Apr 25th, 2016
Category: Learn to surf
Learn to surf is an unforgettable experience, especially when you are guided by professionals who learn you the right technique and give you constant feedback in the water.
We from Protest Surfcenter want you to learn to surf in a safe, fun, easy and fast way but with the correct techniques that you will need during all your surfing career. This is why we are blogging this time with basic information about surfing for those of you who are already more advanced, still learning the basics, or even complete beginners. Today we will talk about the 5 most common mistakes, we all made while learn to surf, and how you can avoid them.
1. LOOKING DOWN ON YOUR BOARD
The most common mistake of beginners is to look down on your board while you try to get up to your feet. Doing so you will loose your balance, which is what it’s all about in surfing. It’s important to look ahead first (so you don’t hit somebody) and then to check the wall of the wave (to decide which direction you want to go). Once you’ve figured out where to go start looking at where you want to go next and how you can surf that wave. Little by little you will learn how to read the wave good and make some good surfing lines on it’s wall.
2. NOT PADDLING EARLY ENOUGH
Most of the beginning surfers are just waiting until the wave arrives and only start paddling when it hits them. In surfing it is really important to anticipate what the wave will do and start your paddling from the moment you see it. Like that you can still get closer to the breaking point where you can catch it easier and already start your forward movement towards the beach. When the wave then reaches the tail of your board you will already be on speed and if you then boost your paddling a few strong strokes you will be up and riding in no time. The better you learn how to position yourself and to anticipate, the less you will need strength and power to catch a wave.
3. WRONG POSITIONING ON THE BOARD
A very common mistake is shifting your bodyweight too much to the back of your board, which will make your nose go up and generate a lot of drag in the water which prevents you from getting speed and catching the wave), or too much to the front of your board which will make your nose plunge with you flying over it. Because the latter is a bit more scary most beginners tend to go for safety and shift their weight to the back. This is a wrong reflex though, because the perfect point is that which will just not let you flip over. You can play with your balance on the board lifting or pushing down you chest, and lifting or pressing down on your knees. Both work together, so lift up your chest and press down your knees if you want to shift your weight to the back (if the wave is hollower or stronger than you thought), and push your chest down and lift the weight in your knees to shift your weight to the front (chin to the board and paddle hard and you will catch unbroken waves faster than you ever did!). With the right positioning on the board your paddling will be faster and you will catch a lot more waves!
4. WAVING ARMS
When you finally get to your feet and start surfing the wave, don’t start swinging your arms in all directions, it actually makes you lose your balance faster! Try to keep your arms steady, with the back arm keeping your balance and the front arm guiding the way. Always keep your arms below your shoulders and flex your knees to lower your center of gravity, this will help a lot more than desperately swinging your arms. Practise your standard position outside the water to get conscious about it. At the Protest Surfcenter we have a surf simulator that will help you find your balance without getting wet, but like always the best way to learn is to practice with good tips of our instructors!
5. LOWERING THE CHEST TOWARDS YOUR BOARD (BUTT IN THE AIR)
When we say to our students to keep their centre of gravity low, many lower their chest towards their board and push the butt up and backwards while keeping straight legs. This is NOT what we mean, it actually makes you fall forward rather than keeping your balance. You have to lower your gravity bending the knees, but while keeping your upper body straight and with your arms steady in the right position. Imagine there are 2 walls coming up from the rails of your board, with a low roof on top of it. The mission is now to always keep inside of this box while surfing. You will keep your balance a lot easier and this position is also the starting point for all future tricks in your surfing.
There are many mistakes that can be made, especially when you try to learn to surf on your own. Because it is harder to correct afterwards, best is to learn to surf the right technique from the start by taking lessons in a good surf school. At the Protest Surfcenter we work with a step by step coaching program where everybody learns at their own rhythm. As soon as you start to progress we have the option to push your surfing even more with the help of video correction, one of the best ways to correct your mistakes! Once you see what you are doing wrong and we tell you how to avoid these mistakes you just have to go back to the water and practice, practice, practice… Learning the correct techniques you will boost your surfing even faster!
But don’t forget that the most important is to enjoy yourself while learning!
We are looking forward to welcoming you in our Protest Surfcenter in Fuerteventura, to help you progress in your surfing and enjoy our little paradise! Good waves for all!
The Protest Surfcenter Team