If you have never surfed before but are keen to know how, then you are probably wondering what the best way to learn is. Some people say that learning with an instructor is best, and learning from an instructor is recommended.
However, it is entirely possible to teach yourself how to surf if that is something that you would rather do! But how?
In this article, we will discuss how you can teach yourself how to surf. It’s not easy, but it can be done! So, if you’re interested, read on for more!
Can You Learn Surfing On Your Own?
Yes! It is perfectly possible to learn to surf on your own! But, not just anyone can do this. You will need to be a persistent individual. You will also need to have or be persistent with learning, and great balance skills.
On top of this, you will need decent leg and arm strength, and you should be willing to learn and practice surfing etiquette (your fellow surfers will thank you for this, too.)
You also need to have patience. Beginners learn best in safe beach spots that have low currents and small waves. You need to master these before venturing into deeper waters with bigger waves.
If you can do all of the above, then you can teach yourself how to surf! However, you must remember the other important factors, like your fitness level, age, how familiar the ocean is to you, your experience with other board sports, and the types of beaches you will be learning on.
Teaching Yourself To Surf: What Are The Risks?
Naturally, there will be risks associated with teaching yourself how to surf. So, the most important thing you can teach yourself is how to stay safe. You will need to learn important lessons about surfing before you even get into the water.
It is important to know where the rocks, tides, and breaks in the sea are at the beach you will be learning about. You will also need to know if the waters near this beach are prone to potentially dangerous sea creatures, like sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, etc.
If you are planning on teaching yourself how to surf, then you will need to ask swimmers, fellow surfers, and any fishermen who frequent the beach what it is like.
Teaching Yourself To Surf: Finding The Perfect Spot
Now that you are aware of the risks, you will need to find a beginner-friendly spot to begin to learn how to surf. There are a few things you need to remember when trying to find the right spot.
- The waves need to be small. They should be between 1-2 ft high, and nothing bigger than that. They should break into gentle and smooth whitewater. This rule applies even if you are an experienced swimmer in bigger waves, because using a surfboard – especially as a beginner surfer – is a lot different, and you are not yet used to diving under the waves.
- You should be aware of the other surfers around you. They can be extremely protective of waves, especially in crowded spots, and are known to be hostile towards beginners. So, you should pick a learning spot that does not have the best waves. That way, other surfers won’t mind so much if you make mistakes and get in the way.
Alternatively, you can choose to learn how to surf on a beach with no other surfers, as long as you are permitted to surf there!
It is better to have surfers around to show you what to do when you have developed some skills, but initially, it is okay to paddle and pop up without surfers being present!
Teaching Yourself To Surf: The Correct Board
When it comes to surfing, you need to choose a surfboard that is the right size for you. Boards that are too small will make it more difficult to paddle and stand up. Boards that are too big will be awkward to use in whitewater and waves.
So, to start with, you should use a soft-top board (also known as a “foamie”) that is taller than you by a few inches.
Some people begin surfing on a stand-up paddleboard or a big windsurfing board. These can be fun to pop up on and paddle with, but they are usually far too wide for regular surfing. They will be very, very difficult to duck dive on, and far too easy to get hit by and nosedive on.
Teaching Yourself To Surf: Paddling
All you need to do here is make sure you find the correct position and body balance while you lie on your board in the sea. You will also need to learn how to use the correct amount of pace, reach, and pull with your arms.
It is easier to learn how to paddle on still water, and then move on to learning in the sea.
While learning in the sea, you will also need to learn how to sit on the board and wait for waves. It is also good to know that the fastest way to turn the board towards the beach is by sitting.
Teaching Yourself To Surf: Popping Up
You do not need an instructor to teach you how to pop up and stand up on the board by yourself. The first thing you can do is practice outside of the water.
Take a surfboard-sized mat, or use chalk to draw a surfboard, and push yourself up from the floor.
You will need to bring your feet and legs forward so they are in your surf stance – this is where your feet are shoulder-width apart, and one is in front, the other in the back.
Keep practicing this until you can do this in one motion, (and don’t let your knees touch the board!.) If you can do this, while also not adjusting your feet after you stand, then you’re ready to try it on the water!
This will be the hard part. You will need to make sure you follow all of the rules above to get it perfect.
Teaching Yourself To Surf: Green Waves
After the basics, you can try riding a green wave. Most surfers will take a minimum of 20 sessions on whitewater before they try and ride green waves.
The most important thing you will need to remember is timing! If you get the timing right – including knowing when you should stop paddling, and when you should pop up, then you should be riding green waves in no time!
It will take a lot of practice before you can get the timing right. To help, you can watch other surfers and how they situate themselves on the surfboard. You should not place yourself too high or too low.
It will be helpful to learn how to paddle for longer periods of time, and then popping up on the board takes up a lot of energy – especially when you are a beginner.
So, you can try your hand at exercises in preparation for this. These will train your muscles to help you recover faster. Some things you can try are squats, row pulls, and press-ups.
It can be challenging to teach yourself to surf. However, if you follow our advice and never let your determination waver, you will be riding green waves with the pros in no time!