So you’re thinking of hanging-ten and shredding some gnarly waves, riding in the tubes with your friends. Well, that’s a great idea and not only will you look totally radical out there in the surf but you’ll also be getting an amazing full body workout at the same time. This isn’t just floating on a board, it’s hard work to stand on a board and shred a wave.
But if you’re new to surfing then you might be a little trepidatious to get totally tubular. That is completely understandable, surfing is a touch intimidating. That is no reason, however, to keep you on the shore like a total lame-o
We have put together a list of things we wish we had known before we became certified wave-riders to make you feel more comfortable as you venture out to get your surf on for the very first time.
Buying A Wetsuit
Before you splash into the sea you should definitely check the local water temperature to see if it will be much colder than water you normally want to swim in. If you live in the Pacific Northwest then odds are that a wetsuit will be needed, but if you live in Southern California or Florida then you may not need one. If the water is warm enough then feel free to hop in without one. If you opt to not wear a wetsuit you should still probably look into a rash guard so you don’t rub your body raw while paddling on your board. I would say hold off on buying a wetsuit until you know for sure that you want to invest money and time into this new gnarly hobby.
A lot of people are terrified of sharks and that makes them very reticent to try surfing or other oceanic activities. Don’t worry, shark attacks are very uncommon. In 2016 there were only 84 shark attacks and 4 of them were fatal. That is an extremely low number if you think about all the people that spend time in the ocean every single day around the world. It is very unlikely that you will even encounter a shark while in the water. You may, however, see a dolphin or a seal which are not scary and are very cool.
If you want to learn how to surf you need to know how to swim. You don’t have to be Michael Phelps out there, but you do need to know some basic skills to keep yourself safe. You need to be confident that you can get back to shore if you somehow get away from your board. You also want to be able to stay calm and swim to the surface if a wave knocks you under the water. Even if you are a great swimmer you should never surf alone, bring a friend so that you guys can help each other in case anything goes wrong. If you feel uncomfortable with your head going under the water or treading water then you need to take some more swim lessons and get more comfortable with keeping afloat before you try surfing for the first time.