Learn to surf

Beginner's guide to surfing

explora surf school @majid, @doystra

Learn Surfing: Learn to surf the right way!

Imagine yourself paddling out from the beach. The golden sand. The surf cruising along the surface of the water. The waves crashing and breaking as they exert the power of the ocean upon the grains of the earth. You then find yourself leaving the comfort of the land and out in the open water.

Suddenly a rush of bliss overcomes you as you take the moment for what it’s worth. It’s just you, the surfboard, and the upcoming waves.

Surfing is a sport that brings joy and many challenging moments, making it excellent for someone looking for amazing thrills and a rush of adrenaline. There is something incredible about the ability to harness the raw power of the ocean and the peace and tranquility offered for those unforgettable moments leading up to finding the right wave.

If you are looking to get started with surfing, you have come to the right place. While nothing can match the time in the water and lessons from a qualified instructor, this guide will help give you some important tips to take with you to your first water sessions.

8 Tips for beginners learning to surf

1. Learn the Right Technique before you Begin

There is certainly a right way and a wrong way to learn the basics of surfing. If you are not shown the proper technique before you begin, you could find yourself having a more difficult time progressing in the sport. Learning on land before you surf in the water can make a world of difference.

One of the most important skills for a beginner surfer is to effectively stand up on a board with good form. If you don’t work on the form with an instructor, it will be important to learn it from an experienced surfer. Standing up on your surfboard will come in two steps:

  • The Prone Position
    This is where you lie on your stomach; balanced and centered on your surfboard. This is crucial to master since it will affect all elements of your surfing. While in the prone position, your toes should be nearly touching the tail of the surfboard. If your toes are more than a few inches from the rear, then you are too far forward. If your toes are hanging off the back and not touching the board, then you’re too far back.
  • The Pop-Up
    This is the swift motion of standing up on the surfboard from the prone position. It should be quick and seamless and will come more naturally over time. There are some important considerations when first learning the pop-up.
    • Place your hands flat on the board under your chest, similar to a push-up.
    • Arch your back while pushing up and keep your weight on toes and hands.
    • Look forward during the pop-up and pay attention to what’s in front of you.
    • Bend your knees when you stand up on the surfboard. You will not be able to balance if you keep your feet completely straight.

2. Choose a Good Beach to Learn Surfing

Choosing a beach that is great for beginner surfers is critical to your success in surfing. It will allow you to learn in a proper environment without placing yourself and others in danger. Also, if you find a beach that has steady, long waves, you will have much more fun and progress much quicker with good form. It can be extremely helpful to find a sandy beach that is shallow (as in waist to chest deep) and has minimal obstructions such as corral and rocks. This will allow you to become less fatigued during the learning process and have a safer environment to practice in..

Another important aspect for starting on a beach for beginner surfers is that you will avoid getting in the way of more experienced surfers.

3. Understand Surfer Etiquette

With many sports, it is very important to hold respect for the locals and more experienced surfers. These people might have been in a surf spot all their life and often feel a sense of ownership at a surf location. There is many “unwritten rules” when it comes to surfing but here are some good considerations when getting started.

  • One person per way
    The general rule of thumb for surfing is one surfer per wave. It is considered bad etiquette to paddle past another surfer to catch a wave.
  • Understand the right way
    Knowing who has the right of way on a wave is important to the respect and safety of other surfers. Simply put, the surfer that is closest to the breaking wave has the right of way. If the person closest to the break does not take the wave, then should go the next closest and so-forth.
  • Surf Spots that Suit your Skill
    If you pick a surf spot that is outside your skill level, then you may find yourself stepping on other people’s toes. It can also create a safety hazard when you are trying to catch waves beyond your ability.
  • Apologize if you Make a Mistake
    Mistakes happen all the time to beginners and experienced surfers. It is important that if you accidentally break one of the cardinal rules of surfing, that you apologize and show respect to the other riders.
  • Don’t Trash the Beach
    This goes way beyond surfing and is more about general respect and ethics. Make sure that you leave the beach cleaner than when you found it and do not leave any trash behind.

