The hot weather may have been and gone, however there's still plenty of time to fulfil your summer promise to learn to surf. To get you standing up on your board in no time, follow these 8 expert tips.
With smaller crowds on the beaches and cooler offshore breezes offering smooth, quality waves, there's never been a better time to learn to surf, than March or April. Ex pro surfer Richie Lovett, shares his top tips to get you feeling comfortable on your board.
1. Watch the waves
One of the hardest things for a beginner is getting in the right position to catch a wave. Before heading out, sit on the beach for 10 minutes and watch where the waves are breaking. Take note of where other surfers are paddling out and taking off, and go from there.
2. Practice the 'pop-up'
Getting to your feet takes quite a bit of strength and the stronger your upper body is, the faster you’ll be able to ‘pop-up’ onto your feet. Before you head out, drop to the floor on the sand and jump to your feet as you would on a board. You may feel silly, but this is an exercise every good surfer has had to practice.
3. Start small
You don’t want to catch anything too big or challenging to start out, so look to surf small waves, no bigger than waist height, that gently break across the sand bank. “It’s best to start by walking the board out to where you feel comfortable and then riding foam waves first before trying to catch a breaking wave,” Lovett advises.
4. Paddle like you mean it!
Once you’ve positioned yourself for an approaching wave, paddle HARD, like you are going for gold. It will make all the difference. The faster you can paddle, the more likely you’ll catch the wave earlier, which makes it easier to jump to your feet.
5. Take up a fighting stance
Once you jump to your feet, get into a fighting stance. Position your feet a little more than shoulder width apart, bend at the knees and stretch your arms out by your side for balance, as if you’re walking on a tightrope. “Imagine someone is about to push you over – that’s the type of stance you need,” Lovett says.
6. Don't look down
Once you’re up and riding, keep your head up. Don’t look down at your feet otherwise you’ll lose balance straight away. Keep your eyesight level and be focused on the direction you’re travelling.
7. Start out straight
Initially you want to try and surf the wave directly towards the beach. Ideally you want to be able to ride the whitewash before graduating to the unbroken parts of the wave. Once you can confidently ride foam waves to the beach, it’s time to start heading left and right.
8. Learn the rules
Much like road rules, there are also laws to surfing to help keep order in the line-up. If two surfers are paddling for a wave, the surfer closest to the breaking part of the wave has the right of way. Above all, always respect the ocean and fellow riders!
Richie Lovett has launched his own range of 7S surfboards through Global Surf Industries. To buy online or find your nearest stockist, visit www.surfindustries.com