6 of the best tips for beginner surfers
16 May 2019
It’s easy to find articles about famous locations that feature “epic waves”, killer tubes and jaw-dropping breaks. But as exciting and impressive as these locations may be, they don’t always sound like the best places to learn to surf. Novice surfers need to feel safe, be in competent and qualified hands, and have stress-free access to some long, gentle waves so they can develop the proper skills and techniques in order to progress to more challenging breaks.
With that in mind, we’ve collated a list of the 6 best tips for beginner surfers based on our considerable experience teaching people to surf all over the world. You won’t become Kelly Slater overnight or charge Banzai Pipeline with the best of them, but with our help, you’ll master the basics in no time at all and start surfing with confidence.
Read our 6 awesome tips for beginner surfers and learn how to shred the waves in no time at all.
1. Learn with an experienced instructor
If you’re serious about learning to surf, then our best tip for beginner surfers would be to book a few sessions with an experienced instructor. Not only will they provide helpful pointers on how to improve your technique with every wave, but they’ll even dish out valuable advice on how to read the waves and the weather conditions to those who are willing to listen.
They are the secret ingredient to progressing quickly and an encouraging voice out of the water. They’ll answer all of your surf related questions and help guide you to the best waves for your skill level. For those who’ve never surfed before, an experienced instructor will also prove to be the difference between the frustration of not being able to stand up and the pure elation of finally making it to your feet.
For these reasons we here at Rapture Surfcamps only employ instructors that we consider to be competent waterman and women. Not only that but we also employ people who will make you feel comfortable in what may otherwise be a very unfamiliar environment. Which allows you to focus more on having fun and making new friends whilst also enjoying the moment.
2. Book a multiday learn to surf trip
Riding a wave is difficult and many people who learn to surf with Rapture Surfcamps don’t get to their feet on their first wave. In fact, the majority of people who book with us still find it hard to consistently catch waves and stand up even after a whole day in the water. This doesn’t mean they lack the skills to surf though. On the contrary, it’s more because of the nature of surfing.
You see, instead of having a snowboard kicker or skate ramp that you can practice on again and again, surfing has you catching waves which put you at the whim of Mother Nature. Sometimes the waves may be too big while other days it’s as flat as a swimming pool. Even then when the surf is considered good for learners, you may still find it difficult to catch a wave that allows you to ride it all the way to shore.
This means that in one 2-hour session you may only surf a handful of waves, as opposed to the snowboarder or skateboarder who can keep hitting the kicker or ramp at their leisure. Our tip for beginner surfers? Book a trip to any one of Rapture Surfcamps’ exotic learn to surf destinations and see for yourself how multiple days in the water can make you a more well-rounded surfer in a shorter amount of time.
3. Accept falling as part of the learning process
Falling is as much a part of surfing as standing up. The only difference between those of you who are just learning how to surf and the pros is that they take every fall as an opportunity to refine their approach and get better. For this reason, the team at Rapture Surfcamps reckon that accepting the fact you’re going to have a few spills is one of the best tips for beginner surfers.
Of course, the same can be said for just about any sport. But when it comes to surfing and the emphasis people put on simply standing up, it can often feel like falling is the equivalent of failure. The truth is though that you only fail at surfing when you don’t learn from your mistakes. Or to be more specific, you don’t take what you’ve learned and then apply it to the next wave you catch.
Our fastest learners are always the ones who can take the advice offered by our experienced surf instructors. They’re also the ones who understand that for every time they fall off their board, they’re one step closer to refining their skills. Not to mention a few harmless bangs and bruises from your first surfing experience always make for a great story later in the night.
4. Try to surf away from the crowds
A lot of learn to surf destinations are also very crowded. This can lead to accidents in the water or arguments when people ignore the etiquette of surfing. Mostly though it creates a chaotic vibe that can make your surf session about as much fun as doing your taxes on the last day of the year. Luckily though we here at Rapture Surfcamps have a great tip for beginner surfers in this situation…. surf away from the crowds.
Seriously, you don’t need to paddle out to a particular reef break or sandbank just because everyone else is there. An alternative is to look for another wave nearby the main lineup that’s safe, then try your luck there. The best thing about doing this is that you can rack up a serious wave tally without worrying about getting in the road of other people riding the waves.
If you don’t feel comfortable surfing a peak by yourself though, you can also try surfing a reformer that’s breaking closer to the shore. Look for the waves that have whitewash but turn back into ‘green waves’ as they near the beach. These are often overlooked by other beginners but can offer up some incredibly fun little rides that are perfect if you’re just learning to surf.
5. Write down the dimensions of your surfboard
At first glance, this tip for beginner surfers probably doesn’t come across as the golden shortcut for becoming a hard-charging wave rider. But take it from one of the world’s most prolific surf camp operators that if more people recorded the dimensions of the board they learned to surf on, the world would have a lot more competent surfers in the lineups.
The reason why we say to write down the dimensions of your surfboard when you’re first learning is so you can refer to it in the future. Too many people book a surf school or camp and learn to stand up, only to return to the beach months later to try again and realize they can’t do it anymore. So they blame their lack of skill, rather than the fact that they’ve probably just chosen the wrong board.
What ends up happening then is that you get discouraged or worse go with a piece of equipment that’s totally wrong for you. If you write down the length, width and thickness of the surfboard you learned on though, you’ll have a reference and something to work off when you hire or buy a new board. Sure, many people get along just fine not doing this. But if you really want to learn to surf quickly, this simple act won’t do you any harm.
6. Remember that it’s all about having fun
At its very core, surfing is all about having fun. Whether it’s with new friends, old mates or by yourself, it is a pastime that offers a unique type of enjoyment. Many say that surfing is an addiction, but really it’s much more than that. It’s a pursuit and a passion that will change your life for the better. Helping you to stay fit, meet other people, see new places and otherwise discover the world.
Taking all of this into account, Rapture Surfcamps can honestly say that the best tip for beginner surfers is to not take the experience of learning to surf too seriously. Fall down, smile, laugh and get back up again. Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself and don’t let that little voice in the back of your mind that always says what if rule your thinking.
Instead, take a look around and enjoy the fact that you’re learning to surf in a beautiful destination with people who are sharing your stoke. Surfing with this mindset is the only way to ever truly progress. It also makes you feel totally connected with Mother Nature. So get out there and book a learn to surf trip with Rapture Surfcamps today.
Word of warning though. Once you catch your very first wave… there’s no going back.
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