Apr
10

Learning to Surf in One Lesson

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When I teach new students to surf in my Oceanside surf lessons, it is amazing that so many are surfing in one lesson. Compared to people who try on their own, I save DSCF19211students a few months. Because so many visit Oceanside on one week vacations, they don’t have two months.

I have broken the lesson down into four or five pieces. Each one has to be nearly mastered for the student to accomplish catching a wave and riding it to the beach. When those who practice on their own don’t understand these techniques, they prolong their progress.

A priority is having a nice high volume board to make wave catching and wave riding easy and stable. I use an 8′ soft top which is good for people under 215 pounds. Using a short board to learn is extremely difficult. People that are not flexible and/or over weight will have a tough time.

First, you have to be able to lie on the board and make it perfectly level in the water. You have to have your weight far enough toward the tail so that the board doesn’t pearl (nose first into the water) when you catch a wave.

You have to be paddling as the foam wave arrives. When it is 10′ from you, you paddle hard. As the wave hits the board, you continue to paddle hard until the board accelerates into calm water and then execute the pop up.

The pop up has to be right. I have a video on the landing page of this site to demonstrate. The biggest problem new students have is getting their front foot far enough up front to be past the midline of the board and in the center of the board. Most of my instruction is in the water correcting each ride and mistakes students are making.

The body doesn’t listen to instructions at first. It has its own mind. Instructions have to be repeated continuously to correct mistakes. Student who can listen and transform the message to execution learn quickly.

Riding the board begins with having the feet properly placed and body positioned in an upright forward facing position. The butt cannot be extended over the rail and the heels.   The head cannot be leaning over the rail and over the toes. These two mistakes cause falling in backward and falling in head first.

The knees have to remain bent and flexed. The hands have to be down at waist level and to the side or in front of the body.

Its a lot to learn in one and a half hours and the muscles have to be trained to develop the right memory. The mind and body have to work together to get the rhythm of balance, paddling, popping up, and riding.

But no one ever said it was easy.

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