LEARN TO SURF AT 50

learning to surf at an older age

 LEARN TO SURF AT THE AGE OF 50?

If you are over 50 and considering learning to surf, you might be concerned that you’re too late to the game.

The fact that you will struggle to master the necessary skills, that you will appear foolish, and that all of the other younger, fitter surfers would laugh at your inexperience and slowness and ignore you, are all reasonable concerns.

This, however, is not the case.

surfing green waves

LEARNING TO SURF AT AN ‘OLDER’ AGE

Is it possible to learn to surf at the age of 50? Or Older?
Yes, as long as you have a reasonable level of physical fitness and flexibility. Learning to surf is primarily a matter of persistence, so if you’re ready to keep trying, you can learn to surf at that age.

Consider signing up for a beginner’s surf lesson, getting in shape, improving your swimming skills, selecting the perfect surfboard, and avoiding comparing yourself to others if you’re over 50 and want to learn to surf. You’ll be out there enjoying those waves before you know it!

Surfing has no age restrictions, and it’s never too late to start (even if you’re past 50!)

SURFING IS  A GREAT WAY TO:

  • Keep in shape,
  • Improve your mood,
  • Push yourself,
  • Feel younger for longer.
  • Meet new people

This comprehensive guide will help you learn to surf at 50. It has been compiled to answer your questions and provide support along the process. I’ll go over some of the advantages of this enjoyable outdoor activity and provide a step-by-step tutorial to get you started.

Tips on how to learn to surf aged  50 years or older.

learn to surf at 50

1. WORK ON YOUR FITNESS

Surfing is physically hard at any age, but especially so as you become older.

You’ll need to use your entire body to manage your weight as you paddle out, pop up on your board, and ride those waves. You’ll also be out for extended periods, so you’ll need plenty of stamina to be safe.

As a result, you should begin by increasing your physical activity and improving your fitness. The more physically fit you are, the easier it will be to learn to surf.

To be clear, you don’t need to be in marathon shape when you’re initially learning, but every little bit helps. Here are some suggestions:

Improve your cardiovascular fitness. Take long walks, begin running, ride your bike, or even run around with your children.

Put a premium on functional strength. If you want to keep control, you’ll need good core strength and good arm power for paddling.

Keep in mind to stretch. Stretching, flexibility, and balance should be part of your daily routine to avoid injury and improve your surfing skills.

Most of these surfing workouts may be done from the convenience of your own home. Simply go to YouTube, and you’ll find a plethora of online workouts that will help you get in shape quickly.
Read this article on surf fitness to get started.

2. TAKE SURF LESSON

While you can certainly teach yourself to surf, it’s so much easier and progress a lot quicker when you use the help of a local surf school or surf camp.

For beginners aged 50 and up, these can be invaluable because they give you confidence in your developing talents while also assisting you in improving your technique. You’ll also learn the proper surf ethics and gain a deeper understanding of the water.

SURFING AT AN OLDER AGE

3. IMPROVE YOUR SWIMMING ABILITIES.

If you don’t know how to swim, turn off your computer right now and enrol in some swimming classes. Seriously! If you’re not a great swimmer, there’s no way you’ll be able to stay safe in the ocean.

It is essential to keep in mind that the water is a massive force.

Because waves and currents can be powerful, and sea conditions can change in the blink of an eye, putting you in danger, knowing how to swim is essential. You must be capable enough to look after yourself and get to safety.

Because you’ll be starting in relatively shallow water, you don’t need to be a particularly great swimmer to begin. It is, nevertheless, necessary if you wish to proceed beyond the beginning stage.

Swimming in the ocean as much as possible will help you become a better swimmer. This will provide more authentic conditions than simply going to your local pool, and it will give you more confidence in ‘wild swimming.’

learn to surf at an older age

4. SELECT THE APPROPRIATE BOARD FOR LEARNING TO SURF

When you first begin, make sure you select the appropriate surfboard for a beginner like yourself.

Look for longer, thicker, and wider boards because they provide the most stability and make learning easier. Surfing beyond 450 is best learned on larger boards like 9 feet + beginner soft top surfboards. More info on beginner surfboards is detailed in this article. 

Avoid smaller boards as much as possible; they are more difficult to manage and can lower your confidence when you first begin. Your local surf shop can assist you in determining the suitable size and shape of a surfboard for your needs and abilities.

5. DON’T MAKE COMPARISONS TO OTHER PEOPLE

I know it is easy to say so rather than act, but you must avoid comparing your surfing abilities to others.

So, what if you’re in a group surf session and someone in your class can show there in 5 minutes, but you’re still having trouble an hour later? Maybe he or she has already learned to surf and is just brushing up on their skills. Perhaps they’re naturally sporty, whereas you’ve spent the last few years lazing on the couch.

