Surfing can be an activity that many of us get involved in when vacationing on a tropical destination. But, anyone who has tried to surf knows that it is a serious full-body workout. It is not just a leisure activity on the beach. It’s also an amazing experience: you will practice it in the water while having the beach as your view.
As exciting as surfing is, the idea of jumping on a board and riding a wave is a little intimidating if you are a beginner. Most people that have surf lessons don’t know what to expect beforehand. Here you can find the answers to some of the common questions beginners have.
1. Should I wear a bathing suit?
Yes, either a bathing suit or board shorts. Wherever you are going to surf, it is a good idea to check the local water temperature to see if it is cold. Although, like Pacific Surf School, many surf schools provide wetsuits for the surf lessons if necessary. They are typically 3 millimeters thick. If the water is warm, you may not need one but, rashguards are always recommended to make sure you are protected from rashes that might appear from the contact with the board.
2. How good at swimming I need to be?
For your first surfing lesson, you don’t need to be a strong swimmer since you will be close to the shore in the whitewash. If you want to keep surfing basic swimming skills are a must since, eventually, you will be going to the outside and catching bigger waves.
3. How long will I be in the water?
For your first lesson, you might be surprised how much time you will spend on land. Usually a land lesson lasts15 to 25 minutes but, that time is really valuable. That is where you’ll learn about the science behind surfing and exactly what to do when you’re pushed on a wave – specifically, how to successfully pop up on the board. You will spend around an hour in the water with your instructor to try the real thing and practice what you learned on the beach.
4. Will I be in contact with sharks?
In addition to wetsuits and cold water, the biggest thing that holds people from surfing is the concern of sharks. The truth is that it is always a possibility but it is really rare especially in locations where you find surf schools. The schools make sure the students are always safe. In San Diego, for example, it is rare to see sharks, but you will see plenty of dolphins and seals.
5. When is waxing the board necessary?
For boards made of fiberglass (hardtops), you will always need to wax them before entering the water. The wax must go over almost your entire board until it gets sticky enough to not slip off easily. Without wax on the board, you wouldn’t be able to get up on those types of boards.
Although, we recommend soft top boards for beginners. Soft tops are boards made of foam, they are floatable and light which makes them perfect for learning. Also, they don’t require waxing.
6. What makes a board better than another for beginners?
The easiest board to learn is a foam board, 8-foot, or 9-foot size. Those boards are great for all ages. The thicker and longer the board, the easier it will be for paddling and balance. It makes sense: the more surface area you have, the wider your legs will be.
7. What if I don’t get up on my first attempt?
One of the biggest fears for first timers is that they won’t be able to catch a single wave during the surf lesson. It is possible once surfing is not an easy sport, but with an instructor helping it is also unlikely – the instructors will push you into the wave to help you catch it which means you will focus on your balance to pop up and stand on the board to ride the wave.
8. What can I expect the next day?
Surfing is a sport that uses muscles that we don’t normally use daily, so you can expect a little bit of soreness in random places. Stretching before surfing and after is great and helps prevent soreness.
If you want to learn surfing or improve your surfing skills, come and take a lesson with us. We have many locations for surfing lessons in California, Hawaii, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Bali. Book your surf lesson and enjoy the experience.