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7 mistakes you can make when you start surfing (and how to avoid them)

Surfing, with its powerful waves and relaxing atmosphere, attracts many enthusiasts. But even the most enthusiastic surfers can make mistakes, especially at the beginning of their journey. In this article, we'll explore seven common mistakes beginner surfers can make and, most importantly, how to avoid them. Whether you're about to get on a board for the first time or looking to perfect your skills, these tips will help you fully enjoy this incredible experience.

Mistake #1: Choosing an unsuitable board

When you're starting out in surfing, choosing the right board is crucial to your progress. A common mistake among beginners is choosing a board that is unsuitable for their skill level and needs. Opting for a board that is too small or too advanced can make learning much more difficult and frustrating. Smaller boards are generally more difficult to balance and maneuver, which can lead to frequent falls and discourage beginners.

On the other hand, a larger, more stable board is ideal for beginners because it provides more buoyancy and stability, making it easier to learn basic techniques like paddling and take-offs. Longboards and mini-malibus are popular choices for beginners due to their size and ease of use.

It is essential to take the time to consult a professional or surf instructor before purchasing a board. An experienced instructor can help you determine the size and type of board that best suits your skill level, body size, and surfing goals. By investing in a suitable board from the start, you will be able to progress more quickly and enjoy your experience on the water more.

Mistake #2: Underestimating weather conditions and tides

Ignoring weather conditions and tides before going surfing can lead to dangerous situations on the water, especially for beginner surfers. Beginners often tend to focus only on wave size without considering other environmental factors that can affect their safety and surfing experience.

Before each surf session, it is crucial to carefully check the local weather forecast, including wind strength and direction, wave height, and tide conditions. This information will help you determine if the conditions are suitable for your skill level and ability to navigate the water. For example, waves that are too big or wind that is too strong can make surfing dangerous, especially for beginners.

Additionally, it is important to understand tides and their impact on surfing conditions. Rising tides can create strong currents and more powerful waves, while falling tides can make some surfing areas less accessible or more dangerous due to exposed rocks or sandbars. To avoid this mistake, take the time to familiarize yourself with local weather forecasts and tides before each surf session. Consult reliable sources such as websites specializing in surf forecasts or dedicated mobile applications. Additionally, don't hesitate to ask local surfers or beach lifeguards for advice to help you assess conditions and make informed decisions about your safety in the water. By remaining aware of weather conditions and tides, you can enjoy your surfing experience in complete safety and peace of mind.

Mistake #3: Not warming up properly

One of the most overlooked mistakes made by beginner surfers is not spending enough time on a proper warm-up before a surf session. Surfing is a demanding sport that uses many muscles in the body, and a proper warm-up is essential to prevent injuries and optimize your performance in the water.

A good warm-up should include a series of dynamic exercises that increase body temperature, improve blood circulation and prepare muscles and joints for the effort to come. Exercises such as jumps, lunges, arm rotations and dynamic stretches are particularly effective in preparing the body for surfing.

Additionally, it's important to spend a few minutes lightly paddling in the water before heading out into the waves. This activity not only allows you to get used to ocean conditions and familiarize yourself with paddling movements, but also to prepare your muscles for the intense effort of the session to come.

By neglecting a proper warm-up, you not only risk injury, but also compromise your performance in the water. Cold muscles are more susceptible to injury when subjected to intense exercise, which can lead to muscle pain, strain and joint injury.

To avoid this mistake, spend at least 10 to 15 minutes before each surf session doing a thorough warm-up. Take the time to prepare your body physically and mentally for the activity ahead by performing a series of dynamic exercises and focusing on your breathing. By investing in a proper warm-up, you can maximize your performance in the water and reduce the risk of injury while fully enjoying your surf session.

Mistake #4: Rowing incorrectly

Paddling is one of the fundamental skills of surfing, but many beginners overlook the importance of mastering correct paddling technique. An efficient paddle is essential for catching waves, moving through the water and maintaining a stable position on the board.

A common mistake among beginners is to paddle with only their arms, which quickly leads to fatigue and poor posture. For effective rowing, it is essential to use the entire body, with an emphasis on using the back, shoulder and core muscles. Keep your elbows slightly bent and use a smooth motion to propel the board through the water.

Additionally, be sure to keep your hands below the surface of the water while paddling, rather than letting them float on the surface. This helps optimize traction and propulsion, which will allow you to paddle more efficiently and move faster through the water.

