Top 10 tips for a beginner surfer

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Popping up, dropping in, catching waves; these phrases can make surfing sound easy... but it takes time and patience to learn how to surf. With a bit of enthusiasm and these top ten beginner tips, you'll be riding waves in no time.

With instructors right on the beach from  Wavehunters at the Extreme Academy, it a great time to learn to surf at Watergate Bay.

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Tips For Learner Surfers

1. Always listen to your instructor

All surf instructors are qualified lifeguards. They understand the currents and rip tides better than anyone. During your lesson briefing, you'll learn about general beach information, safe surfing areas, signals and surfing safety. 

2. Keep trying

When you watch the professionals surfing from the shore you will undoubtedly be thinking ‘that looks easy’, but it isn’t! Surfing is a skill with many techniques that take a few years to master so don’t be put off if you aren’t cutting up the waves after ten minutes in the sea. After some practise you'll soon be surfing like a pro.

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3. Don’t go out of your depth

Safety is paramount when surfing; you can never take the sea for granted, its power is truly awesome. It is crucial you don’t go out of your depth. Waist or even thigh height is perfect for a beginner, not only does it mean you are safer but it also means you have the opportunity to catch more waves.

4. Paddle – a lot

Paddling is an essential part of catching a wave, it helps to build momentum so that when the wave hits the back of your board you will be propelled forward and be racing towards the shore line. The best way to paddle is to paddle hard, doing long strokes with cupped hands. The deeper you go into the sea the harder you will need to paddle, another reason not to go out of your depth.

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5. Have the correct trim

This means being positioned in the correct place on the board. On land, your instructor will show you where to lay on the board as you attempt to catch a wave and how best to position your feet when you stand. If you are too far forward you will nose dive, but if you are too far back the board will stall.

6. Cover your head!

It is inevitable that you will fall off the board and perhaps you'll be left a bit bewildered. It's especially important that you cover your head as a beginner since you are in shallower water.

Surf Instruction

7. Stance

Everyone knows the famous surfer stance, but many forget it when they are actually on a surf board. Stand side on, knees slightly bent, arms up with your hands facing the direction you want to travel in, eyes forward.

8. Keep your leash attached

Your leash should be attached to your back leg and always be fastened. It may seem like you are forever getting tangled up in it but you'd rather that than your board float away.

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9. Surf etiquette

There are a few housekeeping rules when it comes to surfing. In general, the biggest rule surrounds coining a wave. It is widely accepted that the person in front of you has ‘shot gun’ of the approaching wave, so try to stagger yourself so that when you catch a wave you won’t be careering towards a poor unsuspecting novice.

10. Smile

Don’t take the lesson too seriously, at the end of the day it's supposed to be fun! You'll laugh, fall off and soldier on! Determination is the key to making waves in surfing – excuse the pun.

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