms because they “look cool”. I’ll tell you what’s not cool: flopping around in the water for two hours because you can’t find your balance on a board that is built for experienced surfers.

Instead, use a beginner board.  For surfers who are just starting out, I always recommend they start with a soft-top board. Large and long soft-top surfboards provide tons of buoyancy and stability, perfect for getting your paddling and pop-ups down, as well as a softer exterior, which is far safer considering the amount of times you’ll be bailing.

  1. Practice Your Technique On the Beach

Don’t worry about looking kooky. Ignore the haters and practice your techniques before getting into the water. You’ll feel far more comfortable than just paddling out blind. Rest your board in the sand and practice your pop-ups until you feel comfortable. Think of popping up like a quick push-up. It is controlled, yet fluid. Watch some videos online to get an idea of the correct form.

We also recommend lying on your board and finding your paddling “sweet spot”. You want to make sure that you’re centered on your board. Not only will this land paddling practice help to lock in your form, but it will also get you warmed up so that you don’t tire out too quickly once in the waves.

  1. Pick the Appropriate Waves To Practice On

Do yourself a favor and don’t walk on out to Trestles or North Shore on your first day. You will get pummeled by waves and forget why you ever wanted to try surfing in the first place. Instead, find a beach with consistently small waves that is good for beginners. All it takes is some simple research to find a local beginner spot near you.

Trust me, take some time and get used to these small waves. Surf them again and again and again until it is second nature. That dedication will eventually lead you to surfing larger and larger waves.

  1. Know How To Wipeout

You will never be able to avoid wiping out when you begin surfing. You are going to fall again and again. It may be frustrating, but don’t give in. Wiping out is part of the process. Have fun with each wipeout. Analyze what you did wrong or what you could have done better after every failed attempt.

Understanding how to fall, when to hold your breath, and how/when to come back up, is kind of an art. Check out some of my favorite wipeout tips here.

  1. Never Paddle Parallel To The Waves

Whether you decide to paddle over a small wave or duck dive under a large wave, it is necessary that you never turn your board parallel to the whitewater. Turning parallel gives the breaking wave more surface area to push back, and will likely send you plummeting towards shore where you’ll have to start all over again.

Think of your board like a knife and cut through that wave head on.

  1. Have a Good Time

Look, there’s no better advice that I can give you then to stay positive and have fun while you are out in the water. That is the whole point of surfing. No surfer paddles out everyday because they want to kill themselves doing it. They paddle out because each wave that they catch provides a rush of adrenaline, excitement, and fun, that they can’t get from anywhere else.

When you look at surfing as a whole, it’s quite a feat of human ingenuity. The fact that we’ve learned how to harness the almighty power of the ocean in such an exhilarating way is quite amazing.

Surfing provides a feeling unlike anything else, and I highly recommend going out at least one time in your life to see what it’s all about. Make sure to follow our beginner surf tips and you’ll be on your way to surfing like a pro in no time!

Blog written by: Camille Pilar

5 Biggest mistakes beginner learners make

Location: , , 9:34 am Tags: ,

The first thing I hear when people find out that I manage a surf school, is “Oh that’s cool! I’ve tried it before, but was never good at it”, and my response is always the same. Surfing is a very rewarding but also requires dedication, nurturing and learning.

Here are the biggest mistakes that I normally see in the water with beginners:

  • Not actually catching waves: I see this time and time again, people trying to walk before they can crawl. There is science in catching waves and its not the easiest thing to learn, so my advice to the beginners out there, is to paddle until you’ve actually got some decent speed to stand up on. Catch a few waves on your belly if you have to, add in some extra paddles, do whatever it takes,  just make sure you’re on the wave before you try anything.


  • Not doing any wave reading:  This doesn’t mean going to the library and asking for books on waves, although, that might certainly help. Learning about the ocean is crucial, especially when understanding how waves work. What’s a beach break? What’s a point break? What’s a reef? The ocean changes everyday so taking some time to look at the waves and see how, why and where they are breaking will make you a better surfer and will also help you with visualisation.


  • Catching waves when other surfers are already on them: We’ve all heard about mythical gnarly fights starting in the ocean or seen them in those classic surfing dude movies. Well, it’s a reality on some beaches and the problem is it’s always because someone was not doing what they were supposed to. I say learn about the etiquette and surfing protocol, meaning who has the right of way to the wave, positioning and it never hurts to know who the locals are.


  • Not having the right equipment: I know it’s nice having a small six foot fibreglass board but if you can’t stand up on it what good is it? There is a process that cannot be rushed and one must be patient with it. Wax on, wax off right? That’s all well and good if your karate kid but…actually, eeerrr, it kinda does work for surfing too, wax on is always better than wax off on your board! What I mean is, the right board for the right time, legropes, wetsuit, sunscreen and make sure you know how big your board is and that you understand what it means.


  • Giving up: When all of the above come into existence, motivation turns rapidly into frustration and that leads to hanging up the wetsuit and putting the newly purchased surfboard into storage never to be seen again until our great great grandchildren raid it and get so excited they have a vintage board to add to their collection of boards. My advise, don’t give up just get some help from a professional who will keep your motivation up to continue on the surfing journey. 

Surfing can be super fun and very rewarding if you are equipped with all the tools to succeed, if you don’t know them come down to LGS Bondi, Byron or Maroubra and get some advise and a lesson or three.


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