Riding The Waves: How To Get Started With Surfing

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Surfing is a sport where people get up on what is known as a surfboard and ride the waves by progressing on the unbroken part of the wave. Bodysurfing has been done since 2000 BC, however, Fred Williams of Australia is credited for expanding the sport in 1899 after he got lessons from a Polynesian islander named Tommy Tana. Duke Kahanamoku is widely considered as the father of modern-day surfing into a recreational activity, sport, and business. Surfing has become very popular with around 25 million+ surfers worldwide and has become an industry worth over $15 billion dollars. Although riding a large wave may look intimidating it is actually not that difficult with some practice and on a big board. A few steps will be described below on how to get started and become good at surfing:

Private Lessons 

For any new sport lessons to learn the basics are always important. Taking a lesson can be as low as $50 and it includes both the board and wetsuit for your use. You will first go through safety skills, learn about how the ocean operates, rip currents, tides and hazards. At some point, you will be on the ground to learn the actual stance and practice immediate pop-ups that you perform when you transition from your stomach to your feet to properly ride the wave. Once the instructor determines that you have these preliminary basics you will go out on the water at the flatter whitewash part to practice catching broken waves. 

Buying Your First Board

Renting a surfboard can be expensive at about $20-$40 for only half-day. Therefore, if you will be constantly hitting up the waves it is worth it to buy your own. Beginners need a soft board because it is a lot safer where waves can be harsh. Surfboard size needs to be as big as possible so that it has enough surface area to catch even very tiny waves, thus the usual sizes recommended for beginners are 8, 9 or 10-foot boards. Entry-level boards can range from $150 to $300. Board for beginners should have leashes which should be approximately the same size as the board. This is to allow you to fall and make sure your board does not slide too far out. Waxing your board regularly in accordance with water temperatures is very important so that you can control it without sliding around. 

Buying The Right Gear

Another very important surf gear includes wetsuits which helps you surf in chilly waters. It is important to always check the weather and water temperature before you surf. Wetsuits vary in thickness and could come with hoods or gloves and can be fairly expensive up to $800 to $1000.  According to the folks at Cheap Surf Gear,  wetsuits range in thickness from 5 mm, 2 mm, 3/2 mm and 4/3 mm and they come either as a spring suit or full suit. Other important gear includes beach wear and what is called a rash guard which protects your skin against wet suit irritation and prolonged sun exposure. Ear plugs are also important to protect from exostosis, also known as surfer’s ear. Other gear includes surfboard bags and travel bags to carry your items to the beach. When surfing in low temperature it is also necessary to have proper boots, gloves, and hoods. Other gear includes surf shorts, sunscreen, GoPro camera, surf watching, and drying towels.

Catching Waves

Focus on the timing and riding waves because this is regarded as the hardest part. Once you are on a wave and are surfing it is much easier to stand. One must look for waves that are just beginning to whitewash and must position in front of them and facing the shore. Once the wave is close, you must paddle very hard and stand up as soon as you feel the wave is pulling your board towards the shore. It is important to keep on practicing, riding waves will be difficult at first, but as long as you do not get discouraged you will get better in no time. 

Cleanup

It is important to clean wetsuit and board with fresh water to get rid of the salt which can degrade the boards. Make sure your board is dried off. Put your wet clothes in garbage bags when you pack up at the end of the day. 

Following these steps will make one fall in love and become very passionate about surfing as a sport. It is important to stay focused and learn the basics by taking a few lessons and buying the necessary gear to practice as often as possible. Once you become good you can move up to the larger waves and enter competitions or join surfing groups.

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