By practicing your paddling technique regularly, you will be able to improve your speed, power and endurance in the water, which will allow you to catch more waves and fully enjoy your time on the water. Don't hesitate to ask advice from more experienced surfers or surf instructors to help you perfect your technique and become a more efficient paddler.

Mistake #5: Not respecting priority rules

A common mistake among beginners in surfing is not respecting the right of way rules in the water. These rules are crucial to ensuring the safety of all surfers and to maintaining an atmosphere of mutual respect in the ocean.

The basic rule is that the surfer closest to the peak or the one already standing on a wave has priority for that wave. This means that other surfers must avoid riding the same wave so as not to interfere with the priority surfer's trajectory.

It is also important to respect the right priority. This means that if two surfers are heading towards the same wave from opposite directions, the one on the right has priority. This helps avoid collisions and accidents in the water.

By ignoring the right of way rules, not only do you risk creating dangerous situations for yourself and other surfers, but you also risk causing tension and conflict in the water. Respecting right-of-way rules not only shows respect for other surfers, but also for the ocean and surfing environment as a whole.

To avoid this mistake, take the time to learn the right of way rules before getting into the water. Carefully observe the behavior of other surfers and seek to understand how priority rules are applied in different situations. By following these rules, you will be able to fully enjoy your surfing experience while helping to maintain a safe and harmonious environment in the ocean.

Mistake #6: Neglecting security

A serious mistake that beginner surfers can make is neglecting their safety in the water. Surfing is a sport that carries risks, especially for those unfamiliar with the ocean and its potential dangers. Ignoring proper safety precautions can result in accidents, serious injuries, or even life-threatening situations.

One of the most basic safety measures in surfing is wearing a leash. A leash is a strap that connects your board to your ankle or calf, which prevents the board from moving away from you in the event of a fall or big wave. By wearing a leash, you considerably reduce the risk of losing your board and finding yourself in difficulty in the water.

Additionally, in certain surf conditions it may be wise to wear a life jacket. Especially for beginner surfers or those operating in larger wave conditions, a life jacket can provide an extra layer of buoyancy and safety when needed.

It is also crucial to know the danger signs in surfing, such as rip currents, bays, rocks and sandbars. Learn to recognize these potential dangers and avoid surfing in areas where you could be put in danger.

Finally, never surf beyond your limits. It's easy to get caught up in excitement and find yourself in situations where you're not comfortable or safe. Always honestly evaluate your skills and confidence before making a decision to surf in more difficult or dangerous conditions.

By neglecting surfing safety, you not only put your own life in danger, but also that of other surfers around you. By taking proper safety precautions and remaining aware of potential dangers in the water, you can fully enjoy your surfing experience in complete safety and peace of mind.

Mistake #7: Not investing in good education

A crucial mistake many beginning surfers make is not investing in good instruction. Taking lessons with a qualified instructor can make all the difference in your surfing progress and the way you approach the sport.

An experienced instructor can teach you the basics of surfing, including paddling, take-off, and board position. They can also help you develop advanced skills such as wave picking, peak placement, and surf maneuvers. Thanks to their advice and expertise, you will be able to progress more quickly and more efficiently in your surfing practice.

In addition to teaching technical skills, a surf instructor can help you understand the more subtle aspects of surfing, such as water safety, reading waves, and respecting the marine environment. They can also give you valuable advice on how to choose the right surf equipment, prevent injuries, and handle emergency situations in the water.

Investing in good instruction early on in your surfing journey can prevent you from forming bad habits and developing incorrect techniques that may be difficult to correct later.

Additionally, taking lessons with an instructor will help you feel more confident and comfortable in the water, allowing you to fully enjoy your surfing experience.

Ultimately, surfing is a sport that takes time, patience and practice to master. By investing in good instruction from the start, you can maximize your surfing potential and ensure steady and rewarding progression in this exciting sport.

How to avoid these pitfalls?

By avoiding the seven common mistakes mentioned above, you will be able to maximize your surfing experience and fully enjoy every session in the water. Choosing the right board, respecting priority rules, and investing in good instruction are all ways to guarantee your safety and progress in surfing. By taking the time to familiarize yourself with weather conditions and tides, warm up properly, and take appropriate safety precautions, you will be able to fully enjoy your time on the water while minimizing the risk of injury or damage. accidents.

If you're looking for a safe and stimulating environment to learn to surf, Surf & Rise offers surf trips with experienced instructors in world-famous surf destinations. Join us for an unforgettable adventure and discover everything the world of surfing has to offer you! Whether you're a beginner or an experienced surfer, there is always something new to learn and discover in the ocean. So, don't hesitate to get started and explore the waves with passion and determination.


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