Tips for Beginning Surfers, Surf Tip #2

Continuing on with our “10 Tips” for beginner surfers series…
We know, it’s been awhile since we posted
Tip #1, but it’s been a busy summer of fun surf and as we move into the fall and winter months, it’s now time for Tip #2! So here ya go:

Tip #2: Be aware of your surroundings.

This will help you in life and it will help you in surfing. Carefully observing your surroundings will help you to:

1) Understand where the right spot is.
2) Maintain your position in the right spot.

Once out in the water, observe and notice if there is seaweed around, different shades of bottom color, or if there are “boils” from water being pushed up by rocks. Are there fish jumping, birds diving or dolphins swimming by? Where are the waves breaking? Where are most of the surfers sitting?

When you first get out in the line-up, orientate yourself and estimate on the best location to wait for waves. At beach breaks you can use landmarks on the shore. For example, you may decide that you want to stay between the pier and the ugly pink house. If you find yourself out of that zone, paddle back there. At point breaks or rocky zones you can use landmarks, but you may also have to also use patches of seaweed and “boils” to determine where the best spot to be is.
Paying close attention to where you are will help you get more waves.

Tips for Beginning Surfers, Surf Tip #1

Wondering about how to approach a new surf spot? Nervous about paddling out in a crowded lineup? Having trouble on certain days at a spot you've been surfing a lot?

I've put together 10 tips for beginner and intermediate surfers that I feel are essential in becoming a better surfer. They'll help you to figure out new surf spots before you even paddle out and will help you to progress your skills at a faster rate. I've surfed up and down the California coast since I was 10 years old and have surfed all around the world. I've found that the better you are able to assess a spot and the conditions before you paddle out, the better experience you'll have out there. You won't be that person paddling out in the wrong spot about to get pounded on the rocks, or that guy/girl sitting way out in the channel letting everyone know that you have no idea where to sit to catch waves.

I hope these tips will help you to be successful as your surfing as you branch out to new spots and more challenging waves. But we can't give them to you all at once! Just one tip at a time, so you really take the time to think about it and put it into action.

Tip #1: Watch the water. (Yes, just like in the movie the North Shore. Sit and stare at the waves. You will start to see the subtle differences.)

Watch the water before you paddle out and as much as you can. Spend at least five minutes watching the surf and conditions before you paddle out. Maybe take this time to stretch out a bit? Figure out where the rocks are which way the current is going. Are there big sets every few minutes? Is it safe to paddle out today? Begin to develop a strategy that will help you to have a successful session. Decide where the best place to paddle out is. Which surfers are catching waves and which are not? If it’s a new beach, ask a lifeguard if there are rip-currents or where the surfing zone is. Watch other surfers paddle out. If you paddle out there will you get washed into the jetty? Taking this time to watch the water is crucial for two reasons: 1.) It will help you to become a safe and knowledgeable surfer, and 2.) once you begin to understand everything going on and are able to see the small variances in waves and conditions, you will be much more successful at catching waves. If you are running on the beach - watch the water. If you are hanging on the beach with friends or family - watch the water. If you are driving along the Pacific Coast Highway - watch the water. Just kidding! Watch the road!