Surfing tips for beginners

Surfing tips for beginners

Laura​ Ramage​ - 3 march 2017

If you want to improve your surfing skills it’s always important to stop and assess where you are, whether you are new to surfing or at a more advanced level. Ultimately practice makes perfect, so more time in the water is what will take your surfing to the next level. However we have put together a few helpful pointers that will also get you on your way.

Warm –up

Warming up at the beginning of your surf seems obvious, however it’s essential that you prepare your body for exercise. If you haven’t dedicated the time to loosen up your joints before you head into the water, you are going to find yourself feeling stiff and inflexible. Gentle stretching before your surf will help you to feel more fluid and it can also prevent injury.

Wave Selection

To get the most out of your surfs, it’s essential that you select the waves you are going to catch wisely. Before you jump into the water, make sure you watch at least a couple of sets of waves. There is normally a pattern to each set, so you can get an idea of which waves you will want to go for. For example it may be that the first wave draws some of the bump from the waters surface making the second or third wave smoother.


Being in the perfect position to catch a wave is also essential for surfing. Before heading into the water watch a few surf movies so that you understand where it is you need to be on a wave to catch it. A common mistake by many beginner surfers is to try and catch a wave on the shoulder, the thickest part of the wave.  However it is generally better to take off on the part of the wave that is starting to break which is known as the peak. This is the steepest and fastest part of the wave, which is why many beginners avoid it.  However if you want to improve your surfing then you need to catch the best waves and make the most of them.  Good waves rarely come straight to you so paddle around the line up and try to find the best peaks.  

 Perfect your pop-up

Perfecting the perfect pop-up will help you to improve your surfing enormously. If your pop-up is precarious then chances are you will either fall off your surfboard or be unstable and the wave will leave you behind. However by controlling your takeoff and by being in the perfect position, you will get more out of each wave.

Even if you have been surfing for a while it’s always good to go back to basics. You can get someone to film you surf so that you can review your take off and then try to make adjustments where necessary.  Here are a few pointers you may want to consider:

  • During take off you firstly want to ensure that you are lying in the optimum position on your board. If you are too far forward you will nose dive and too far back you won’t catch the wave.
  • Once you have finished paddling, use the momentum of the wave to help you push up.
  • It’s essential that your hands are flat on the surfboard, positioned between the shoulders and chest. Grabbing the rails will slow you down and make the surfboard unstable.
  • As you get up, push the board down the face and angle it into the direction you want to go. Do not look at your hands or feet, make sure you are looking down the line of the wave where you are heading.
  • Make sure your stance is solid. A great way of practicing this is by drawing a surfboard in the sand or cutting out a cardboard surfboard for your bedroom. Practice jumping up into the position you need to be in. Once you are happy you are jumping up, get someone to gently push your shoulders and legs and if your stance is solid you will be able to stay balanced.

Choosing the correct waterwear

Wearing the correct waterwear can also help you to maximize the time you have in the water. If you are surfing in the winter you need to make sure you wear a wetsuit with thick neoprene to keep you warm so you can last more than ten minutes. In the summer months or in warmer countries you may require a short suit or even just a bikini.  It is not good to be too hot and unnecessarily restricted so you are unable to surf properly. You will also want to consider choosing waterwear that will protect you from the sun. See GlideSoul’s full waterwear collection here.


Perfecting your surfing skills won’t always happen over night. However if you can maximise the time you spend in the water then you will notice vast improvements. Make sure you lead a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle out of the water to maintain fitness levels. If you are super keen then make your next holiday a surf trip, where you have nothing else to do but surf all day every day! Aloha!


Laura is a lifestyle blogger from Cornwall. Her Blog Cocktails and Wanderlust http://cocktailsandwanderlust.com/ focuses on sharing new and exciting ways of leading a well-balanced healthy lifestyle. 

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