1. Use the appropriate surfboard.

Let's start with one of the most important surf tips for beginners: choosing a surfboard suitable for your skill level. Don't be influenced by watching more experienced surfers with hard short boards. Moreover, 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. Furthermore, due to a lack of experience, you could potentially injure yourself or others. Undoubtedly, it's absolutely crucial to select the right surfboard for your skill level.

Read more about how to choose the correct surfboard for a beginner level.




surf advise to choose a surfboard according to your level
arms and back training importance for surfing

2. Train your arms and back for paddling.

Newbie surfers often experience muscle pain after intense surf sessions. While many admire the beautiful maneuvers of professional surfers, few pay attention to the considerable effort involved in paddling. Therefore, this beginner surf tip is crucial. To paddle effectively, catch waves, and ensure the ability to move one's arms after surfing, it is essential to consistently strengthen the muscles of the arms and back. However, there's no need to strictly adhere to gym routines. Simple exercises like push-ups and static exercises from yoga or Pilates can already contribute significantly.

3. Learn to paddle

Our third surf tip for beginners builds on the previous one. Certainly, 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. Therefore, 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. Additionally, 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 avoiding falls, neglecting considerations for wave direction and wave riding. Consequently, if you focus only on the pop up and not on the wave, you may find yourself looking down, leading to a fall or simply going straight instead of riding the wave. Remember the simple rule: 'You go where you look.' To break the 'look down' habit, dedicate time to practicing your pop up technique in the white water and on land, making it more automatic. Eventually, this will help you shift your attention to observing and effectively riding waves.


surf tips for beginner to avoid common mistakes to look down

5. Always use a leash

Always use a leash. While this tip may seem obvious, 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. Moreover, surfing without a leash is dangerous for both yourself and others. Additionally, it can take a considerable amount of time to retrieve your board after a wipeout.

do not let go of the surf board strong advice

6. Never let go of the board

This tip is one of the most important surf tips for beginners as it relates to safety rules. 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. Certainly, 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

One more important beginner surf tip that can be considered a safety rule. 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. Obviously, many beginners waste energy struggling with broken waves while paddling out, leaving them powerless in the lineup. To avoid this, use this surf tip: observe the waves before entering, identify channels—areas with less powerful waves—and use them to paddle out efficiently, conserving your energy.

Beginner surf tips about using channels to paddle out
surfing tips for beginners about choosing the right surf spot

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, surf spots worldwide are getting busier. Be smart, observe waves and surfer levels. While one spot may be overcrowded, another with the same conditions remains empty. Opt for less crowded spots for more wave opportunities, improvement, and fun. Additionally, avoid paddling out to a line up 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 basic surf tips for beginners, but here's an extra one for you. If possible, take surf lessons with skilled instructors. Certainly, this helps to prevent mistakes and the development of bad habits that could impact your future surfing technique. Moreover, learning from professionals also enhances your understanding of the ocean and surf conditions, providing valuable experiences for your surfing journey.


Read more about our surf lesosons

surf tips for beginners