Surfing is a sport completely in contact with nature that allows the athlete to be one with his board and the sea. The feeling of being able to ride the waves is one of the most exciting, here are some tips to learn the best this great sport.
Before starting, a brief introduction to the history of Surfing….
Surfing is a very ancient sport; it is thought that the first surfer goes back 500 years. The first records were written by James Cook, a famous British explorer and navigator who lived in the 18th century. When he arrived in Hawaii, he described the local populations while riding the waves with their legs resting on wooden boards. This activity was not new to him, in fact he had already seen it in his previous explorations in Haiti, the natives were having fun and competing in getting to the beach first by standing on a solid wooden board. To this day, it is thought that the origins of surfing can be traced back to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Beginning in the 1950s, surfing began to be practiced on the coasts of Australia and California thanks to the influence of Olympic champion Duke Kahanamoku, widely considered to be the inventor of modern surfing.
“Our water is so full of life; it’s the fastest water in the world. That’s all there is to it.
Out of the water, I am nothing.
Surfing is the greatest thrill of my life.”
The surf of those years, compared to today’s, was very different from several points of view, mainly from the type of surfing (usually straight) and from the material used for the construction of the boards (solid wood). Oscar Rodriguez was the pioneer of surfing evolution, to him can be attributed the experimentation of new boards, materials and the first maneuvers on the surfboard. Surfing became more and more popular in the 50’s when Rosnay, Barland and Moraiz surfed for the first time in France and became real legends of this sport. In 1957 the first article about surfing was published in the “Journal de Biarritz”.
After a brief history lesson, we can move on to practical advice!
Number 1: choose a good surf course and a suitable place for beginners
Starting to become familiar with the mechanics of surfing is essential to be able to learn and improve day after day. A surfing course is not indispensable, but it can certainly be useful to start building the technical basis so as to correct the most common mistakes from the beginning. In addition, another very important factor is where to start surfing. It is advisable to choose a place with waves suitable for first-time surfers. Also, it is recommended to choose a location that is not too crowded, so you can learn as much as possible.
Number 2: choose the most suitable surfboard
To get the best start in surfing you also need the most suitable equipment depending on the level and age of the athlete. Usually, the most appropriate board for beginners is the Mini Malibu. A medium length board, with a length between 2.15 and 2.70 meters. The board is characterized by a good floatation and maneuverability, ideal for those who want to approach the world of surfing. For younger surfers, soft boards or boards with a rounded tip can be recommended in order to avoid bumps or injuries. In addition, the surfboard must be stored in the best way, here are some tips:
- Don’t leave it in the car or outdoors for too long. The resin of the surfboard is affected by solar radiation, these lead to have a greater fragility and in some cases to a change of color.
- In case of cracks or breakage of the surfboard is always better to contact an expert and not do-it-yourself. A specialist will certainly know how to deal with it to get it back to its best.
- Always leave the board resting horizontally, so as to avoid unpleasant accidents in case of a fall.
Number 3: take your time and don’t rush things
Surfing, like all sports, requires adequate preparation and a good number of hours of training before you can reach certain goals. Our advice is not to want to rush the steps but to train regularly to reach a good level. In addition, before entering the water is always good to observe the more experienced surfers and try to learn from them. Finally, checking the sea and its waves is a very important moment before getting into the water, so as not to be caught unprepared.
Number 4: The Take Off
The Take Off in technical jargon is the most important movement for a surfer and is the action of standing up on the board. The possibility of surfing or not on a wave depends on the execution of this action, if the take-off is well executed it will be possible to ride the wave in the best way! For beginner surfers the advice is to proceed in several steps in order to gain familiarity through training:
- Step 1: Try the take off and find your balance out of the water.
- Step 2: Try again the same movement on the foams a few meters from the beach, in order to become familiar with the water.
- Step 3: once you have made this gesture automatic and instinctive, you can start moving on the lineup and get serious!
Number 5: it’s time to paddle
Paddling is one of the most important moments for a surfer, acquiring a certain skill in this technical gesture requires good training. Here are some tips for performing paddling in the best possible way:
- Stand well in the center of the board and take as reference point the sternum, which must correspond with the center of the board.
- When paddling, the shoulders should be rotated but the head should be kept in the center, so that you remain well stabilized and do not lose balance.
- Keep your hand in its natural position and when you put it in the water to paddle try to get it as far forward as possible from the surfboard, this will give more strength to the paddle.
- Try to get your arm as close to the edge of the board as possible and try not to bend it. This will allow the arm to reach deeper and give more power.
Number 6: reach the lineup
After having learned the paddling, you can proceed to reach the lineup. Also, for this phase we need a lot of practice, we must train a lot to be able to have a good timing in reaching the area we are interested in. The main advice is to take as reference points two objects on the beach, in this way we will have the possibility to understand if we have succeeded in our intent to reach the lineup in a correct way. Once in the desired point, the advice is to observe the movements of other surfers, without hindering them, trying to learn their movements.
Number 7: catch the waves
You’ve come this far and now all that’s left is to pass the last step. Now it’s time to stop catching the foams and catch the real waves, reach the peak and ride them! It takes a bit of practice to acquire the right sensibility in choosing the right wave and finding the most suitable moment to stand up. Here are some useful tips:
- Shoulders transverse to the board and torso rotated forward. This will allow you to have more control and balance on the board.
- Legs bent and arm in front of the front leg. The bent legs will allow to have a lower center of gravity and to better absorb the movements of the board on the water. The arm in front will be useful to maintain balance.
The advantages of surfing
Surfing is a magnificent sport and can bring many benefits both from a physical and social point of view. Thanks to surfing you will have the opportunity to meet new people, make friends and know wonderful places completely immersed in nature. From the physical point of view surfing is a complete sport, it combines aerobic training with toning and strengthening of muscles, all this happens while burning fat. A real panacea for your health!