Learning to surf can be exciting and scary. Surfing requires knowing the proper techniques and selecting the right equipment for a successful ride. If you're just starting out, the tips below can help you stay upright on your board a little longer. For your own safety, surf with someone more experienced who can help you while you're learning the ropes.

Get Advice When Choosing a Board

Choosing a board is the first step to successfully learning to surf. There are two suitable types of boards that are best for beginning surfing. Foam boards can usually be rented at most surf beaches. They are the most forgiving of the different types of surfboards; however, their basic design makes it difficult for progressing surfers to continue learning. Pop-out boards are more suited for beginners and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. When you shop for a board, seek the advice of surfing experts and people who work in the industry.

Buy the Right Wax for the Water's Temperature

Waxing your board is important because it helps you stay on your surfboard. Aside from the base coat wax, surf waxes come in four varieties: tropical, warm, cool, and cold. As the name implies, you apply base coat wax as your first layer before applying the water temperature wax. Tropical wax should be used in water temperatures higher than 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm wax is best when you're surfing in waters between 68 and 75 F. Use cool wax when the water temperature is between 60 and 68 F. Cold wax should be used in temperatures between 50 and 60 F.

Use Correct Body Position When Paddling to Waves

It's difficult for many beginners to find the right body positioning when paddling. You want to position yourself on the middle of the board. The ideal position for the nose is a few inches out of the water, according to surfing experts. Once you find the right position on the board, arch your back so that your weight is on the bottom of your rib cage.
When paddling, be sure to fully submerge your arm in the water and make a small "S" when paddling. Avoid having both arms out of the water at the same time, as it can reduce your speed. Paddling out the first time may expend a lot of energy; don't paddle too fast or you'll be tired once you reach the wave.

Master Whitewater Waves Before Progressing to Deeper Water

As a beginner, you'll start surfing in the whitewater. The whitewater is the shallow water closest to the beach. These waves are more forgiving than waves in the outside, past the breaking waves. In the whitewater you'll learn how to get up on your board with proper balance so you can ride the waves. These whitewater waves push your board across the water, giving you more time to get on your feet and properly situated on your board. Once you master riding the whitewater waves, you can start to move into deeper water with more challenging waves.

Keep Your Weight Centered on the Middle of the Board

As with paddling, finding the right body position for balancing on your board will help you stay upright when surfing. It is especially important to keep your upper body centered. If you are too far back on your surfboard, the front of your board will tilt up and you'll push against the water. Being too close to the front of the board will cause the nose to sink. When standing, your legs should be shoulder-width apart with your hips centered directly above your feet. You can then shift your body weight by applying more weight to either your right or left foot.

Always Stand Sideways When Surfing

Standing sideways helps the surfboard stay flat while you surf. Surfing with your right foot at the back of your board is called regular foot. If you surf with your left foot at the back of the board, it's called goofy foot. Neither way is right; however, you'll know which foot is your preferred one once you start surfing. If you snowboard or skateboard, use the same stance on your surfboard.
If you're just learning to surf, knowing a few quick tips can help you avoid some beginner mistakes. Seek out the advice of veteran surfers and surf shops when selecting your surfing equipment. Also, don't try to do too much too soon. Stay in the shallower water when first starting out, master the proper techniques, and then venture out to deeper waters. With dedication and practice, you'll be riding the big waves before you know it.