Do you want to learn to surf? Have you decided to take your first surf lesson? That’s great! You’ve just made the right move because here are some tips before taking your first surf lesson!
Surfing is an awesome and unique experience but before starting your first surf lesson, it’s really important to follow some tips to make the most of your session. Have a look at them!
1) Know how to swim.
First of all, you need to know how to swim. This may seem obvious, but if you are afraid of the water or don’t know how to swim properly, it’s a good idea to learn before you attempt surfing!
You don’t need to be an expert swimmer, but it’s important to have some basic swimming skills to keep you feeling safe and confident in the water. So don’t go surfing if you can’t swim!
2) Wear the proper surf attire.
Wetsuit or Swimsuit? You will need to check the water temperature of the spot you are going to surf before deciding what to wear. If you don’t know what water temperature requires a wetsuit, you can ask your surf instructor.
If you are going to take your surf lesson on a beach where the water is warm, like in Jacksonville, you could wear a swimsuit. But if you are going to surf in a location where the water is much colder such as in San Francisco, you’ll need to wear a full-body wetsuit to avoid getting a chill or, in a worst-case scenario, hypothermia. Make sure to know these tips before taking your first surf lesson!
If you choose to wear a bathing suit, try to wear one that is tight yet comfortable. Nine out of ten times, the nicest, trendiest bikini won’t be the best choice. It will be constantly slipping off and distracting to have to worry about. Bikinis that provide enough coverage are a good choice for women and board shorts are great for men. Also, if you’re prone to sunburn, consider wearing a rash guard.
In the event that you choose a neoprene wetsuit, keep in mind that you’ll need one that fits tight to your body to keep you warm and avoid water coming in. Experiment with finding the right size for you. FYI: The zipper goes up the back!
3) Wear sunscreen.
Wearing sunscreen while surfing is a MUST! You must apply 20 minutes before your lesson and every two hours. So if you plan to stay in the water longer than two hours, you should take a break to reapply before continuing with your surf lesson.
It is very important to use a water-resistant sunblock SPF 50 for your entire body. Don’t forget to apply it to your cheeks, nose, ears and most important, on the bottoms of your feet! Also, you should use sun lipstick to protect your lips.
There’s nothing worse than getting too sunburnt on your first day and being unable to go back in the water the rest of the week.
4) Eat and drink well.
You should drink lots of water to keep hydrated. Additionally, you should eat a complete, balanced meal of carbohydrates and protein before your surf lesson. Getting protein from eggs and carbs from oatmeal and fruit such as oranges and bananas is a great option because you’ll feel satisfied and energized.
After your surf lesson, make sure to include protein, carbohydrates and some healthy fats to help your muscles recover. And…yeah, you can grab a beer! You deserve it!
5) Warm-up & cool-down.
Surfing is a whole-body workout, so it’s really important to prepare your body for physical effort. It’ll help you to avoid an injury like pulling a muscle!
You can do some exercises such as arm and leg swings, ankle rotations and arm stretches. Your surf instructor will likely take you through some warm ups and safety briefing on land before you head in the water.
Finally, after your surf lesson, don’t forget to cool down to get back to your normal heart rate! You can spend some more time on the beach and do some stretching.
6) Familiarise yourself with falling.
When you practice this sport for the first time, you may already expect to fall more than once (dozens of times, I can tell you!).
You may have a couple wipeouts, but don’t panic! It’s normal and you’ll get through it! Falling is just a part of the process of learning this sport!
Remember, your instructor is there to make sure you’re safe and out of harm’s way. Safety is #1.
7) Practice holding your breath.
Sometimes you may find yourself under a wave trying to swim to the surface. That’s why you need to know how to hold your breath underwater.
A good tip to put into practice while you are surfing is to take a deep breath before paddling onto a wave, so you’ll have enough oxygen in case you end up underwater.
8) Choose the right spot and the right time.
Before deciding the best location for your first surf lesson, you should take into account the weather conditions.
You’ll need to have a basic understanding of the tides and the strength and size of the waves during the day.
A good idea is to choose a beach known for steady waves. If you have doubts about choosing the best spot, ask a local surf shop!
9) Prepare to be exhausted after the lesson.
Surfing is an intensive physical activity, so you should know that after your first surf lesson your body might be sore and you might feel a bit tired as well.
To combat this, it is a good idea to stretch not only the day after your lesson, but also a few days following.
10) Respect the ocean.
You must always have respect for the ocean and its power. Also, you need to be able to adapt to its changing conditions.
Never forget that you are surfing in a living ecosystem. If you respect its plants and animals, they will respect you as well!
11) Last but not least: Have a great time!
It’s okay to feel a bit nervous before your first surf lesson, but keep in mind that you’ll be guided by an experienced surf instructor that will teach you the basics and will be supervising you all the time.
Once you’re out on the water, your fears will go away and you’ll enjoy your surfing experience and have a lot of fun!
Remember: “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.” – Phil Edwards.
So, what are you waiting for? Prepare yourself for a wonderful surfing experience and use these tips before taking your first surf lesson!
If you decide surfing is for you, check out this post on how to stay safe while surfing!