Everyone is on their own individual path.

If you want to feel proud of yourself instead of comparing yourself to others, remember that you came up and took the risk of learning to surf at a time when many others would not.

Concentrate on your own game, be proud of your drive and dedication, and work hard to reap the rewards.

If you haven’t already, take benefit of the opportunity to learn to surf. You’ll notice a variety of mental and physical health benefits as soon as you begin.

What are the advantages of learning to surf at the age of 50+?

Learning to surf will change your life for the better, especially if you are over 50 years old. Check out below a few of the reasons behind this:

1. Surfing is a terrific way to stay in shape while having a good time and no more sweating it out for hours on machines in a dark, dingy gym! You’ll be outside, feeling the rush, inhaling in the fresh air while also getting in shape. Awesome.

2. Surfing is a fantastic cardio workout. All of that paddling, popping up, and riding will get your blood pumping, your heart pumping, and your body in terrific form.

surfing holiday

3. Surfing is a fantastic chance to meet new people. When you’re over 50, it’s more difficult to expand your social group. On the other hand, Surfing makes you part of a close-knit group that will keep an eye on you and is there for you when you need it.

4. Surfing aids in the prevention of aches and pains. You will become stronger overall, your joints will become less achy, and you will become more flexible if you engage in regular exercise such as surfing. If you have to sit at your desk all day or have been groaning as you stand up recently, this is the perfect remedy!

5. Surfing is excellent for improving your coordination. When you learn to surf, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your motor skills. If you participate in other sports, this will pay off handsomely and help you age more gracefully.

6. Surfing is a fantastic way to improve your mood. All of that natural daylight exposure, fresh air, exercise, and community spirit will get your endorphins flowing, raise your mood, and, according to some studies, may even help to alleviate your depression and stress.

Don’t let your age stop you from learning to surf. The average age of clients at Swell on a learn to surf holiday is 38. This means we get plenty of people in their 50’s and 60’s that join us.

Want an example:

Clare, one of the owners of Swell Surf Camp was never very interested in learning to surf, then at 52 decided it was time to get in the water and learn surfing. Now she goes for a surf with her surf friends whenever she has a chance. This is Clare 3 years after  her first surf sessions, aged 56 (see the smile on her face)

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for surf lessons at your local surf beach, or join us in the warm and mellow waves of the Dominican Republic for a life-changing surf holiday

ABOUT SWELL

Teaching people the sport of surfing in a safe, quick and fun way is what we specialise in at Swell Surf Camp. We have taught 1000’s people the basics of surfing.

BOUTIQUE SURF HOLIDAYS IN THE CARIBEAN

Swell offers full surf packages holidays

Interested in changing your life to see the health benefits of learning to surf?

 

dr learn to surf holiday

Send us a message today and we’ll get you up and riding!

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CATCHING UNBROKEN WAVES: POSITIONING IN SURFING

surfing unbroken waves

CATCHING UNBROKEN WAVES:

POSITIONING IN SURFING

Learn how to discover, catch, and stay on unbroken “green” waves by positioning yourself correctly in the line-up.

surfing green waves

CATCH MORE WAVES BY SITTING IN THE RIGHT SPOT!

This article will provide you with a basic understanding of better position yourself to catch green waves. It covers the fundamentals of paddling into an unbroken wave and “sticking” on these “green waves” without nose-diving, passing over the wave, or becoming caught on top of it.

Keep in mind that this is one of the most difficult skills to master as a beginner surfer. Nothing can ever take the place of practice. The longer time you spend in the water and the more waves you attempt to catch, the better.

The theory presented in this article will supplement your practice and, in most cases, will speed up your progress and save you a lot of time and frustration.

CATCHING UNBROKEN WAVES

Positioning & where to sit

How to locate and position yourself to catch a long green wave:
1. Recognize the various stages of a wave

stages of surfing waves

PHASE 1:  SWELL LINES
It is only a bump in the road. At this point, catching this wave is impossible. This lump is merely a forewarning that a wave is on its way.

PHASE 2: UNBROKEN WAVE
This is the place to look for a “green wave.” This waveform is great for paddling because it is unbroken and has the right strength and steepness. You can’t catch at phase 1  because it isn’t steep enough, and phase 3 is too vertical for you to take off. ( better surfers with shortboards can take off here)

PHASE 3: BREAKING WAVE
The peak of the wave has arrived. On the flat water, the lip is already beginning to crash down. The wave is too big and steep to catch at this point, especially for inexperienced surfers.

PHASE 4: WHITE WATER
The wave has broken and has turned into a whitewater wave.

Real-world example of the different phases of waves

where to surf

 

Prepare for a Green Wave by putting yourself in the right place.

