Elements For Beginners in Surfing

Swimming and exercises for would be surfers

Before you even consider whether you want a longboard or short board, book surfing holidays or buy any surfing gear, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses. For example, it is important that you can swim well before taking to the water on a surfboard.

Exercises that are beneficial when learning to surf include: Bench press ups; Push up; Leg presses; Squats; Aerobic exercises such as swimming, dancing, cycling and running.

A good balance of this type of exercise will prepare you for surfing by strengthening calves and thighs, helping your balance and making you stronger and able to endure more.

Familiarize yourself with a surfboard

Take a good look at a surfboard so that you become familiar with its features. A long board is approximately nine by two feet with a strip in the middle. It may have one of more fins. The surfboard leash near the tail can be attached to your ankle to prevent you parting company with it, if you fall off. It takes some practise to become accustomed to the leash, so try it out in a swimming pool or practise on the beach. You can also practise your balance in a swimming pool to reproduce surfing conditions.

On the beach you can make a narrow groove in the sand for your surfboard and practise the pop up as well as standing from a sitting or paddling position.

You confidence will grow with your surfing lessons and when you are ready to hit the surf take a surf buddy with you to show you the proper distance to keep from others surfers and other aspects of surf etiquette. He will be able to instruct you in paddling, catching a wave and will be there for you if you encounter difficulties.

Advanced Surfing

If you watch surfing videos, which you should because they will teach you a great deal about short-boarding technique, notice how the surfer determines the move he or she will make by the shape and condition of the wave itself. The speed of the wave, in particular, will determine how to reposition your board. If the wave is slow, apply more weight on your front foot and step down to accelerate. If the wave speeds up, then take the opportunity to slide your front foot back an inch. Your knees should be bent throughout this process, which improves your center of gravity and balance.

When you decide to make your move and hit the lip, apply pressure on your back foot, which will allow your board to head up the wave. As you near the crest, release your foot so that you level out at the crest of the wave, with your board floating on the crest. Prepare to drop back down by bending your knees and pointing the tip of your board so that you can continue down the line. When you hit the bottom of the wave, do a quick bottom turn to gain acceleration to finish your ride.

Throughout your ride, your body and eyes should always be looking in the direction you want to go. Your back leg and upper body do most of the maneuvering. Hitting the lip involves steering with your back foot and forcing the movement with your shoulders. This trick takes a bit of practice, so don’t expect to land it the first try.

Long boarders can also perform this maneuver but should be careful not to be as aggressive with the movements, especially if the drop from the lip is more than four feet. The maneuver should be smoother and more fluid.

Surf Clothing and Accessories

Suddenly, a new style of surf clothing began to be seen, even in midwestern states far from the waves. What happened?

No, it was not the Beach Boys who first popularized surfing. In 1957, a man wrote a short book about his daughter, who was one of the first surfer girls. Called “Gidget”, the book went on to become a hit movie in 1959. That was where it all really began.

The producers of the film knew they were on to something big and enlisted big stars James Darren and Sandra Dee to star in the movie, with superstar Cliff Robertson in a strong supporting role. The movie featured some surfing footage, but mostly it featured girls in bikinis and well-built guys in surfing trunks.

The popularity of that movie led to many more imitators. In pop music, surf music became huge, with groups like Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys making in to Number One on the charts. About the only teenagers who didn’t like their music were surfers, who really preferred to keep their sport to themselves. Instead, they listened to the music of bands like Dick Dale and the Ventures. The fast-paced guitar licks in instrumentals like “Perfidia” and “Walk, Don’t Run” were what they listened to before they tackled the waves.

There was no stopping the tidal wave of interest in surfing, though. In just a few short years, surfing had gone from nowhere to mainstream. Suddenly the beaches were filled with surfers and where they couldn’t surf, young people wore surfing fashions and dreamed of riding the waves.

Baggy Hawaiian shirts, baggy trunks and Hawaiian print bikinis were the surfing style of that era. It took time for a surfing apparel industry to evolve, but evolve it did. Today, some of the early surf wear companies are multi-million dollar corporations.

