There are many different sports in the world, most of which you can learn the basics of in a short period of time. Surfing is a whole other ballgame, however – Surfing can be challenging; there is no denying that! It can take a great deal of patience and perseverance to master even the basics. This should not put anyone off, however! Once you master the basics and become confident in the water, your knowledge and skills will quickly develop.
When learning how to surf, the initial few lessons could seem overwhelming – There is a huge amount to remember and consider beforehand – What board should I use? Do I have the correct wetsuit? Will the weather be suitable today? Will the waves be suitable? That’s just the preparation! Consideration then has to be given to the actual surfing and associated techniques! Many new & developing surfers struggle during the first few years- That is why these three simple mistakes are so important to correct! Understand these mistakes, and you will quickly master the basics.
1. A lack of awareness of one’s surroundings
Spatial awareness is a key consideration in many different aspects of our lives. This awareness is extremely important in surfing. It is surprising how many new surfers will simply charge headlong into the water without a care in the world, or having given any thought to their surroundings or the surfing conditions – In most instances, they will promptly experience a harsh wipeout. Be aware! Check your surroundings – are the waves suitable for your ability? Are there other surfers in your close proximity? Are you being considerate of other water users? Do you understand the rules and surfing etiquette? Keep your eyes open, your head up, and your mind switched on!
2. Poor stance = Pooh stance
Getting your stance right is an absolute must – This is one of the most basic elements of surfing and is key to developing your surfing. The lovingly named Pooh stance is where many beginners go wrong. This stance involves angling your knees so they point outwards – In most sports, this will improve your balance and stability, but in surfing, it actually achieves the opposite.
When surfing, your knees should be pointing inwards which improves your ability to rotate your trunk and your leading arm in the direction of travel. If you struggle with your stance, simply stand on your board at home or on the beach and concentrate on your back knee bending both inwards and down towards the deck of your surfboard.
Many beginners will find it hard to judge a wave in their first few years. An common error resulting from a lack of experience is known as Pearling. This happens to surfers as they move on to catching green or unbroken waves. If the surfer finds themselves catching a wave that is steep and their board is not angled in the direction the wave is breaking, often the nose of the board will dig into the water, the surfer is then plunged face first with the wave crashing around them – Enter pearling or the nosedive!
To prevent pearling, you must first paddle correctly by keeping the nose of your board at a slight angle to the wave, (the direction you wish to surf and not facing the beach) you must also maintain a decent speed that coincides with the speed of the wave. This combination of speed and angling is key and providing you pop up as your board just starts to dip down the wave, you should avoid that horrendous nosedive!
When you start to surf, the most important pointer is to never give up! You will undoubtedly make mistakes and have your share of terrible surfing sessions, but by correcting these three common mistakes, you will improve your own skill, and conquer surfing in no time at all!
Jorrin Massingham is the owner of Cornish Wave, a surf school in Newquay, Cornwall. Born in South Africa Jorrin moved to the UK aged 9 before setting out to gain skills and experiences further afield.
Passionate about adventure travel and the outdoors, Jorrin gained wide ranging experience from around the world in travel, tourism and outdoor activities through a variety of solo travel, adventures and job roles.
Currently living in Newquay, Cornwall, when not delivering activities through Cornish Wave, Jorrin can be found planning new adventures both at home and overseas.
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