Can You Surf 2 Foot Waves? - Green Iguana Surf Camp

Can You Surf 2 Foot Waves?

Learning to surf is an exciting prospect that will change your life. Once you get the bug, surfing has a funny way of taking over your every thought and action.

Can You Surf 2 Foot Waves?

You will start dreaming and scheming about the next time you ride across a moving wall of water  – it’s that addictive.

With all your passion and enthusiasm comes the very real need to know what you’re doing. In this article, we will fill you in on the likelihood of you ever surfing a 2-foot wave.

On top of that, and while we’ve got you here, we will teach you about how waves are measured. This information will put you in good stead to read the surf and catch that perfect wave. 

What Is A 2-Foot Wave?

Before we “duck-dive” into whether or not you can surf a two-foot wave, first things first, what is a two-foot wave? Depending on who you ask, a two-foot wave can be a small wave that is surfable on a large surfboard with a lot of volume.

It can also be a decent-sized wave that, on its face, would measure up to chest high on an adult.

You are probably thinking; okay, but how can a two-foot wave be two different measurements? It’s a very good question!

How Can A 2-Foot Wave Be Two Different Measurements?

A 2-foot wave can be two different measurements because surfers measure waves differently. We know, confusing, right? Some surfers will measure waves based on the part of the wave that is known as the “wave face”.

Other surfers measure waves from the back. This is the best indicator of the actual swell size and, therefore, its energy.

It used to be that surfers the world over measured waves from the back, this is not so much the case now. The modern way of measuring a wave is from the front.

In a way, it does make more sense, as the same size swell doesn’t always produce the same size wave face. Measuring waves from the back, therefore, can be confusing for people who are new to surfing. 

However, ask any surfer who had surfed their whole life and most of them will say that they measure waves based on their swell energy (the back of the wave) and not the wave face.

For purists, this is the best indication of a wave’s true power. When you know that Hawaiians invented surfing as well as the wave scale that measures from the back, you tend to trust their judgment.

However, there is no right or wrong. It’s just handy to understand the difference between a two-foot wave that’s measured from the back to the front.

Can You Surf A 2-Foot Wave?

Whether you measure it from the front or back, in general, 2-foot waves are easy to surf. Beach breaks and point breaks that have gently rolling 2-foot waves breaking over them are considered the dream scenarios for beginners.

2-foot faces are ideal conditions for longboarders looking to ride the nose as well as learners practicing the basics and trying to nail their pop-up.

2-foot waves measured at the back are still considered small waves and should pose no great risk to learner surfers.

If, however, they are breaking fast and barreling they will become harder for learners. Fast 2-foot waves will be better for intermediate and advanced surfers looking to have fun trying to land turns and airs. 

Can You Surf Waves Bigger Than Two Feet?

Now you know that 2-foot waves are (mostly) perfect for beginners, but what about the rest of them? As waves grow in size they also get more powerful. For instance, a 3-foot wave will be noticeably more powerful than a 2-foot wave.

Can You Surf 2 Foot Waves?

With each foot, waves gain considerably more power. This is especially true if you kick it old-school and choose to measure waves from the back. 

When learning to surf, it is recommended to surf waves below three feet in height measured at the back and 4-6 feet faces. Anything over this and the wave’s power will make it a challenge to catch them.

Big waves aren’t worth it when learning to surf. There is nothing worse than getting scared off surfing for life because you were out in surf that wasn’t suitable for learning.

The thrill of catching a bigger wave is exciting but surfing is a sport for life. You want to play the long game, not the short one. 

What Size Surfboard Is Good For Learning To Surf On 2-Foot Waves?

As we’ve already hinted, most 2-foot waves won’t have a lot of power behind them. This means that a bigger surfboard will help beginners to paddle onto, catch and ride 2-foot waves.

If you’re a complete beginner trying to surf 2-foot waves, we would recommend hiring/ buying an 8 or 9-foot surfboard. 8 feet if you would consider yourself a small to average build and 9 feet if you are average to large build.

In general, 8-foot boards suit women beginners better and 9 feet is more suited to men. Most adolescents will enjoy learning to surf on an 8-foot board while young children will benefit from scaling down to 7 feet surfboards at a maximum. 

What Type Of Surfboard Is Best For Learning To Surf On 2-Foot Waves?

Gone are the days when learner surfers had to battle the waves on fiberglass surfboards. These days, learning to surf is all about grabbing a foam surfboard and having fun. Foam surfboards are infinitely safer when compared to fiberglass ones. 

Fiberglass surfboards typically have sharp fins, and hard rails. Often, they will have sharp and pointed noses too. The foam makes surfboards more forgiving pieces of equipment.

When learning to surf there is no escaping the fact that you and your surfboard are going to get acquainted with each other in more ways than one.

When you wipe out as a beginner, it is highly likely that you will fall awkwardly and get knocked by your surfboard almost every surf. It’s all part of the process. 

Once you are confident in your ability to stand up on a wave and ride across it, only then should you look at scaling down the size of your board and picking up your very first fiberglass surfboard.

Fiberglass is more refined and helps experienced surfers surf bigger waves and turn faster. This is the natural progression for any surfer. 


So there you have it. You now know the ins, outs, and arounds of surfing 2-foot waves. We’re sorry that there isn’t a hard and fast rule when it comes to surfing 2-foot waves.

The good news is that learning how to read waves and determine their height will naturally happen through time spent surfing. We, therefore, wish you well in this exciting endeavor.

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