Today, you can find surfwear being worn just about anywhere in the world. It runs the gamut from board shorts and bikinis to shoes, shorts, pants, shirts and even socks. Girls styles include tank tops, blouses, skirts, miniskirts and dresses. In fact, many surfers find enough styles to choose from that they wear nothing else but surf wear.

Surf the Waves in Easy Lessons

Board Positioning

A common mistake that I see a lot of beginners do is lay on top of their board either too far back or to far forward. It really is a subtle balancing act when you lay on your surfboard. If you are too far up on the board you will pearl the nose under water and possibly end up sliding off across the front of the board. What’s far more common is for newbies to position themselves too far back which allows them to paddle in the water okay, but they will never catch a wave and the board will end up getting away from them. The ideal spot to lay on the board for paddling and catching waves is just far enough up from the center so that you can arch your back a little as you paddle and the nose stays just a couple inches at the most out of the water. It really is just a matter of feeling your balance and paying attention to how you body shifts weight on your surfboard.

Momentum and Speed

Another very common problem I see beginning surfers make is not taking the speed of the wave into consideration when the paddle after one in hopes of catching it. It is imperative to always pay attention to your surroundings when out in the ocean, but while surfing you must constantly scan the nearby horizon for waves coming in. The time to paddle after wave is before it gets to you not when it is right up on you. You must position yourself in a manner that allows you to paddle in front of the incoming wave so that your speed matches the waves and it will then more likely grab a hold of your board and allow you to catch the wave. A good idea is to paddle out just beyond the break zone and sit on your board so you can see the horizon farther out to allow for maximun preparation time for the next set.

Standing and Leg Stance

You can get everything else right when going surfing, but if you never stand up or stay up on your surfboard then you will never really ride a wave. Its important to practice getting up from laying on your stomach to your feet in a quick sweeping motion that takes no longer than a second or two. You should practice this routinely at home or in your yard until its second nature. Many surfers learned by getting on their knees first then going to a standing position. While this might seem easier at first, it is incorrect and a bad habit to break if you start out that way. It is far better to learn to go from laying flat to standing in one movement even if it takes longer to learn. This will give your a quicker start when the waves momentum grabs your board and believe me this will allow you to not only catch the wave before the competition does, but will guarantee you more options on how you will end up riding that totally awesome wave dude.

Basic Windsurfing Sport

When you already got new shining board, push the board out into deep water until the fin is clear of the bottom. You may want to get a sense of the wind direction and maneuver the board so that the sail is downwind of the board.

When you on the water, swim or walk to the upwind side and clamber onto the board. Keep the balance of your knees and grab a hold of the uphaul, without pulling up the sail yet.

Move your feet up at a slow pace and then rock back and forth on your feet to get a feel for it. Bend your knees and pull the sail up slightly from the water and then hand over hand like hauling in a rope.

Try to keep your back and your body upright. You are bending over too much if you feel your lower back starting to ache. Take hold of the mast immediately with both hands and let it swing. You need to control the balance of your position.

Straight up tilt the mast to your left with the mast. Your body should transfer this imbalance to the windsurfer board and make the board turn or spin clockwise. If you tilt the mast to the right, then the board will turn counterclockwise.

The board will turn faster if you get stronger wind and further of tilt. If you tilt the mast to the stern the board will head up in to the wind. Pay attention which side the bow of the board is in relation to you. Place your hand on the boom so the mast is leading the sail towards the bow.

Standup Paddle Boarding

The origin of standup paddle boarding is the same as that of other board sports, and that is Hawaii. SUP, also known as “Hoe he’e nalu”, has very old roots. However, it has become popular now with many photographers and surf instructors.

SUP basically employs a type of surf board along with a lengthy paddle. In this regard, it’s a mix of surfing and canoeing. The credit for making it popular goes to Laird Hamilton, who made use of the paddle grabbing towing waves originating in Hawaii. But now, SUP isn’t just for surfing. SUP may be enjoyed in many other forms. like flat water lakes to facilitate beach paddling, to open water paddling and right up to surfing waves.

Though you can visit a store and procure the very first or the most economical board, it may not be the best option for getting initiated into this sport.

