|Who to Surf With / Finding a Partner : -
One of the most important things to have in learning to surf is someone to surf with. Aside from the safety reasons, a partner will give moral support, keep you stoked when you get frustrated, keep you informed when its good, talk you into paddling out when it´s big, and mostly be a friend.
Finding the right person makes every difference in how far you eventually progress. A surfer is on his own in the water, sure, however surfing is simply safer and more fun with friends, especially if they are close to your own skill level. There are the added bonuses of sharing expenses and sharing the responsibility for each other´s safety in the water.
Two schools of thought on who you surf with are : -
Generally speaking you should stick to beachbreaks that break over sand. Some beachbreaks are dangerous, so caution needs to be exercised. Use common sense. Seas are dynamic, often rapidly changing places - what may be perfect for beginner surfers now, may not be so in six months, next week, or even an hour from now. Take advice of any lifeguards or experienced surfers around.
What sort of beach break to look for? Places where the waves roll towards shore, rather than rearing up and breaking violently. Plunging waves can be dangerous, even over sand bottoms. When you are expert plunging waves are the ones you will seek out, but in the early stages, avoid them.
Waves need not be particularly good. You´re learning the basics of catching waves and being balanced on your board, and to learn those basics any wave will do. Staying with waves the experts ignore will pay off big time in the first stages of your surfing career - you´ll get all the waves you want and will therefore advance much more rapidly.
Stand with both feet together at attention and get someone to gently push you forward. Usually the foot you step forward with will be your power (back) foot on the surfboard. Right foot back is regular, and left back is goofy foot.
Stance : -
Your hands should stretch forward and backward along the line of the stringer to help stabilize you further. In order to stay centered on the board your feet and shoulders should stay centered over the surfboard´s stringer.
Now lay flat on your surfboard, or surfboard model.
This should take you in one continuous motion from a prone position to two feet on the board . If you go to your knees in the middle of the pop-up, you will not be able to make the bottom turn and your surfing will not progress. As you become more practiced, your motion will become smoother and more fluid. You will learn how to end your popup stably planted on your board without putting your hands on the board to balance.
You´ve noted where other people head out. Wax your board and head down to that spot. Put your leash on your back leg. Walk your board out until the water is about waist deep and hop on. Position yourself on the board so that the nose is just barely (2-3") out of the water. Too little and you´ll be going under, too much and you´ll wear yourself out pushing water.
When you have to get through the whitewater get up some speed and then either:
You need to find your sweet spot, which means you have to find the position of balance on your board where you are neither too far forward or back. If you are too far forward your board will pearl end over end every time. If you are too far back, the submerged tail of your board creates drag and you lose efficiency. Lay prone on your surfboard in the water and extend your arms out to either side. Adjust your body forward or back to make the board float very close to level.
Keep your feet together and begin an overhand crawl. Create a slow deliberate rhythm and work your breathing pattern into to the paddling rhythm. Fully extend your arms and dig deep. Shallow, short strokes will get you nowhere. The smoother your paddling technique the less energy you will expend for any distance traveled.
Carry maximum momentum paddling toward and up to the wave. Lay prone on your board and as the trough of the wave approaches lift your chest high off the board. Drive the nose of your board as deep into the water as possible with as much force as you can. As the wave passes over you, transfer your weight from the nose of the board to the back using your foot and pulling up on the nose. Depending on your positioning and momentum, it may take little to make you rise up through the backside of the wave and continue paddling down into the trough beyond.
To smoothly sit up on your surfboard as the waves roll past takes practice. Use your legs out on either side of the surfboard to aid your balance and hold yourself upright. Lean too far to the left or right and you will fall off your board. Lean too far forward and the surfboard will disappear out behind your. Lean too far back and we encounter the torpedo effect again. It is not too hard to master this, but it takes practice to become competent at getting into the sitting position.
Choose a wave that looks like it will be steep enough to ride and you think will break close to you. On beach breaks the takeoff point will vary back and forth and takes a bit of luck to start with. Paddle hard and fast to match the speed of the incoming wave as closely as you are able.
As the trough of the wave seems to fall out from in front of you the wave will start to grab you. This is the moment of truth. If you can make it onto the face of the wave, take another stroke or two, pop up and ride down the face. If the wave is going to break out from under you, back stroke with both hands to pull yourself onto the back of the wave and turn and paddle back out, keeping a close eye on the next incoming wave. It may have your name on it.
Beach Break: -
Point Break: -
Reef Break: -
NB. A Rivermouth wave can break over rocky ledges or sandy bottoms. A fine example is the all time classic Margaret River.
A peak is a wave that breaks forming a rideable wave both left and right, two surfers can surf it at the same time in different directions.
An Onshore Windis the worst wind for surfing. It blows from out to sea and ensures all the waves crumble and have no shape, making the waves un-surfable.
A Cross Shoreis not desirable either, not giving shape to the waves.
An Offshore Windis the best wind for surfing. It ensures that the waves rolling in are well formed and break cleanly. Quality waves come with an offshore wind.