How fast can I learn to surf?
Lead image by Miguel Navaza (Flickr CC)
It’s a question every potential surfer asks themselves, their instructors and maybe their friends: How fast can I learn to surf?
Of course there is no simple answer because it depends on so many factors, as well as what is exactly meant by the question. Some people may be confident and competent enough to go out on their own after just a couple of lessons. Others will want to feel like they’ve mastered the basics enough before they strike out on their own or be able to proudly claim, “I can surf.”
And then there are those who wish to become experts. This takes years or hard work and determination, combined with strong ability and a serious love of surfing.
Another point to consider is what’s the rush? Learning to surf can be as fun as being a “good surfer”. Sometimes making even the smallest amount of progress can be a rewarding experience. Catching your first small wave might feel as thrilling as your first barrel.
Seriously, how fast can I learn to surf?
Having said all that, it’s understandable that you might want to learn as quickly as possible. If so, there are a couple of solid pieces of advice that should speed up your progress when it comes to developing crucial surfing skills.
The better physical condition you have, the faster you will learn how to surf. Surfing is a demanding sport so it will help to get in shape before starting lessons at a surf school or surfcamp. Even if you are in reasonably good condition, go jogging and swimming and do plenty of strength-building exercises like sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups in the weeks leading up to when you start learning to surf.
Take surf lessons from qualified instructors.
While you may be able to learn to surf with friends who are experienced surfers, it’s recommended that you take lessons from professional, qualified instructors, who are trained in safety procedures as well as surf instruction. Friends, even if they are great surfers, probably still prefer to have fun on more difficult waves rather than hang around and wait while you progress at your own pace.
Qualified surfing instructors, on the other hand, do this all the time. They know the right conditions and are expert at judging your skill and how much to test you. They will also listen to you and help you however much and whenever you need it.
*Make sure your surf instructors are qualified and by a reputable body (ISA, NSSIA, ASI, etc.)
10 things that affect how fast you learn how to surf (these apply to everyone):
- Choosing a good surf school with qualified instructor(s)
- Being a strong swimmer
- Choosing the right surf spot to learn at
- Knowing about the dangers of surfing, rip currents, rocks and coral, etc.
- Choosing the right time and conditions
- Understanding the basics: paddling, popping up, standing, catching a wave, duck diving, etc.
- Understanding the line-up and localism
- Being able to get through the white water (breaking waves) and out to the green water
- Making sure you enjoy yourself!
Factors that will make me learn how to surf faster
All surfers are not equal and some will learn faster than others. While this may hurt to hear, it’s self-evident. That said, those who “naturally” learn to surf quickly will not necessarily be better surfers in the long run. More often than not it is hard work and perseverance that pay off in the end.
Here are 5 qualities you may possess that can speed up your leaning curve when it comes to surfing:
- Knowing a similar sport like snowboarding, skiing, skateboarding, bodyboarding
- Being athletic — Remember, surfing is a sport, but please don’t let that put you off!
- Being young — Again, don’t let it put you off. The older you get the more patient you become : )
- Being determined and goal-oriented — This helps you plot your progress and make it over any potential hurdles
- Having enthusiasm and a positive attitude — The more you want success and enjoy the process, the better you’ll perform
So there you have it. There are no short, simple answers to the question, “How fast can I learn to surf?” Hopefully, however, you have a better idea in terms of your personal abilities and situation. At the end of the day, the most important factors are your desire and determination. So get out on the waves and give it a go! You’ll surely be surfing in no time ;)