4. Study the Water and other Surfers

While learning proper technique for surfing is a process on its own, a major part of the learning process is understanding how the waves and ocean work. Before you jump into the water, take some time to stand on the beach and study the waves. Where and how are they breaking?

As a beginner, it is also a good idea to take the time to watch other surfers in the water. See what they are doing, and which waves they are catching. This will help you gain a better understanding of the current beach conditions and will build up your knowledge of wave theory.

5. Learn to Wipe Out.. and be OK with it!

You will wipe out. Many times. Once you get hooked to surfing (and you will), wiping-out is one of those things that will not go away quickly and can continue to happen for years. There are times that you will feel worn down and defeated by the waves, even frustrated, but it is all a part of the sport. While it may happen many times over the course of a lifetime of surfing, you will find yourself learning good technique to wiping out.

A good general rule for wiping out is to protect your face with your hands and get into a fetal position. The minute that you know you are about to fall, jump away from the board and over the wave. Try and jump butt first, almost in a cannonball position, bending your knees to avoid hitting the bottom of a shallow area.

Finally, keep a cool head on your shoulders and stay calm. Do not panic and if you feel a bit shook up, then take the time to head back to the beach to cool off.

6. Warm Up, Stretch, and Exercise

Like with many sports, surfing works many muscle groups and you can easily hurt yourself without a proper warm-up routine before going out into the water. Surfing and paddling in the water require the use of many muscles that do not often get used. Having a warm-up routine can make sure those muscles are targeted before going out for a session and is the best way to avoid pulling a muscle.

Warming up your muscles before a surfing session doesn’t have to be a work-out. It just needs to get the muscles ready for more intense activity. A 5-minute pre-surf workout might be all you need to get you ready for a day of surfing.

7. Ride a Longer Beginner Surfboard

Many beginners want to quickly jump on a more intermediate or advanced surfboard. Don’t be tempted to get the latest and greatest gear that is beyond your skill level. Have a surfboard that fits your skill level will help you develop the fundamental techniques as well as catch more waves, making the learning process enjoyable.

When you begin surfing, you want to use a surfboard with lots of volume and has much more floatation. A good idea is to look for a foamboard or longboard that is wide, thick, and long. We know that as a beginner you want to quickly progress through the sport to hit the larger waves, but a sport like surfing takes time and patience in the learning phase.

8. Do Not be Discouraged with the Time it takes to Learn

There are so many factors when it comes to surfing. Each wave is different, and each beach has distinct qualities and conditions, making this sport one that take a bit of patience and understanding. There are many external elements to consider each time you go out into the ocean including the tides, swells, wind, wildlife, and other people. This makes surfing one of the most complex sports in the world and the ocean can be a dangerous place to play without the proper knowledge and training.

While it may be a difficult sport to master, don’t let the learning process discourage you. Falling time after time again only makes you a better and stronger surfer and the hard work truly pays off with some of the most enjoyable moments.

Learn to Surf in Paradise for Beginners

Finding the right beach to learn surfing can often be a task if you have never been to the location before. While a place may have shallow water and excellent beginner surf to ride in, the beach could potentially be over-crowded. At Explora Water Sports, we have two locations for beginners to learn surfing in a comfortable and safe setting. Enquire today for information on a beginner surfing holiday in Essaouira or Dakhla, Morocco to escape the crowds and learn with instructors that treat you like family.

Do you want to learn how to surf
Do you want to feel the magic of surfing a wave?

Join us in Essaouira and learn how to surf with our expert instructors. We run surf lessons for beginner or more advanced surfers. We can also organise the full package for you, which includes your transfer, accommodation, lessons, rental and surf trips.


Featured Surf Packages

Essaouira, 7 Nights
Dakhla, 7 Nights
Surf Progression Package Essaouira
Essaouira, 7 Nights
Surf Beginner Pack Essaouira
Essaouira, 7 Nights

So are you ready to experiment something new?
Are you ready to join us for your next surf holiday?