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Published August 26th 2012
Have you ever thought about learning how to surf?
Surfing is not as easy as it looks. It is worth taking some lessons to give you the basics and hopefully get you up on your feet. Let me share you some of my experiences that I have got when I first joined a surfing school in Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast, Australia.
On the first day of my two-day surf tour I was picked up at the Ticket street. Then they took me and my fellow surf tour participants down the Surfers Paradise Beach for two days of surfing and fun.
On the first day I had two surfing sessions - one before lunch and one after. The lessons are very thorough and my instructors (Surfing Coaches) took me step-by-step through everything I need to know to get me in the water and surfing.
There are three main methods to use when you paddle your board in the water:
Arm paddling – this mainly involves your arms. You need to position your body towards the nose of the board, keep your feet together and paddle with your arms using a freestyle swimming action (alternating your arms).
Kick paddling – this mainly involves your legs. You need to slide your body to the back of the board so your legs are free to kick.
Combination arm and kick paddling – this involves using both methods, which will help you to move more quickly.
Although surfing tends to be a fairly free sport and a mostly recreational activity, there are certain rules based on common sense that are important to consider:
If someone is already riding a wave, don't try to paddle around them. The person closest to the breaking wave has right of way.
Respect other riders' right of way.
Share the surf and don't steal other riders' waves.
Remember that surf board riders cannot surf in between the flags on a patrolled beach.
Don't take it out on other people if you're having a bad day. Respect other people, their gear and their belongings. This applies not only in the water but on the shore and in the car park.
Always apologies and make sure that everyone is okay if you make a mistake and cause a collision.
Learning to read the ocean
The ocean environment is a relaxing place, but it can also be dangerous. You need to be able to identify the safe and dangerous spots. People getting caught in rips are the cause of most surf rescues. A rip is a strong current running out to sea. You need to know how to identify and avoid them. Where there is a rip you will see:
Darker colours in the ocean (indicating deep water)
Murky brownish water caused by sand being stirred from the bottom of the ocean
Smoother surface with much smaller waves, alongside white water
Waves breaking further out to sea on both sides of a rip
Debris floating out to sea.
Here are some tips to follow before you hit the waves:
Check the beach and make sure you are not alone – take a friend.
Look for any restrictions on the beach and follow them.
If you are a beginner, stick to beach breaks with a sandy beach.
Make sure the top of your board is waxed up or has some form of grip and check your leg rope is in good condition.
Wear a leg rope tied to your surfboard if you are a beginner.
Wear sunscreen; even on cloudy days.
Wear what makes you comfortable, everyone has different tolerances for cold water. If you would like some protection from the cold, wear a wetsuit, steamer, booties, gloves or head gear.
Watch the area before you go in to see the best place to paddle out. Watch other people to see how they are getting on out in the surf.
Warm up before entering the water.