When it comes to surfing for the first time you find there are two types of people. If your type A: you think the price of those waves come at no cost to your pride and you are ready to hit the water. Being fearless, fun, and free is great but soon after that first tumble in the water you will discover that like Rome, your career as a wave-working pro wasn't achieved in a day.
Type B: is a bit of an opposite extreme. You are hesitant, overly anticipating the challenge, and calculating every possible outcome of your first session. Some of these reservations aren't necessarily a bad thing so long as it doesn't affect your willingness to paddle out and try but at the end of the day Surfing should be just as much about the body as it is for the mind. So how do we get started?
Now completing my 20th year as a surfer I was unlucky enough to be the absolute worst Basketball player in town but lucky enough to have parents recognize this and sign me up for a sport that takes place way out in the ocean where no-one can see you fail. The best action they took was hiring me an instructor to teach me the basics which I then had as a foundation leading to my professional life in the water. #Thanksmom.
Wether or not you are type A or B the first step remains the same- Hire a professional to get you started. The reasons are numerous and for all those type A's out there a good index of 10 things you probably never even thought of can be found at https://www.self.com/story/what-you-need-to-know-before-surfing-first-time
For type B's- sometimes we need that little angle/devil on your shoulder or in this case right next to you in the water to push you into that wave and give you the "You CAN do this" confidence boost. Not only will your instructor share with you that positive YOU CAN, but if they are good at their job, they will also share ... AND HERE'S HOW.
When attending a first time surf lesson here is what to expect. If you encounter a surf school out there that doesn't provide all of this criteria I would suggest checking out a new school. The fact of the matter is you have options, so choose carefully.
(words of warning: There is a lot of craigslist surf coaches out there but we can talk about how to avoid those in a separate article)
1. The equipment used should be selected by the instructor. Time and time again we will see people having a guided lesson in the water on a board either made of materials that isn't compatible with the clients body type or size specifications that don't even give the client a fighting chance. For example small children being placed on massive 9ft boards or those more secure in stature on tiny boards intended for children.
Board shaping is complicated. It takes time and experience to learn so better to leave it to a professional. If you are interested in what goes into the science of board shaping you can visit https://www.surfer.com/blogs/culture/is-shaping-your-own-surfboard-worth-it/
2. The Land Lesson. In my history of teaching new comers to surf not once have I started the lesson in the water. It's so much easier to learn the basic technique when there aren't waves crashing all around you. Always begin with at least a 15 min discussion and demonstration from your instructor on how to pop-up, how to paddle out past the waves, and safety. I can not stress this enough, if your instructor you just dropped some coin on doesn't communicate how you can keep yourself safe in the water then that lesson is not meeting the minimal safety requirements of a professional lesson. It never hurts to ask. For more on safety tips check out this awesome article at https://mpora.com/action/surfing/safe-surfing-tips-13-tips-staying-safe-surf/
Surfing is like golfing in one way, it's all about the technique. A little bit of tips from a professional at www.calibungasurflessons.com can go a long way. Nobody intuitively knows how to balance on a piece of foam on a moving waves but a little lesson can pay off with one great ride so trust your coaching and not necessarily your instincts.
3. Stay motivated. Surfing is a challenge and its worth the reward, the bragging rights, and the stories to impress your grandkids with way... way down the line. An instructor can help you steer the course and keep things positive out in the break. Make small adjustments with each wave. Part of the gift of surfing is that another wave will always be washing in for you to practice your new skill sets. Theres no amazing insider secret that suddenly makes you win the world cup but if every wave you make a small adjustment then you would be amazed
how quickly the perfect ride will come to you.