Watching a surfer glide across a peeling, green wave at Cox Bay beach, you might think it was effortless. The truth is that the surfer you are watching has probably years of practice. They’ve also probably had a lot of help from others along the way. Here’s why taking a surf lesson is the best way to begin that journey yourself.
The ocean is a wild and dynamic environment. Surf zones in particular contain hazards that are not so obvious at a glance. A surf instructor’s primary responsibility is your safety. We look out for hazards such as rip currents, other surfers, and your own surfboard. Think about it kind of like backcountry skiing: would you go solo into avalanche terrain with a pair of rental skis and zero experience?
“I don’t need a lesson because my friend is a good surfer. They’ll give me a few tips keep an eye on me while they surf”
Unless that friend is a trained instructor, what this often means is that they will give you a 30 second demo on the beach, then they’ll see a good wave far out, get incredibly stoked, and leave you unsupervised while they focus on their own surfing.
Our instructors provide a detailed on-beach briefing that covers safety, equipment, and technique practice. We then follow up with approximately one hour minutes of constantly supervised surf time, helping you to catch waves, cheering you on, and giving you feedback along the way.
The whitewash is where you master the fundamental techniques in order to surf “the green wave”
The best place to start is the shallow section of the beach where the waves have already broken into “whitewash”. That's the churning, bubbling waves that gurgle towards shore in a long line. You can start catching these fun little waves from waist-deep or shallower. This is where your instructor will help you catch as many waves as possible so that you can get a feel for all the basics, such as setting up on your board in the prone position, paddling, catching waves while prone, and popping up to your feet. This is what prepares you for riding that epic peeling wave that you see in the distance.
Build good habits, meet other beginners and have more fun!
Many beginners will grab the rails (the sides of the surfboard) when they go to stand or “pop-up”. This will cause you to wipe-out time and again. Your surf instructor can show you countless little adjustments, like placing your palms flat on the deck of the board, thumbs tucked against the bottom of your ribcage. This is just one among countless other adjustments that you simply wouldn't spot on your own.
To offer a bit of perspective, I have been surfing for 15 + years and I still look for advice from other coaches, because they see what you (or I) don’t.
A surf lesson environment should be friendly and un-intimidating. Whether it’s a private 1-on-1, or a group session, it will show you that it's okay to be bad at something, and that falling is fun. Just remember to cover your head!
You made it!! As a little thank you, we want to offer you a promo code for when you book your next surf lesson with us this summer. Book your 2023 surf lesson using promo code WORTHIT10 and get 10% off.
Blog written by Adam Tory