Sit around 4 to 5 meters (15 feet) away from the majority of the waves.

Why?

The reason for this is that if you are waiting at a specific location where a large number of waves are breaking, the moment you turn around and paddle for a wave, you will either be catching a white water wave that has already broken, or you will be getting the wave crashing on top of you.

take off surfing

 

 

A good spot to take off, not too mellow / not too steep.

What is the status of the more experienced surfers? They probably know more about where to sit in line than you do.

This does not imply that you should sit next to them and wait for their waves. It’s merely a guide to help you figure out how far out you should paddle.
Where to sit is also variable on a couple of different aspects:

  • The paddle fitness of the surf (how fast can he/she paddle)
  • What kind of board the surfer is riding (longboards can catch ‘flatter’ waves more easily than shortboards.

Beginner surfers are frequently found sitting much further out from the wave than more experienced surfers. This doesn’t make much sense; either the waves aren’t breaking as far out that day, or they aren’t breaking at all.

In other words, if you see waves breaking a long distance away from where the expert surfers are sitting, this indicates that it is an “unusual” and larger set of waves (which you most likely do not want to catch as a beginner surfer!).

Look for lumps on the horizon. A “phase 1” wave that will transition into a “phase  2” wave roughly 3 to 5 meters behind you is what you’re searching for.
Choose a wave, turn around, and paddle for at least 8 hard strokes. You should paddle hard enough to keep up with the wave’s pace as it transitions from “Phase 1” to “phase 2.”

ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR CATCHING MORE WAVES IN SURFING

KEEP LOOKING
When paddling for a wave, look behind your shoulder. Taking a couple of glances behind you is the only way to determine whether you need to paddle more, paddle less, or even stop paddling for a short period, depending on the shape of the wave.

It also prevents you from “dropping in” on individuals (for further information on what this means, see “Surf Ethics”). If you glance behind you, you’ll be able to tell if the wave was too steep (phase 3), too weak (phase 1), or just right (phase 2), and hence why you failed or succeeded in catching an unbroken wave.

Many inexperienced surfers fail to look back at the wave and end up paddling incorrectly. They either get smashed by the wave or catch a white water wave. Without looking back and understanding what happened, you will never be able to learn from your mistakes.

surfing unbroken waves

A BIGGER BOARD MAKES A DIFFERENCE!
It will be easier to catch unbroken waves if you have a larger board.

PADDLE SPEED
Paddling fast enough to match the speed of a wave is the key to catching “green waves.” You will spring up and surf faster if you can “capture the momentum” of the wave. Green waves are easier to catch on big boards than on small boards because they paddle faster.

Because they move around a lot, better surfers catch more waves. If you notice a lump in the horizon, consider whether it is a larger wave that will break further out to sea or a smaller wave that will break closer to shore.

It will get easier to paddle around and position yourself to catch unbroken waves the more experience you gain in reading waves. The more proactive you are, the more likely you will be to catch waves. See “How to Read Waves” for additional information on wave reading.

Catch and “Stick” on a wave that isn’t broken.
White water waves differ from unbroken waves in the following ways:

The force of a whitewater wave pushes you forward. You might catch whitewater waves during your first sessions when you first start surfing. Because the momentum of the broken white water wave drives you forward, white water waves are very easy to catch.

Most whitewater waves may be caught without even paddling.

surfing green waves

Gravity is the force that creates an unbroken “Green” water wave. The first thing you need to know about catching and “sticking” on green waves is that the white water does not “push” you ahead. Gravity is the force that allows you to enter the wave. You must imagine yourself paddling down a moving “slope.”

How to “stick” to the unbroken wave without getting swept away?
Long, forceful, and deep strokes should be used when paddling. This is especially critical when catching waves that aren’t broken.

When paddling, you must give everything you have, especially when you feel your surfboard’s tail rise: this is a crucial moment to “Stick” on it.

The way you stand on your surfboard is crucial. As we saw in the How to Paddle on a surfboard article, excellent paddling technique is achieved through precise paddle strokes and optimal body placement on the surfboard.

When your chest is exactly centred on the width of the surfboard, and you are at the correct height, you are in the correct position on the surfboard. Place your body high enough on the board so that the nose is about 3-6 centimetres (1-2 inches) out of the water while keeping your head up (imagining a soccer ball between your chin and the surfboard).

surfing unbroken waves

Your head and upper shoulders are likely to weigh 45 pounds (20 kilograms) or more! Consider how much of a difference it makes when you drop your head and bring it closer to the surfboard when you’re pulled up on a wave. This allows you to catch, stick, and descend the “slope” that is moving forward.

