8 beginner surfing mistakes you should avoid

Just recently signed up for your first surf lesson and unsure about how you should prepare? Are you a beginner wanting to learn more about this ocean activity? Here are 8 beginner surfing mistakes you should avoid

Hopefully reading this will provide you with the guidance you’re looking for!

Down below are 8 surfing mistakes you should avoid as a beginner.

1) Beginner surfing mistakes you should avoid: using the wrong surfboard.

Girl with a surfboard

When starting your surf journey, longboards are 100% the way to go.

While they can definitely look scarier than shortboards, they are the key to helping you gain comfort when it comes to catching waves.

The larger surface area will make it much easier for you to stand up and find balance, and will overall provide more stability for you.

If you are unsure about what longboard to reach for, a really great one for all beginners to practice on is The Wavestorm. It has a unique soft top which makes popping up much easier. Check out this HOKALI article that goes into deeper detail about this board!

2) Not checking the surf report.

Being aware of the surf conditions before you head out for your session is incredibly important, especially if you are planning to surf at a spot you have never been to before.

1-3 foot waves are perfect for beginners, so anything bigger than that is probably a sign for you to skip out on the ocean for the day.

This should definitely be a beginner surfing mistake you should avoid!

It is also probably a good idea for you to sit down and observe the waves before heading out so that you can get a better feel for the spot you have chosen.

Unsure about where to check the surf report? A great website is surfline.com!

3) Laying improperly on your board.

Finding the “sweet spot” on your board is a huge game changer, and something you’ll definitely notice makes a big difference when you’re surfing.

Sitting too far back on your board will cause a drag, leading you to feel almost as if you’re stuck and unmoving.

On the other hand, sitting too far up will cause you to pearl and nose dive when you try to catch a wave, making for an extremely unpleasant experience!

You want to lay in a position where the nose of your board remains slightly out of the water, while the tail is relatively level with it.

Remaining in this position can also make paddling much easier!

4) Being unaware of your surroundings.

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “never turn your back on the ocean”? Well, that phrase goes hand in hand with surfing. You always want to stay alert for incoming waves. This will make your experience as safe as possible and keep you out of trouble.

Not paying attention can also cause dangerous situations for the other surfers around you. Being unprepared for an incoming wave can lead to a situation ending with your board hitting the person next to you.

Constantly being aware of your surroundings is just overall the best way to avoid conflict.

5) Not following surf etiquette.

Surf etiquette is arguably the most important aspect of this ocean activity.

Even if you’re a beginner, respecting the surfers around you should always be your number one priority. Constantly remind yourself that everyone is out there for the same reason: to have a good time!

If you do happen to forget or go against surf etiquette, always apologize. An apology will go a long way, and it is overall just good manners.

6) Popping up too early is for sure a beginner surfing mistake you should avoid

Catching a wave is an enormous adrenaline rush, especially for beginners.

A lot of the time, you may feel yourself wanting to pop up as fast as you can in order to get the best out of your experience.

However, standing up too fast can actually cause the wave to roll right under you, making you miss out on the moment completely.

It’s always better to stand up later and catch the wave than to stand up immediately and miss it.

7) Having an improper stance.

Beginner surfing mistakes you should avoid

Once you have caught a wave, actually staying on your board long enough to ride it out can be a challenge.

This is something that takes a lot of time for beginners to get the hang of, however, there are definitely a few things that can make this transition easier.

Bending your body in the wrong area is a huge mistake that a lot of beginners don’t even realize they are partaking in. You may find yourself bending at the waist, however you want to make sure that you change this to bending at the knees. Over time you will get the hang of it and begin to feel much more stable out there!

Your placement on your board when standing up is another huge aspect when it comes to successfully catching waves. Just like when you paddle, if you’re too far forward, your board will pearl causing you to nose dive, which is not fun at all.

8) Looking down.

When you feel yourself successfully standing up and riding a wave, you always need to make sure to keep your head up and your eyes open.

You might find yourself wanting to look at your feet, but do your best to avoid this. Instead, look forward so that you know where you’re headed towards.

Besides, if you’re surfing in a place like Oahu, how will you be able to enjoy the beautiful view around you if you’re looking down?

Constantly remember that practice makes perfect and that this article is always here to provide you with the guidance you’re looking for.

Now that you’re aware of these 8 beginner surfing mistakes to avoid, we hope you feel more prepared and confident for your future surf endeavors!

Surfing is an amazing activity, and knowing beginner surfing mistakes you should avoid, along with a little navigation, you’re destined to thrive! 

Here are some ways for you to thrive in this surf world though exercising before and after surfing!

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