The Problems Intermediate Surfing Students Have


I am often asked by intermediate students to help them with a particular problem they are having as they seek Oceanside Surf Lessons. When someone describes that they are having a particular issue, I can usually BeachStorm1st 004surmise it is a problem with fundamentals.

Many of these students have purchased hard boards as either long or short and describe their problem as not being able to catch lefts or having difficulty catching waves, for example. One student had even been practicing three times a week for hours and had a coach.

This particular lady was riding a 10’6″ board. She rented a 9’6″ for our lesson which had much less volume. The first thing I noticed was she was putting her knees on the board for her pop ups. The high volume board gave her too much leeway and she could get away, she thought with lazy technique.

Most of the time, problems are fundamental skills learned in the first lesson that aren’t mastered or degenerate with practice and forming bad habits. This is one of the reasons I like to have someone for three lessons so that I can be sure the right habits are programmed into muscle memory.

A beginning student often struggles with even the most basic skill of getting their feet to the back of the board so they don’t pearl, getting their balance right with their head in the middle of the board, paddling in front of the waves, and not popping up until the wave has the board. These are the basic skills and if not mastered, nothing will progress.

The next issue is getting the pop up correct. The front foot must come up the center of the body and land between the hands with the shoulders facing forward. The butt is over the middle of the board, the hands are out to the sides, and the eyes are front. If the butt is over one rail and the feet are perpendicular to the rails, there will be a quick fall.

The basics are the same with any size wave.


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