Many kids become accustomed to being pushed into unbroken waves by their trainers, which is beneficial for practice. When you’re pushed, however, you don’t have to lower your head to put weight on the front of your surfboard. If you’re disappointed because it’s difficult to catch green waves without the help of a surf coach, remember that shifting your weight towards the surfboard is the key to catching unbroken waves on your own.

It would help if you popped up at around 2/3 of the height of the wave. Once you feel your tail lift and you believe you have gained enough speed to continue gliding with the wave, give two final paddle strokes, place your hands on the board beside your pectoral muscles, curve your back, and jump!

VIDEO OF CATCHING UNBROKEN WAVES

ABOUT SWELL

Teaching people the sport of surfing in a safe, quick and fun way is what we specialise in at Swell Surf Camp. We have taught 1000’s of people the basics of surfing.

BOUTIQUE SURF RETREAT HOLIDAYS

The Caribbean: On the North Coast of the Dominican Republic

surf hotel

In Indonesia: Bali is where you will find Swell Bali Surf Retreat.

swell bali Surf Retreat

Swell offers full surf packages holidays

Interested in changing your life to see the health benefits of learning to surf?

 

dr learn to surf holiday

Send us a message today and we’ll get you up and riding!

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GETTING FIT FOR A SURF HOLIDAY

surfing retreat

GETTING FIT FOR A SURF HOLIDAY

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SURF HOLIDAY

learn surfing older age

SURF FITNESS


Surfing is an incredibly demanding sport for both body and mind. Not only are you pushing yourself physically, but you have to concentrate and focus on reading the ocean at all times to catch the best waves. That’s why being in the know about surf-specific fitness can make all the difference between getting out the back nice and easy, or getting a big set on your head, rag-dolling all the way back to shore. With this surf blog, we hope to give you the tips that bring you that little bit closer to being physically fit to ace your next surf session.

SURF FITNESS GUIDE


This guide is aimed towards beginner surfers, weekend warriors and those whose sessions are few and far between. When learning to surf, the first few times when you come out of the water after a surf, you might not even be able to get your suit off because your arms are jelly from all the paddling. Sheer exhaustion, we’ve all been there!

If you’re planning a surf holiday or surf camp stay this summer, this article gives you the tools to physically prepare for it. We’ll talk about the main muscles used in the different actions and movements of surfing and explain how to train and stretch them for better surfing performance.

Fitness The Basics: Paddle, Pop-Up, Body Position

There are three main stages in the process of catching a wave. First is the paddle, an explosive movement with the arms. Next is the pop-up, using the upper body to lift ourselves enough to bring the legs into our stance position. And finally, once we are on the wave we use our legs, core and upper body to stabilise and create momentum on the wave-face (pumping) and to perform maneuvers.
 
Which Muscles Do We Use When Surfing?

It’s pretty safe to say that you use most of the muscles in your body when you surf, some more than others and some in different ways. The main muscle group we use when paddling is the upper back ones. This provides us with the power needed to accelerate up to a similar speed of the wave itself. It is usually only a few strokes on each arm before popping up. In other words, it is a strength and power move, which we can train to its fullest potential. Our shoulders are also used in the rotary motion of the move but generally only start to burn after a long paddle out, so endurance is the main factor for this set of muscles. The triceps get a good workout with duck diving and with the pop-up, as do the chest muscles. Again, the pop up is an explosive move so we can train our muscles to perform this more effectively. And finally, when we’re up and riding on the wave face, we use the core (in all planes) and legs for stabilisation and movement. 

Training for surf fitness
Training to go on holiday… Really? Every season, we hear a few guests say something like: “I wish I came on this trip in better shape.”

The amount of preparation you want to do is up to you and depends on your current fitness level and your objectives for the surf retreat. We often have guests that really look forward to either progress their technique or surf 3 or 4 hours every day since they don’t have access to quality waves back home. Here are a few tips if you feel your fitness level could limit you on your next trip.

Surfing &/or Swimming
The best way to be physically ready for a surf trip is… to surf! Even though you run, ride a bike, go to the gym weekly, etc. You might not be training your body in the most effective way to prepare for a surf trip. A significant part of surfing is paddling. Even if the waves at home aren’t great, just getting out there for a paddle will train the muscles needed for paddling. Don’t have waves at home? See the paragraph below on swimming.

If you can’t surf at home, the second-best option is to go swimming at your local pool. In the last 4 to 6 weeks before your surf trip, try swimming at least twice per week. Don’t worry about your swimming speed. Try to find your rhythm and do laps for a total of 20 minutes or more if you can (stop between laps when needed). Very important: use the “freestyle” technique (also known as the “front crawl”).

Stretching &/or Yoga
Mobility is essential for surfing, for both performance and to limit the risk of injuries. Stretching poses that focus on your back, shoulders, arms, hamstrings and hips are often the most recommended. Guests over 40 often struggle with their pop-ups if their hips are too tight. Core strength is key for surfing and yoga can be a great way to build it, although it is not always for everyone.

