No matter how fun it seems, surfing is not an easy sport to learn. It requires mental and physical fitness, good ocean knowledge, proper knowledge and experience of beach safety, good swimming skills, surfing etiquette.
Beginner surfers have that passion of becoming good surfers very fast. When it comes to the thrill of riding waves it seems like nothing else matters. So it seems normal that in a feverish effort to get maximum water time and to catch every wave they see, new surfers make pretty big mistakes that can negatively affect their progress and health.
Riding a wrong board
Beginner surfers are impressed watching advanced surfers riding the waves on their short boards and performing some amazing manoeuvres. It provokes them to choose learning to surf on a short board. However, that can be a problem and one of the biggest mistakes. Short and thin boards don’t offer any of the control or buoyancy required for learning to surf. Beginner surfers will have hard time catching waves and their surfing will not progress.
Surfing is a demanding physical activity. Upper body strength is important for the pop up of getting your body to a standing position after first lying down, but paddling is the most demanding aspect. Stretching, swimming and exercises for strengthening your upper body, knees and lower back are very important. Stretching every day before surfing is the way to keep your muscles vital. Swimming is the most beneficial form of cardiovascular exercise. It builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. And it is the only exercise that is also a life-saving skill. Furthermore, daily set of push-ups help you to get the most out of your paddling speed and endurance. Riding a bicycle is also a good exercise for your knees and lower back.
Not knowing surfing etiquette
For the beginner surfers, a lineup is a new environment. One of the most important things to consider is that you have to be aware you are entering a new environment and it is full of hazards you don’t even know are there. Beginner surfers usually focus only on what is directly in front of them. They have to become aware of this and therefore paddle out only to the appropriate-for-their-level lineup. Paddling out on days or places they are comfortable with is very important in this first stage of your surfing adventure. As your surfing slowly progresses you have to learn where to paddle out, how to stay out of the way, and who has the right of way when everyone is paddling for a wave.
Choosing an unprofessional surf instructor
Unfortunately, you never know if someone is a great instructor or not until your surf lesson starts. You may have high expectations and end up not learning anything or since you are coming to the new environment, you might just learn things wrong way not even knowing it, thanks to some unprofessional surfer dude who thinks he is an instructor. Often, we see a surf instructor taking the students directly to the water without initial theory part on the beach, without explaining the water safety, without venue analysis etc. Then, you also see if a surf instructor is unprofessional if he is yelling on their students in the water, or even swearing, catching waves instead of teaching his students, teaching beginners in the big surf and skipping the surf etiquette. And unfortunately, it is pretty common. The best thing to consider while choosing a surf school or surf instructor is to check if they are ISA accredited. Also, it helps if you get some feedback from other people who have already had lessons in the chosen school or with a chosen instructor.