A Surf Lesson Saves Months of Learning


The most basic skills and techniques determine how fast students progress in the Oceanside Surf Lessons I teach. There are a few basic concepts that if not mastered will most likely result in new people quitting. I see people rent surf boards and have a terrible time in the Beginners3ocean. Sometimes I would laugh if it wasn’t so sad.

One of the more difficult techniques for students to recognize as important is how to lie on the board. They underestimate that if they are not in the right spot, they will never catch a wave. You have to be far enough back on the board so it doesn’t pearl (nose first under water) and far enough forward so that you don’t put on the brakes.

Secondly, you have to be pencil straight on the board and weight evenly distributed over the stringer that runs up the middle of the board. If this doesn’t happen the board will turn sideways on every wave and flip over.

The third concept that students have to learn is to paddle until they are in front of the wave before they attempt their pop up. I see people jumping up on their boards before the wave even arrives. If new students watched film, read books, or watched advanced surfers at the beach, they would see this although they wouldn’t understand until told what was necessary.

Finally, there are mostly things that can go wrong when popping up to a stance from a prone position. It is a precise movement with the necessity of having the feet and hands in the right spot when standing up. Anything else results in a fall. Students don’t even realize what they are doing and have to be corrected every ride.

The most important facet is getting the right techniques into muscle memory. Once bad habits are formed it is very difficult to reverse them. Students who learn in Hawaii to pop to their knees first are in for a real shock with California waves.

After an hour and a half of constant coaching and instructing most students are paddling out, catching foam waves and riding them to the beach. When I learned, this took me a couple of months and I have seen the same with my friends learning to surf on their own.



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