Go easy on yourself.
Whether you stood up or not, after the first wave everyone asks, “What did I do wrong?” The answer is always NOTHING! You’re learning. It’ll take practice and time in the water. And you will always be learning no matter what level you get to. That makes surfing so awesome! It’s not something we achieve. It’s something we do.
Surfing, it’s personal.
Skills happen at different times for everyone, so there is no sense in comparing ourselves to anyone else. Every day is a new day!
So corny, but so true.
It still amazes me that surfing is really just about catching moving lumps of water (waves) and gliding with them. It is easier if we aren’t fighting against the tides or ourselves, so find the balance between effort and ease.
& enjoy the wipeouts.
You might not recognize the wins because they can be so small. Are you feeling more confident carrying your board to the beach? Win! Are you not feeling as wobbly sitting on your board today? Win! Wow, you stood up for the first time and promptly fell? Win! That means you’re progressing!
PS: the wipeouts never go away, so learn to enjoy them.
Everyone is excited about the “Pop Up”, the moment you get up and stand on your board. However, the pop-up will only happen if you focus on improving the steps before the pop-up, like positioning on your board, your paddling technique, and wave selection.
Two different things.
Many people won’t accept that they standing up unless they staying up. Please refer to Fundamentals #1 and 4 about going easy on yourself, celebrating the wins, and embracing the wipeouts. Even a split second with two feet on the board counts as a win!
Enjoy the glide.
Positioning yourself on your surfboard so you’re balanced side to side and in the perfect spot front to back is essential. It can feel tricky as a beginner. Too far forward, you’ll nose dive over the front of your board. Too far back and you will be paddling with the brakes on. Finding the sweet spot is finding the glide.
And the hands.
Eyes and hands are the secret to getting up. Most people are fixated on where their feet land on their board while popping up. It’s better to focus on looking up and hand placement. You look down if you focus on your feet. Looking down can lead to grabbing the rails which makes your board tip side to side. For a more fluid pop-up, look up, plant your hands on the top of your board as close to your rib cage as possible.
In. Out. In. Out.
Many beginners rush their pop-ups. What?! I know! You were told you had to pop up quickly! Eventually, your pop-up will be quick, but in the beginning, rushing it makes you wobbly. Think fluid, not fast. Paddle for your wave, look up, plant your hands and take a breath. Now try to stand up without rushing.
Don’t Go It Alone.
Learning to surf is fun and challenging. It is an individual sport but more rewarding to do in the community. Find your tribe so you can cheer each other on and motivate each other to keep at it through the triumphs, plateaus, and setbacks that are a natural part of surfing.
The Fundamentals of Surfing
At Las Olas, we’re passionate about using these Fundamentals while offering a tool kit of surf skills that help make learning to surf enjoyable and supportive. See you in the waves soon!
About the author: As a young girl, Aynsley’s mom introduced her to yoga to help “focus her energy”. That began her life-long interest in the practice and she eventually became a gifted teacher. Since 2008, she’s been Head Surfcoach at Las Olas Surfing for Women where she’s taught yoga to both seasoned surfers and first-ever wave riders. Originally from Canada, Aynsley now lives in southern Mexico with her daughter Rosy, husband Alex, and extended family.
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