The design, and hence the value of SUP paddles and SUP boards, varies a lot. It’s not difficult to guess that better quality boards will be more expensive. At the same time, better boards are more appropriate for use by intermediate and experienced paddlers.

Here are some tips that beginners will find helpful. Having decided to get skilled at standup paddle board, you should call upon one of the SUP stores in your area and get one board on rent for the initial few lessons. It may be a good idea to rent boards made by different manufacturers to find which one suits you the most. It is not unusual for many stores to adjust the expense of rental in the final price of the new board that you would buy. So, do check on this. There is absolutely no harm in getting started with used equipment. You can locate many sellers of used equipment through the classified ads of local papers. Some shops also offer boards that were used for demos or used boards at considerably lower prices.

Exercises From the Board Up

Sitting

Start by rolling a tennis ball under your foot. This helps awaken the soft connective tissue (fascia). Do not put your full weight on the foot being rolled. Work up to using more pressure and using a lacrosse ball or golf ball. Roll the ball with a little more pressure under the heels, balls and outer edge of your feet and less pressure in the arches and toes. Spend at least 1 minute on each foot.

Try to pickup sand/small rocks with your toes. Once you have accomplished this task try to fling the objects with your toes.

Lift your foot off the ground and write in the air your favorite surfing spot. Pretend your toes are a pen and your ankle is a wrist.

With your feet apart keep your heels stationary and push/drag the balls of the feet and toes outwards away from center. When they are out as far as they can go (duck footed) lift the front of the feet off the ground (heels stationary) and bring them back to neutral. 10-15 times.

With your feet apart keeping your heels stationary lift the balls of your feet and toes up and go outwards. When they are out as far as they can go bring the front of the feet down and drag them back to neutral. 10-15 times.

Press your four small toes down and try to raise your big toe. This is a difficult exercise and when you first attempt it you can lightly hold down your 4 toes with your hand. Sometimes if you tap or lightly push the arch of your foot it helps. 10-15 times.

Press your big toe down and try to raise you 4 little toes. Again, you can start by spreading your toes as far apart as you can. Hold for 3-5 seconds 5-10 times.

Rock feet back and forth from heels to toes. 15 – 20 times.

Standing

Walk on your heels and then walk on the balls of your feet.

Lift your big toe and feel your arch go up. Bring toe down and try to keep the arch raised for a few seconds.

Stand on a step with the balls of your feet on the step and your heels hanging over the edge. Slowly use the whole front of the foot to rise up as high as you can then drop your heels down as low as you can get them. 10 -20 times.

If it hurts do not do it! This includes if you feel pain in your knees as you work your feet. See a foot doctor for pain, surfer’s toe and fungal issues.

Choose a Second Hand Paddle Board

Before you start to search the dedicated market for the perfect second hand paddle board, you need to be aware of an aspect. You will never find a second hand board without a few scratches or scrapes. Try to be realistic about what you can find in this segment of the market. However, don’t lower your expectations too much. The first rule you need to follow in your search for the best second hand board is to have a good look at the surf board you intend to purchase. This is actually the reason for which experts recommend enthusiasts to purchase second hand surfing boards form traditional stores rather than online shops. If the board is cracked, for instance, and it has not been appropriately treated, water could infiltrate and completely damage the material. In this case, the board is compromised and it would be a mistake to purchase it. The best way to decide whether or not to buy a particular board would be to actually feel its surface. This way, you will immediately feel the depressions or cracks that might exist. Also, it is a good idea to look under the stickers on the board, because these might be used to hide something. As you can see, second hand surf boards should be purchased from traditional stores.

However, if you should desire to buy such a surfing board from an online store, then you should locate a trustworthy provider. You have to count on the professionalism of the provider you will be collaborating with. Finding a dedicated surfing equipment provider is not impossible, it is just a matter of research. You have to be willing to spend some time analyzing your options. Second hand surf boards are a great choice for enthusiasts who have taken up this sport. You will have plenty of time to purchase a brand new, professional board, once you gain a bit of experience. Until this happens, second hand surfing boards are ideal for practicing moves, so consider buying one, now that you know how to properly choose one.

