Learn the Basics of Surfing


There are millions of surfers that dot the globe. It's a sport that is fast growing, and people from all walks of life are beginning to take interest. From movie stars, vacationing in Hawaii, to the executive that is fulfilling a life long dream of gliding down an overhead bomb; surfing is a sport that is enjoyed by many. This article will give you the basics of learning how to surf.
Step 1: Get the right equipment
You will need to be dressed appropriately. For guys, board shorts and some sunscreen is about all you need. For the ladies, a bikini that will fit comfortably should do. If you're surfing in colder temperatures, a wet suit may be needed. You should also select the right surf board. For beginners, it's common to learn how to surf on a long board. These range in length from eight to 11 feet. The thickness of the board should be enough so that the board is buoyant enough to keep you afloat.
Step 2: Prepare on the Beach
It's important that you stretch while on the beach before paddling out. If you're surfing for the first time, you will realize that you're using muscles that you may not have used in a while. It's important to stretch your shoulders, back, arms, and legs. Being prepared to paddle out is a lot more important than paddling out. This way you reduce the risk of injury or pulling a muscle while out in the line up. Be sure to survey the ocean so you know what to expect. Look for the direction in which the current is moving. Be sure to know where the channel is and select the right line to follow as you paddle out.
Step 3: Practice your "pop" up and stance
Before paddling out, lay your board on the sand, and give it a few practice runs. Some people will actually trace the outline of their surfboard on the sand and lay on the outline for practice. As you position yourself on the board, be sure that you aren't too far forward OR too far back on the board. You want to be in the sweet spot of the board, with your body along the "spine" of the board. Be sure to keep your knees together so that your board isn't "teetering" from side to side. This may take some getting used to, but keep trying. This is where your core strength comes in.
Practice the take off, by paddling a few times. Just as you're ready to stand up, give 3 paddles with both arms at the same time, then "pop" up, by doing a push up and bringing both feet under your chest. One foot should be in front of the other, about shoulder width apart, and your knees should be bent. Your focus should be on the shore. Most people tend to look down. You don't want to do this. Keep your head up so that your focal point is towards the shoreline, making it easier to maintain your balance. Do this a few times until you feel comfortable with the "pop" up.
Step 4: Paddle Out & Catch a Wave
Now you're ready to get out there and give it a try. While paddling out, be sure to take the line that you chose while surveying the surf from the shore. Paddle with alternating arms, and be sure to keep your shoulders back for strength. As mentioned earlier, you'll notice that you will be using muscles that you haven't used in a while. Don't worry. The burning sensation in your shoulders will go away as you surf more often. Once you're in the line up, position yourself to where you are sitting on the board and can see the sets coming in. Usually, it's best to be sitting at a 90 degree angle to the incoming sets. As a set rolls in, turn toward the shore line and begin paddling. You'll feel the wave pick you up. At that point, give your 3 paddles with both arms and pop up. Enjoy the ride! Repeat the process until you get tired.
Step 5: Choose your instructor
Before you begin surfing, it's important that you choose the right instructor. This should be someone that is experienced with the ocean, and more specifically, the conditions of the spot at which you'll be surfing. Make sure you ask questions before you paddle out, and always let your instructor know when you are uncomfortable with the conditions. A good instructor can make your surfing experience AWESOME!
Be sure to be respectful of those that are in the water, and above all...enjoy the Stoke!

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