The more you feel that you can move freely, the better. Especially for your hips (for pop-ups) and shoulders (for paddling).

Training & Cardio
Sit-ups, squats, burpees, push-ups… Those are basic exercises that will build core, shoulder, arm and leg strength and endurance. Training these muscles will help you catch more waves and surf for longer sessions. Every guest has their own fitness level and body type. You or a fitness coach that knows you personally will know what exercises you need to focus on most, how many sets, reps and rest suit you, etc. For cardio, you could consider going for a run or a bike ride.

According to the HHS, adults should aim to get 150 minutes to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity a week. If you do not reach these targets, it would be a good idea to try to start training at least 4 weeks before your trip. The more significant improvement in strength or endurance you are looking for, the more time you will need (sometimes 12 weeks or more are preferable).

More ideas for training on our Magazine:

Nutrition
Eating healthy is obviously important and complementary to exercising if you either want to feel energized, lose fat or build muscle before your trip.

It’s about finding balance…
Surfing is a sport that requires both a good amount of strength and mobility. For example when you paddle hard to catch a wave or when you push up to pop up, you need shoulder and arm strength. You also need fluidity to be able to slide your legs under your chest during pop up, when you twist your body during carves, etc. It’s a good idea to aim for balance. If, for example, you go to the gym often and feel that you are quite strong but not very flexible, focus on mobility exercises. If you think you are already quite flexible, focus on strength conditioning.

ABOUT SWELL


Teaching people the sport of surfing in a safe, quick and fun way is what we specialise in at Swell Surf Camp. We have taught 1000’s of people the basics of surfing.

Age? Well the average age of a Swell client is 39

Swell offer 2 exciting places for learn to surf holidays:

The Caribbean: On the North coast of the Dominican Republic

surf hotel

In Indonesia: Bali is where you will find Swell Bali Surf Retreat.

swell bali Surf Retreat

Swell offers full surf packages holidays

Interested in changing your life to see the health benefits of learning to surf?

learn to surf holiday

Send us a message today and we’ll get you up and riding…regardless of your age!

Our luxury surf coaching holidays have taught 1000’s of people the sport of surfing in a safe, fun and quick way.

If you like this article about learning to surf after 40 you might also like the following articles.

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LEARNING TO SURF AFTER 40

Learning to surf after 40

LEARNING TO SURF AFTER 40

IS IT EVER TOO LATE TO START SURFING?

The title of this post reads ‘learning to surf after 40’ but could easily read ‘learning to surfer after 50, 60 and upward’

learn surfing older age

LEARNING TO SURF AT AN ‘OLDER’ AGE

‘Surfing? But you’re 42 years old’ – even if nobody actually says this, it’s something that plagues the mind when looking at activities synonymous with a younger crowd. If you think surfing is only suitable for young, athletic types, think again because plenty of people start in their 30s, 40s, and even beyond.

For us, we completely agree and believe you should be able to start surfing at any age if it’s what you really want to do. Who cares about the number tied to your name? If you feel as though you can do it, why not give it a go? Even if you aren’t quite as flexible as you were many years ago, this shouldn’t ever stop you from enjoying the ocean and reaping the many health benefits surfing can bring.

Today, we want to provide anyone interested with an introduction to surfing and why you can start at any age. As a sport with no physical contact, unlike football and rugby, it’s actually suited towards those who want to prevent impact injuries. What’s more, you can enjoy plenty of health benefits while getting to know new people. Even after this, there’s something to be said for surfing’s impact on the brain. With surfing, you’ll be physically active and your mind will also get a workout as you try to navigate the waves that seem determined to knock you over.

LEARNING TO SURF AFTER 40

Of course, we wouldn’t be talking about surfing at all if it wasn’t fun and this is something else to consider. Sure, you might get knocked over once or twice but it’s all in the name of fun (right?).

PHYSICAL BENEFITS OF SURFING IN YOUR 40S, 50S, AND OLDER

Ever woken up on a Sunday morning and tried to find things to do to avoid the gym? Even the washing and ironing are better options for some. If so, you aren’t alone because continually doing the same things in the gym can get rather boring. Thankfully, surfing still offers a cardiovascular workout but every single session will be a thrill and it’ll be different to the last. Also, you’ll get a sense of achievement as your skill increases.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the physical benefits of surfing;


SHOULDER/BACK STRENGTH

We’re going to start with one that perhaps isn’t so obvious, and it’s the improvement you’ll see to your back and shoulder strength. If you ask several retirees the most annoying thing about getting older, many will tell you about their back and shoulder problems. Unfortunately, this can have a huge impact on even everyday tasks such as putting the washing out on the line or trying to sit comfortably to read a book.

