As a surf instructor with years of experience under my belt, I have come to expect each new lesson to present unique challenges. Every individual surfer will learn the fundamental skills necessary to ride a wave on their feet, but the process may vary from person to person. There are, however, some aspects of each lesson that remain consistent with everyone learning the sport. This article focuses specifically on those shared experiences which one can expect while learning to surf with an instructor.
We All Crawl Before We Can Walk
If you are planning on taking a surf lesson or simply reading this to help build up your courage to do so, there are some initial misconceptions I would like to clear up. Learn surfing is the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of which many are already well in motion. No matter how athletic or coordinated a person may be, I have yet to see a new lesson arrive at the surf school with the ability to surf at even an intermediate level. Expecting to step onto the beach for the first time and prove yourself in a lineup of veteran surfers is a lot to ask of anyone. Before arriving for your lesson, prepare for the humbling experience that your first time surfing will provide.
Assess for Success
I recommend any new student at the surf school to assess the area they will be surfing before anything else. Having a general idea of the waves you will be surfing, and any potential dangers in the given area will build your confidence before setting foot in the ocean. This assessment is considered a fundamental skill each surfer should complete before each session and is especially important for beginners.
Keep it Fundamental
The skills I teach each new student during a surf lesson are skills they can continue to develop throughout their surfing career. Learning the proper pop-up technique is critical for any new surfer. All too often, lessons will forget the step-by-step process explained to them on the land and will violently throw their weight around on the board. This is a sure way to fall on every wave. Slowing down the pop-up and approaching the technique methodically will promote helpful muscle memory. If you have tried surfing in the past and were less than pleased with your results, I recommend taking a lesson with a professional instructor. We will see the minor and major errors in the technique, which can be adjusted.
Elevating Your Skills
Once you have completed your first surf lesson, you should have a general idea of water safety, as well as fundamental skills. Like I mentioned previously, surfing is a lifelong pursuit which you are only beginning with the lesson. Retaining the information shared by instructors and practicing with consistency is the only sure way to improve. So, if you’re wrapping up this article, I hope to see your smiling face in a surf lesson soon enough!
Written by Caleb Dolloff