1. Use the appropriate surfboard.
This simple tip is essential. Don't be influenced by watching more experienced surfers with hard short boards. Choosing the wrong surfboard can slow down your progress, as you may struggle to paddle efficiently on a wave, making it difficult to catch waves. Moreover, due to a lack of experience, you could potentially injure yourself or others. It's crucial to select the right surfboard for your skill level. Read more about how to choose the correct surfboard for a beginner level.
2. Train your arms and back for paddling.
Newbie surfers immediately experience muscle pain after intense surf sessions. Everyone sees the beautiful maneuvers of professional surfers, but few pay attention to how much paddling is required. To paddle effectively, catch the waves, and have the ability to at least move their arms after surfing, it is important to constantly strengthen the muscles of the arms and back. It is not necessary to religiously go to the gym. Push-ups and static exercises to strengthen the back from yoga or pilates will already help a lot.
3. Learn to paddle
The majority of beginner surfers struggle with paddling. The most common mistake is paddling shallow with weak, slow strokes. The other one is not paddling enough on the wave. Some even stop paddling at the moment when they need to paddle extremely hard to catch the wave. So, it is essential to pay attention to your paddle technique. Try to make strong and deep strokes to put in less effort but be faster. Going to a swimming pool and swimming crawl can help to improve your paddle technique.
4. Don't look down at the board, look where you go.
The most common mistake for beginner surfers is to completely concentrate on the pop up and not falling, without thinking about wave direction and wave riding. So what happens, is you look down and you fall down or just go straight if your pop up is not bad already. The rule is simple: "You go where you look." To overcome the “look down” habit, you can practice your pop up more in the white water and on land to make it more automatic and finally start observing and riding waves.
5. Always use a leash
Always use a leash. This tip may seem obvious, but based on our extensive experience, we have seen many beginner surfers entering the ocean without a leash. Trust us when we say that it is not worth the risk. Surfing without a leash is dangerous for both yourself and others, and in reality, it can take a considerable amount of time to retrieve your board after a wipeout.
6. Never let go of the board
If you are using a soft-top surfboard and struggling to paddle out, don't let go of your board before the broken wave. Instead, practice executing a turtle roll. Letting go of the board is very dangerous for other surfers and swimmers, as well as for yourself.
*Turtle roll or Eskimo roll means lying down on the board before the white water from the broken wave arrives, about 2 meters away. Grab the rails, and rotate the board to go under it. This way, the wave will pass over the surfboard. After rotating again, lie down on the board and continue paddling.
7. Always protect your head when you fall and come over the water
Never forget to protect your head after falling from the board and coming up from the water. You never know where and how forcefully your surfboard may appear.
8. Use the channels to paddle out
Common mistakes come from inexperience and lack of knowledge about the ocean conditions. Many beginners waste energy struggling with broken waves while paddling out, leaving them powerless in the lineup. To avoid this, observe the waves before entering, identify channels—areas with less powerful waves—and use them to paddle out efficiently, conserving your energy.
9. Choose less crowded surf spots that suit your level
Choose less crowded surf spots that match your skill level. With surfing's growing popularity, spots worldwide are getting busier. Be smart, observe waves and surfer levels. A spot may be overcrowded while another remains empty. Opt for less crowded spots for more wave opportunities, improvement, and fun. Avoid paddling out to a lineup with experienced surfers, if you lack experience, can lead to challenging situations that might discourage your surfing experience.
10. Learn surfing etiquette
In the beginning, it may not seem crucial to follow surf rules, as you assume other surfers should understand your beginner status. However, if you plan to surf regularly and go on different surf trips, following essential rules becomes important for an enjoyable surfing experience. Read more about surfing etiquette
11. Take surf lessons
We've discussed 10 tips, but here's an extra one for beginners. If possible, take surf lessons with skilled instructors. This helps prevent mistakes and the development of bad habits that could impact your future surfing technique. Learning from professionals also enhances your understanding of the ocean and surf conditions, providing valuable experiences for your surfing journey. Learn more about surfing lesosons