As you learn to surfer after 40, your arms will always be in use as you attempt to balance, paddle, and the inevitable climbing back onto the board (unless you’re an instant pro!). Even when sitting or lying on the board, you’ll be rotating your arms and the shoulder joint will get a good workout. As your arms go through their full range of motion, this is great news for the shoulders, elbows, and even the spine.

For many, they enjoy increased mobility in their upper body and it generally fights off the stiffness that comes with age. Let’s face it, we’ve all made those grunting noises while attempting to stand up after a long time sitting (we won’t tell anyone!).

CARDIO WORKOUT

Not only is heart disease the leading cause of death in the UK, according to the government website, it causes nearly twice as many deaths as dementia; dementia is the second leading cause of death. While deaths from heart disease and stroke have certainly decreased in recent years, it’s still too high for our liking and surfing is the perfect opportunity to stay active and reduce your chances of struggling with this health issue. Regardless of which form of surfing you choose (duck diving, paddling, or standing), you’ll be moving constantly and this level of activity can only be beneficial for your health.

As your heart rate increases and the different muscles receive blood and oxygen, your cardiovascular system welcomes the activity and this offers various benefits in everyday life. For example, you won’t have any trouble breathing and strenuous activity becomes much easier. Suddenly, you’ll have the energy to take the stairs at work rather than the lift (unless you’re on the 33rd floor, of course!).

INCREASED FLEXIBILITY THROUGH SURFING

Before we move onto the psychological benefits of surfing, we want to talk about flexibility because certain parts of your body will always be stretching and twisting while on the board. Suddenly, muscles and joints you didn’t even know existed will be activated and we mustn’t forget the range of motion your joints will experience as the sheer power of the waves hit the board. With all this stretching, it’ll be like a more dramatic form of yoga and you should experience fewer aches and pains in life.


Benefits of surfing

CORE AND LEG STRENGHT IMPROVEMENT FROM SURFING

Something that often goes forgotten with surfing is the work it does with your core; all that effort to stay balanced keeps the core engaged and this is something you’ll certainly feel the morning after your first session. Just as we saw in the cardiovascular section, this is something you might not notice but will definitely improve your life. Whether you’re lifting boxes, standing after long periods of sitting down, or using the upper torso in any way, you’re going to see a boost after surfing.

For those who work in an office and stare at a computer all day, surfing can also help with your posture; you might find yourself slouching less while at the desk. In truth, surfing reflects many of the normal movements we put our bodies through on a daily basis (although it might not seem like it at first).

For example, after first paddling out to a wave, you’ll need to activate the muscles in the legs and core to jump to your feet. In every single lesson, you’ll jump to your feet several times. If you can do it on a surfboard in the sea, you can definitely do it getting out of bed or getting off the sofa with ease. Over time, the difference in your leg and core strength will be noticeable and this is another great benefit of choosing surfing (they’re starting to add up, right?).

PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS OF SURFING IN YOUR 30S, 40S, AND OLDER

Hopefully, we’ve been able to persuade you to book up that first surfing lesson on the physical benefits alone. If not, how about we tell you of the brilliant mental benefits of surfing?

COORDINATION AND CONCENTRATION

Without both coordination and concentration, you won’t be able to stand up on the board for longer than five seconds so these will both be improved over time. Of course, these are two transferable skills so there’s no reason why your coordination and concentration don’t also improve at home, at work, and while playing any other sports. For example, you might notice that you’re able to sit at a desk for a longer period of time or be more successful in your local pool league.

SURFING GIVES A BOOST TO YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Firstly, all exercise has now been scientifically proven to release endorphins (chemicals in the brain) which improve mood and overall wellbeing. For those who suffer with depression and/or anxiety, many doctors are now starting to recommend exercise for this very reason. This, coupled with the fact you’ll be outside breathing in the fresh sea air, may allow you to adopt a new positive mindset in life.


surfing mental health

DETERMINATION, PERSEVERANCE, AND GRATIFICATION

We must provide a warning at this stage because surfing will require patience, it will require perseverance, and a significant percentage of people do stop attending after just one lesson. However, we urge you to fight through the learning stage. Yes, you might find yourself getting frustrated and you might wonder where the fun starts for a while. But, as you improve, and overcome the mental barrier that stops many, you’ll have one of the most gratifying experiences of your life.

Eventually, all your hard work will pay off and you won’t believe that you nearly gave it all up. From struggling to jump to your feet to being able to stand up confidently for extended periods, you can prove to yourself that all goals in life are achievable. Even when the goal seemed impossible just a short while ago, the hard work and time you invest will always be rewarded.

