The professionals make it look so easy, surfing the waves like they are masters of the sea. However, surfing is not as simple as it can look, and there are quite a few things to learn before you hit the surf. It is all about your center of gravity, keeping your body and your board in tip-top shape, and being aware of your surroundings. If you are still struggling to master your technique, take a lesson to improve your skills or check out our tips and tricks below for improving your surf style. With patience and perseverance, and plenty of practice, you can easily avoid our top 5 common surfing mistakes.
Your Body: Physical fitness is important for surfing, and you will need stamina and endurance to ride the waves with success. It would be a mistake not to keep up with your cardio and before you surf, make sure that you stretch your body and warm up those muscles in preparation. It is also essential that you keep your swimming skills up to par, around 2.38 in every 100,000 surfers in Australia drown.
Your Board: One of the most common mistakes that beginners make is choosing the wrong board. Whilst a smaller board is more lightweight, a bigger board allows for increased stability. Save the smaller boards for later when you have mastered your technique and speed becomes important.
Proper care and maintenance are also essential, and it is recommended that you wax your board regularly. It is also important to remember that different wax is better suited to different climates. Finally, do not drag your board along the beach, this is a sure fire way of spotting a newbie as small rocks could easily cause damage.
The Technique: One of the most common reasons for slipping off your board is poor technique, but start with the basics and practice on dry land before you set off. Keep your pop up focussed, and do not attempt to hold onto the rails as this will result in the board becoming unstable. Keep aligned with your center of gravity, bending low at the hips and try to remember that standing too far back or too far forward can cause your board to flip. Incorrect paddling can also easily result in a wipeout, so practice your paddling technique and get tips from more experienced surfers on how you can improve.
Your Safety: Safety always comes first, but thankfully surfing-related injuries are relatively rare, with only 2.2 injuries per 1000 days, 45% of which are due to the surfer coming into contact with the board. Don’t underestimate the water; learn as much as you can about the different types of waves and the optimum conditions to surf. Also, be aware of any rocks or reefs in your vicinity, as hitting these could result in injury.
The Surf: The water can be unpredictable, but by learning as much as you can, you can reduce the risk of danger. Be aware of your surroundings, always look where you are going and learn how to spot a rip current.
To avoid a total wipeout, don’t look down as this can throw you completely off balance. Timing is everything, and another common mistake is catching the wave right after it breaks. Practice your paddling technique, particularly your burst paddling, to ensure that you are putting enough power behind it.