History of Surfboards

The ‘Olo’ surfboard was ridden by the Chiefs or the noblemen usually between 14-16 feet and the ‘Alaia’ surfboard was between 10-12 feet in length and ridden by commoners.

Captain Cook witnessed natives surfing solid wooden surfboards when he visited the Hawaiian Islands in 1777 and his diaries are the first official documentation describing the art of surfing.

Later in the mid 19th century when the western/white missionaries arrived surfing almost died out in the islands. At the start of the 20th century the missionaries influence over the islands began to decline and Hawaiians along with the new European and American settlers began surfing again. One of these was George Freeth, who through his surfing, experimented with board design, and cut his 16 foot Hawaiian board in half. Making the typical solid redwood Hawaiian board of the time to around 6 to 10 foot long.

In 1926 one of the most famous names in surf history; Tom Blake designed the first hollow surfboard constructed of redwood with hundreds of holes drilled in it and was encased with a thin board of wood on top and bellow the board. The board was 15 foot long, 19″ wide, 4″ thick and weighed 100 lbs.

This hollow surfboard eventually became the first mass-produced board in 1930s due to it’s weight and the speeds it could generate.

In 1932 Balsa wood from South America became a popular material for building surfboards. The new balsa wood boards only weighed around 30 to 40 pounds apposed to the 90 to 100 pound redwood boards. Such a reduction in weight was a major step forward in board design, and became more and more in demand.

The end of World War 2 opened up new possibilities in surfboard design as many new materials had become available through advances in technology. Fibreglass and styrofoam were the most significant of these.

The shortboard first came to the surf scene during the late 60’s to early 70’s and the average length went from 10 to 6 foot, with an obvious reduction in weight. These new boards allowed surfers to ride in the pocket of the wave and Dick Brewer is credited with it’s design. These new boards allowed faster, more aggressive surf and more maneuverability. It was around this time that the twin fin was created, apposed to just the one.

In 1966, Nat Young won the World Championships on a shortboard called ‘Sam’ designed by George Greenough and Bob McTavish. This board allowed greater performance style surfing with sharper turns and greater acceleration, which kick-started the ‘shortboard revolution’.

How to Windsurf

These essentials are meant to hand you with a general outlook and give you the basic understanding of what the whole of windsurfing is all about. For example a windsurfing board designed for the leaner is meant to be used to become skilled at windsurfing, although it will not be purely good for a first time user. As soon as you are through with the primary lessons, this is when you should begin to look for those equipments that you will use to progress through windsurfing.

There are five essential levels of expertise required for the first time learner of windsurfing. As a learner, you should begin by knowing everything about posture, stability, vision, trim, and force. These will be what will determine if you are going to go through the lessons successfully. Remember that there may be so many terms associated with these essentials and you will have to study these when you make your first lessons. As soon as you are skilled in all the essentials relating to the five steps above, you can progress to the second stage.

What will be taught at the second stage will include features such as direction, rotating, velocity, tricks and wave. What is very important about taking lessons on these five essential points is that almost every further lesson that you will meet will be based on these points. This is the more reason why you ought to study these five essentials very well ahead of getting to a further level.

There is no way in which you will be able to safeguard your own health or even succeed in most of the windsurfing lessons if you do not have the accurate equipments. This is equally true of any activity done in water. If you have decided that windsurfing should be your most favorite pastime, remember to go in for equipments that are durable. Keep in mind that you have to go in for what will last. Remember also that a life jacket is the first consideration when talking about your safety. The type that you buy will also depend on your weight and how you fit into it.

Extra essential equipment that should protect your safety is a head covering, but that is specifically meant for use in water. Remember to always put on this head covering when you do windsurfing. Keep in mind that in most areas, it is even a statutory requirement that you must put on your windsurfing helmet ahead of getting into the waters. The helmet should not also be very heavy and you should make sure that you are comfortable putting it on. Remember that you will be putting it on for a long time in water. Therefore comfort should be an important consideration. You will definitely need a windsurfing outfit. Remember that you will be wet at all times in water. Remember to go in for what you will find comfortable wearing and what will keep you warm. The waters may be too cold for your liking.