Soon enough, you’ll enjoy all the physical and psychological benefits we’ve discussed and you may even be able to bring friends and family along to watch you shine. As we’ve seen before, these are transferable skills because you’ll be more likely to take this determination and perseverance into your personal life and career.

RELIEF FROM STRESS

Finally, you don’t have to become a master of surfing to enjoy the stress relief it can offer. If you want to push your body to its limit and really test yourself, this is possible. If you want to have a relaxing pastime and enjoy being in the water, this is equally fine. While some choose to navigate every wave and they feel disappointed after a poor lesson, others are just happy to be out in the water sitting on the board and looking out over the stunning horizon.

When it comes to surfing, the surfboard and the water are the two essentials. From here, you can do whatever makes you happy. Soon enough, you’ll be wondering where all that stress from work has gone and this for us makes for a successful hobby.


learn to surf at 50

START SURFING TODAY!

As well as the physical and psychological benefits of surfing and the way it allows for a healthy lifestyle, you can also meet new people and forget about the stresses of life for a couple of hours. To finish our guide, we want to provide a few considerations before booking your first surf lesson!

Your height and weight aren’t important because there are various shapes and sizes of boards.

  • Don’t worry about your fitness levels right now because your stamina will improve over time.
  • Surfboards can even be custom-made, if necessary.
  • You should NEVER feel as though you’re too old to start surfing.

Don’t live life according to other people’s expectations or rules, make your own rules (perhaps not on the road, but you get the idea!). If you feel you’ll enjoy surfing and you like the sound of the many benefits we’ve discussed here today, we have three words for you; GO FOR IT!

ABOUT SWELL


Teaching people the sport of surfing in a safe, quick and fun way is what we specialise in at Swell Surf Camp. We have taught 1000’s of people the basics of surfing.

Age? Well the average age of a Swell client is 39

Swell offer 2 exciting places for learn to surf holidays:

The Caribbean: On the North coast of the Dominican Republic

surf hotel

In Indonesia: Bali is where you will find Swell Bali Surf Retreat.

swell bali Surf Retreat

Swell offers full surf packages holidays

SWELL SURF CAMP GALLERY


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Interested in changing your life to see the health benefits of learning to surf?

learn to surf holiday

Send us a message today and we’ll get you up and riding…regardless of your age!

Our luxury surf coaching holidays have taught 1000’s of people the sport of surfing in a safe, fun and quick way.

If you like this article about learning to surf after 40 you might also like the following articles.

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SURF ETIQUETTE: THE GOLDEN RULES

THE GOLDEN RULES OF SURF ETIQUETTE

SURF ETIQUETTE RULESLearning to surf is far more than starting a new sport and acquiring the skills necessary to compete.

It’s about learning the culture, participating in the lifestyle, and having the time of your life.

However, surfing can be a bit intimidating at times, and even dangerous if done incorrectly.

We’ve all have heard stories of “surf rage” and “locals only” spots, and we’ve all seen gruesome surf injuries.

At Swell Surf Camp, we want you to be well rounded surfers that could fit in at any break in the world at the end of your surf holiday.

In order to maximize the fun, minimize the risks to yourself and others, and progress your abilities on your surf holiday, you must familiarize yourself with

The Golden Rules of Surf Etiquette.

1. KNOW YOUR ABILITIES

While this may sound a tad condescending, understanding your own abilities in the water and humbly accepting them could save your life. If you’re still learning and you paddle out at an advanced wave, whether that’s a shallow reef break or any break on an overhead day, you run a high risk of injuring yourself and endangering those around you.

When you surf breaks within your ability, you can learn and progress, so that you can eventually surf more advanced breaks. When you learn to surf at Swell Surf Camp, your lessons will always be taught at breaks that reflect your ability.

One of the best things to do when arriving at the beach is to observe the waves for 10-15 minutes to make sure the surf spot is right for your abilities; just because the wave at a certain spot were great yesterday for your ability does not make it safe today.

2. PADDLE OUT WITH CAUTION

The most important thing to know when paddling out at a crowded line up is that the paddler yields to the riding surfer.

Meaning that if your paddle trajectory has you colliding with a surfer who is riding down the line of a wave, it is your responsibility to yield to that surfer, not the other way around.

In this example, Pete might be able to get back into position quicker, but he is also potentially getting into the way of the surfers on the wave. You don’t want to slalom through surfers when you are surfing. For safety and courtesy to other surfers, paddle wide of the surfers, back to the line-up, like Jim is doing in the picture.

CAUGHT INSIDE?

If paddling wide is not an option, then aim for the white water of the wave, instead of going and aiming for the easier option of the shoulder of the wave ( where the surfer is)

 

3. BE POLITE & SMILE

Whether you’re paddling out to a line up with 5 people out from your surf camp or 50 strangers, the rules are the same. Be polite, smile, and say hello. It will bring a feeling of levity to everyone around and it will likely put you in the good graces of local surfers.

