Who Else Wants to Learn to Surf Faster?


The thrill of catching your first wave may send you on a mission to further develop as a surfing athlete and influence many areas of your life for years to come. Catching waves around the world or at your local beach can become a fantastic obsession that will leave you wondering how you ever lived without surfing exercises, the ocean and your surfboard. Most people want to learn a new sport as fast as possible, however learning to surf quickly is not really an option; competent surfers spend years honing their surfing fitness, ocean knowledge and surfing skills.

Getting the basics right to learn to surf will dramatically speed up the learning process for anyone who wishes to enjoy this fantastic sport. In order to quickly learn how to surf it is important to understand that unlike many other sports that are quick to pick up, surfing requires persistent efforts regardless of your sporting background or previous athletic achievements. It is also important to note that when the waves get good everyone wants a piece of the action. This means you will be competing for waves with all surfers in the water so surfing fitness is crucial for your surfing endeavors.

Surfing is not as easy as it may look from the beach. This is especially true if you look at riders who have mastered the art of riding waves and think that copying their choice of surfboard or style is the fastest way to go. Unlike many other sports where you can copy professional athletes techniques say like shooting a free throw in basketball or kicking a conversion in rugby, when it comes to surfing you start in the white water. Period.

Learning to ride the white water is how you get your first surfing experience and can feel the energy of the ocean. This will help develop your skills for later riding. Don't get fooled into thinking you should paddle out the back and compete for unbroken waves, you wont have a chance and maybe even get injured in the impact zone. Start with a bigger board and be content catching white water. Over time your paddling power, ocean knowledge, surfing fitness and experience will allow you to progress out the back.

Begin with a board that is not too big or too small. A board that is too big is hard to handle in the surf while a short board is unstable and generally more difficult all round to learn on. There are great beginners boards out there today that can have you on your feet in no time. Remember though, just because you can get to your feet in the white water does not mean you are ready to catch unbroken waves.

Before you attempt to paddle into unbroken waves be sure that you have mastered the following points. These will help you focus on learning quickly. The first goal is to catch hundreds of waves in the white water. Just catching waves and lying down is a good start. The next goal is to be able to lye prone with your back arched and be able to control your board, can you go left, can you go right? The third goal is to be able to catch white water waves by jumping off the sand as the wave rolls toward you and also be able to paddle and catch white water waves without the wave rolling right over you. Both techniques need to be well practiced before attempting to paddle into unbroken waves. Your fourth goal is to be able to stand. Note that many novices think this is the first objective! Focus on catching the wave and controlling your board before even attempting to stand.

The pop up can only happen after you feel the rush of catching the wave. Many beginners try to jump to their feet too early and the wave leaves them behind. The key here is to flow with one fluid movement from your stomach to your feet. Surfing fitness and surfing exercises can help a lot with improving this motion. Any slow or laborious attempts to stand up will often mean losing balance or speed and falling off your board.

A few more pointers to help speed up your learning process is to choose waves that spill over gently from top to bottom, a nice beach break is often the best location. It is also wise to work on your surfing fitness with surfing exercises that improve your paddling power and strength, learning to surf requires a lot of upper body paddling strength and endurance.

Give your self a lot of time in the water to practice paddling into waves and you will soon learn how to judge wave speeds and what techniques work best for you. Timing, speed and power all come into play here, along with being in the right spot. Keep at it, enjoy the learning process and enjoy your time in the white water because the sooner you get out the back the sooner you have to compete with the professionals.
Hayden Rhodes has coached professional and amateur athletes improve their performance through scientific personal training, hormonal testing, nutritional coaching and performance principles.

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