Once you have decided that you would like to go surfing, it is not just a matter of buying the equipment and then heading off down to the sea. There will have to be a number of lessons beforehand or else your surfing experience will be nothing more than falling of a board. If you put your mind to it, you should have the basics in a few days and then the improvements will come with practice and experience.
Some of the things that may seem to be the easiest will be the things that take the most time to learn. Standing up and the positioning of the feet are going to be two of the most complex lessons to learn, but once they have been mastered there will not be much else that will take a lot of time or keep you out of the water for long. While there is nothing like learning from a great surfer, there is a lot to be learned from books and videos.
You won't learn everything that way, but you will be amazed by how much you have remembered when you are putting your learning into practice. Equipment will help and when starting out it will be best to have a surfboard that is long and wide. It will be more stable and help to keep you afloat for longer. Common sense also comes into it and you should not surf on your own just in case you get into difficulties.
It will also help your confidence if you start off by visiting a beginners' beach and don't try to catch the big waves right away, but get used to the small ones first. Once you are on the beach, don't just rush into the sea, but watch the waves for a while, and make sure that you have warmed up first. You want to be fully flexible and know that your muscles are ready for the challenge.
While you should not surf alone, you also need to keep a good distance from other beginners. None of you need to feel crowded while you are learning. For extra safety don't forget the surf leash. It will help with balance if you practice sitting and then lying on the surfboard. If you can keep the water away from your legs that will help and you can begin to paddle. Once you are ready to stand just stand quickly and as soon as you feel the wave behind you.
To prevent injury, bend your knees as this way any shocks will be absorbed. If it goes wrong and you need to get off the board, make sure that you jump away from it. Also cover your head so that it does not hit you as you will no longer have control of it. This is not a failure as most surfers will come off the board from time to time. As a final safety consideration, stop once you start to feel tired as it will be easy to lose concentration, and you should lie on the board and paddle back to the beach.