When you are learning to surf, several questions pop up in your mind. These questions can either take you away or push you towards this wonderful and exciting sport. When you see surfers grace beautiful waves at the beach, have you ever wondered how hard it can be?
Well, surfing is a sport that requires a lot of time, patience, effort and the ability to navigate through different kinds of waves. Nothing is ever impossible if you are passionate about learning and putting in the hard work, you too can enjoy this sport to its fullest. Check out this inspiring story of Mike East who began surfing at 40.
That being said, people learn at their own pace as some people learn in a couple of hours and others in a few weeks. But the important thing is that you need to have fun with everything. Here are a few reasons why people find surfing hard.
Lack of Patience
When you start learning to surf, you won’t immediately head out to the ocean and practice on waves. You will most likely begin your training on land first and could take weeks or several months before catching your very first wave. Even once you have reached the waters, waves are very unpredictable and they are constantly changing.
You need to learn to wait, relax and wait for the right time so while at it, learn to read the waves. The wind, weather, ocean floor and tide all contribute to producing different-sized waves.
People become obsessed with surfing for a variety of reasons such as movies, surfer lifestyles, advertising and so on. Being influenced by any of these factors you enter the waters with big expectations and are often dissatisfied with the results afterward.
So as a beginner, you must always start small because even the greatest of surfers started at some point. If you have a dream to catch a 30-foot wave and ride it into oblivion, you first perfect your surfing skills on the smaller swells.
Start with a big board in small broken waves and gradually increase your capacity until you reach your dream wave.
Learning to Surf. Get Help!
Don’t be a smart ass! No matter how much you read up guides online, learning firsthand from a physically experienced surfer is important. A surfing coach is someone who can guide you and teach you surfing manoeuvres and tricks that will enable you to surf quickly and efficiently.
The advice offered by these coaches and trainers will also protect you when you are out in the sea. There is a reason why surf coaches are a big industry because their trainers have learned a lot through their years of surfing. And they are available to teach you ways to improve your surfing style, skill and accelerate your learning.
Learning to surf by yourself may just take longer and of course many trials and errors. You can also consider joining the OMBE surf forums where you get to connect and engage with experts at the surf programme and people in similar situations as you.
Accept the Inevitable
Whether you are surfing for the first time or the 100th time, you need to accept the fact that you can be wiped out by a wave. Finding balance is one of the most vital components when learning to surf. As a beginner, you need to accept and understand that the waves are unpredictable and scary.
No matter where you fall, you need to stay relaxed and in a calm state so that you can overcome the tense situation. As soon as you fall, most people immediately fight the wave which makes them lose a lot of energy. As much as surfing is a physical sport, you need to be mentally prepared for it. This will ensure that you have complete control over your mind and utilise your energy the right way.
Before you head out to the water, make sure you have familiarised yourself with surfer etiquette. This set of rules is more like unwritten guidelines that protect surfers out on the water. When you respect these rules, you respect the sport, the environment and the other surfers around.
Be patient and let everyone have their turn to catch the waves. And whatever you do, dropping in on another surfer is risky. So make sure that you keep enough space amongst your fellow surfers.
Everyone starts at the beginning. Even the legendary surfers who are dominating the surfing world today started from scratch at some point. So if you are struggling or find it difficult, don’t worry, keep trying and never give up.
If you are searching for a place to practice surfing, Anantara Tangalle, Sri Lanka is one beautiful surf destination where you can ride long and smooth waves.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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