Taking Up Surfing? What You Need to Know Before You Go

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Duke Jarboe - Surfing can be a spiritual experience, offering an intense connection to the ocean. There’s nothing truly like it out there. It can be serene and peaceful, and is also a great way to stay active while enjoying the outdoors.  It is also important to understand that the ever-changing conditions of the ocean make surfing not only a demanding physical activity, but also a mental challenge in determining how, when and where to hit the surf.

If the ocean is calling your name this summer, and you’re looking to take up surfing, below are tips on getting started, here are my tips on what you need to consider:

Try Before You Buy

Surfing can be an expensive sport. So, before you go out and spend a large chunk of change on a beautiful high-performance shortboard from Firewire, check out your local rental shops and rent a nice big foamy longboard that’s 9’6 or longer—which is an ideal size for beginners. The bigger the board, the easier it is to surf.

Get the Essentials

If you’re lucky enough to begin your surfing journey in warm waters, then all you’ll need is a pair of board shorts and a rashguard. Otherwise, you will need to get a wetsuit. A good wetsuit will keep you comfortable in cold waters, allowing you to stay out longer to ensure you catch some waves. Wetsuits are also available for rent one from local surf shops.

Swim Before You Surf

This might seem obvious, but it is critical that you are able to swim and be in reasonably good shape to surf. Surfing can be dangerous and demanding, so your body needs to be capable of withstanding the rigors of surfing. If you’re concerned about your level of fitness, condition your body by swimming laps in a pool until you feel confident you can maintain the level of exertion surfing will require.

Mind Your Surf Etiquette

As surfing becomes increasingly popular, more and more people are getting out in the water throughout the year. And, while the ocean may seem infinite and the waves eternal, there are only so many waves that can be caught for the limited duration of time spent in the water. And, there’s no group more easily angered than long-time surfers at their local spot dealing with people who don’t know the right-of-way. Before you grab a board and paddle out, be sure you know the basic rules of who has the right to the wave. And do some research to make sure the break you’re paddling out to is within your skill set. Here’s a few tips on how to avoid being a kook and getting beat up:

Consider a Lesson

Like any sport, there’s a good number of things you need to learn before hitting the waves. And, with the ocean often being unpredictable, it may be a good idea to take surf lessons from a reputable company to get hands-on learning of paddling, catching waves, popping up and surf etiquette. It will also help you determine if surfing is something in which you want to invest your time and resources into.

Taking these tips into account can help you enjoy your time in the water and stay in shape. Keep reading and researching, take lessons or go out with an experienced surfer, and most of all practice, practice, practice! Surfing takes a long time to learn but it can one of the most rewarding endeavors.

More readings: 

The Coolest Surf Towns in the World

Surfboards Explained: How to Pick the Right One

The 15 Best Surf Camps

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