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San Diego Surfing Home > Surfing School > Surfing - Before Going Out
Surf Lessons

Surfing School - Surfing - Before Going Out

Learning how to stand up on a board is not an easy thing to do. In addition, simply learning to paddle out through rough breaking waves, sit on a board outside, and then paddle into a wave takes considerable balance, strength, endurance, wave knowledge, and patience. Since these techniques take time and practice to learn, and the beginner should not be expected to have success the first time out.

Before going to the beach, a few practice sessions on a skateboard can greatly increase your learning speed. Turning a skateboard with long, smooth maneuvers on a slightly inclined hill is very similar to turning a surfboard for the first time. The longer and flatter the skateboard, the closer to a surfboard it feels. Find a gently sloping paved hill and practice making turns by using your body as a weight rather than just twisting your body and jerking your feet. Practice at banking on a steeper hill section is also good. Smooth turns are necessary for stylish surfing.

When you get to the beach, sit and watch the surf for a while. Watch what people are doing. Where is everybody sitting, where do they paddle out. Where do the waves break? As waves get bigger they break further out, so if everyone is sitting farther out than where the waves are currently breaking, it means that there are bigger sets coming. Watch for them.

Stretch. While you're watching the break, stretch your arms and back. Limber up.

Usually by the second or third time out, beginners will start to acquire some balance and be able to catch and even stand up in a shorebreak wave. From this point on, the more you surf, the better you get. This section is intended to outline a basic learning approach for beginners who are somewhat athletic, but have never surfed before. Average students should be surfing on a low to intermediate level after two weeks of regular practice spending two to three hours per day. Less practice time will extend the learning time somewhat, while irregular practice will extend the learning time a great deal.


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