Most Surf Schools usually teach their surf lessons or surf camps as private lessons or small groups so the lesson can better be tailored to the student’s level. That happens because, of course, you will not learn the same at a beginner level as at a competition level. Therefore, it is very important that you know your surfing level when deciding on surf lessons or surf camp.
It is also important that you communicate your surfing level when making a reservation at a surf school, this will facilitate those responsible for your inclusion in the appropriate group.
While there may be a more specialized surf camp that only teaches surfing lessons for certain levels, most surf camps and surf schools offer options for the following 4 skill levels:
- Beginner Surfing Level
- Intermediate Surfing Level
- Advanced Surfing Level
- Competition Surfing Level
If you are thinking of spending a few days surfing with a surf school or surf camp, below you can have an idea of what you might learn in a surf lesson.
Levels for learning to surf
Level 1: Beginner
All surf lessons usually start on the sand where you learn proper pop-up, the correct posture on the board when riding a wave. After, you will try the real thing on waves closer to the shore, that is, in the wave that has already broken and slides through the water in the form of foam. You start to acquire the basic surfing skills in a calm and fun way, smoothly without going into depth.
Level 2: Intermediate
In this second level of surfing, the surf lessons are focused on paddling on the foam and starting to catch the waves before they break. The student will learn the following skills:
How to paddle in different ways, selecting and catching continuous waves arriving in series. Understanding the ‘Surf Code’: priority on the wave, surf ethics, relationship with ‘locals’, etc. How to properly position yourself on the peak to reach the desired wave
Also, you will learn the following maneuvers:
Duck dive, the proper use of currents, take-off to catch waves before they break, bottom turn, correct positioning on big waves, coordinated flexion, and extension movements to accelerate.
Wave reading to go at any time to the correct part of the wave looking for the most curved zone.
Level 3: Advanced
In this third level, surf lessons include learning, among others, the following skills:
How, why, and when to perform the basic maneuvers.
Understand the phases of movements within the turns through the wave to find the fastest line
Start taking advantage of maneuvers such as ‘cut-back’, ‘re-entry’, ‘floaters’ or ‘snaps’
The acquisition of your style also begins at this level, in which you will practice and improve the following maneuvers:
Basic maneuvers controlled at the end of the wave as ‘re-entry’ or ‘floater’.
Look and rotation: when starting the maneuver the arms follow the look to where we want to go.
Combining speed, fluidity, coordination, and control to achieve elegant and safe surfing.
Mastering diverse maneuvers, such as ‘snap’ or ‘cut-back’.
Frontside and Backside, surfing correctly for both sides, front (left) and back (right).
Level 4: Competition
In the fourth and last level of surfing, all surf lessons will be directed to the proper performance of maneuvers committed, in the most critical part of the wave, with the power and speed necessary to perform more complicated maneuvers.
Focusing on establishing which aspects of the surf needs to be improved and how you should focus on its evolution. You will learn that exercises are important to break your mental barriers or limitations, working on psychological and tactical aspects if necessary. The maneuvers to practice and perfect are as follows:
Radical maneuvers in the hollow part of the wave to achieve powerful surfing.
Vast repertoire of maneuvers with a high degree of difficulty, such as ‘reverse’ or ‘aerial’.
Link different types of maneuvers on the same wave without losing control or speed (‘flow’).
Define your own style.
And remember, the important thing about surfing is having fun and meeting people while enjoying your favorite sport.