Learning how to Surf
Learning how to surf
Surfing may seem very difficult and impossible to learn at first glance. You have to be fit, have balance and be able to swim properly. There are plenty of places in Europe where you can get acquainted with surfing and learn the techniques to stand up from the paddle and catch your first wave on modest waves. In the Netherlands, the waves may not always be beautiful, but they are compact, making the North Sea ideal for learning how to surf. Of course you can also go to countries such as France, Spain and Portugal, where the environment is a lot nicer. Don’t expect to be a cool surf dude or chick after a few days of surfing, it remains difficult. But don’t let that scare you, you’ll never forget the moment you ride your first wave! You learn your first surfing techniques on dry land. On the beach you can get used to lying on your board, the paddle movement, the basic position and the pop-up (the most important in this phase) in peace.
How to lie on your board
Lie on your board so that your body is in line with the centerline from your tail to the nose (the stringer)of the board. Make sure your feet are just resting on the tail of your board. If you lie too far back, you will not glide over the water, because your lower body and the board create too much resistance (drag). If you lie too much forward, the nose of your board will gasp in the water.
Surfing consists largely of paddling. It is therefore important to master a good stroke. Those who can paddle well will catch more waves and tire less quickly. You can practice the first step to paddling on dry land. While paddling, keep your legs together, tighten your butt, and lift your chest slightly off your board. Of course you don’t feel the resistance of the water yet on dry land, but by performing the movement a few times on the beach (without balancing your board) you will get a good feeling for it.
The pop-up is standing up from paddling. We do this in 4 steps. When you feel you have enough forward speed, put your hands under your shoulders on the deck of the board. Stretch your arms and push yourself up like a banana, this movement is called “proning”. From this position you create space at your hips and slide your back foot up to your knee. Then put your front foot between your hands and stand up.
The correct stance
The intention is that you will ride the waves standing up. The correct stance is essential. In the basic position, your feet are about shoulder width apart, in the center of the board. Your knees are slightly bent for balance and your weight is on your front leg. Too much weight on your back leg slows down your board and creates instability. Your hips and shoulders are turned in such a way that your upper body is pointing forward. Keep your arms facing forward at chest height to find your balance.
- Feet shoulder width apart
- Bend your knees
- Weight on your front leg
- Chest and shoulders face forward
- Arms at shoulder height
- Look ahead