4. UNDERSTAND PRIORITY

priority surf etiquetteNo, you’re not surfing a WSL heat, but priority still exists at every surf break. To put it simply, the surfer closest to the peak of the wave has priority over the surfer who is farther from the peak or on the shoulder. Understanding priority is key to existing peacefully in a crowded lineup.

  • The surfer who is closest to the curl, the peak or the breaking part of the wave has the right of way and priority over all other surfers;
  • The surfer who is farther outside and away from the shore has priority over all other surfers sitting or paddling on the inside, even if closer to breaking part of the wave; (This rules is often ‘abused’ by stand up paddle surfers, since they can pick the waves up further outside than regular surfers, if they get too greedy catching all the set waves, the Paddle boarder can expect the stink eye or aggro vibes from the rest of the line up)

5. DON’T DROP IN ON OTHER SURFERS

surfer etiquetteThis may seem like a no-brainer, but it happens often. A surfer is riding down the line when all of the sudden, another surfer appears on the wave and tries to hop to their feet.

Dropping in on other surfers is what usually leads to conflict in the surf world, thankfully it’s easily avoidable. It starts with understanding priority, if someone inside of you is paddling for a wave, then you shouldn’t even try to paddle for it.

Awareness plays a role as well, even if you don’t see anyone near you paddling for a wave, as you paddle look to your left and right to ensure no one is riding down the line that might have dropped on at another peak.

Being a snake – ‘snaking’

Being a snake, dropping in on others, aggressively jockeying for position in the lineup, or any other act of being a wave hog is considered rude. When you paddle out don’t immediately paddle outside past everyone else and try to get the first wave that comes in. Wait for a few waves to break first. Before you know it, the lineup will have been shuffled around a little bit and you will be in position for a wave. Just because you can catch all of the waves doesn’t mean you should (this applies especially to longboarders and stand up paddlers).

 

Communicate

When a wave breaks both left and right, two surfers can happily ride the same wave, just make sure to communicate by announcing if you’re going right or left, even if you think it’s obvious. A little communication in the water can do a lot to keep everyone safe and having fun.

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Just because you can catch every wave, doesn’t mean you should. If you’re on a large foam board or longboard that catches waves easily, it doesn’t mean you always get to take the wave from the shortboard next to you that’s looking to practice turns and airs. Always keep in mind that the ocean is for everyone and act accordingly.

6. BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR EQUIPMENT

don't let go of surfboardMost surf injuries are not caused by the seafloor, other surfs, or wildlife, they are caused by surfboards. Surfboards are rock solid and have sharp fins, they can do some serious damage.

To avoid unnecessary injury to yourself and anyone else around you, be responsible with your board. Don’t just let go of your board when there are other surfers around you. ( in fact unless you are surfing 20′ waves, don’t ever let go of your board)

That means using a leash, not abandoning your board during your paddle out or after a wipeout. If your board is near you and you have a tight grip on the leash, or your board is under you, it won’t hurt you or any other surfer in the water.

7. KNOW THE BREAK

This is a crucial step for surfers of any level, but it is often skipped. If you’re about to surf at a new break, take a while to watch the waves. Notice where they are breaking, where the channels are, and what the current / rip tide is doing. If you can, take it a step further by asking another surfer about the spot.

Chances are, they will be helpful and tell you where to paddle out, where the peaks are, and more! At Swell, we teach you everything you need to know about our local break before we paddle out ( including Surf Etiquette)

8. RESPECT THE BREAK & BEACH

This one is obvious. Don’t litter, don’t’ leave anything behind. Pack in and pack out. You can even take it a step further and pick up any litter you might encounter. We love our local surf beach, and we do everything we can to keep it beautiful.

9. APOLOGIZE IF YOU MESS UP

We get it, accidents happen. You messed up, and that’s okay, as long as you apologize. It may seem trivial but making amends and making your intentions clear go a long way in a crowded lineup.

10. FORGIVE AND FORGET

Lastly, if someone else in the water wrongs you, if they burn you, drop in on you, or send a board flying at you, forgive and forget. No one likes to surf mad, and no one wants to be around an angry person.

 

TIPS FROM LAIRD HAMILTION

Be Aware. Laird Hamilton recalls, “I got run over by a guy when I was sixteen and he broke my leg. A guy ran me over with a giant longboard, and it compounded my leg, and that was one of those things that you learn, like, ’Don’t trust that the guy sees you and that they’re going to avoid you.’ Just remember that they’re probably going to run you over if you don’t watch where you’re going.”

Be Decisive. “I think the biggest mistake any beginner makes is hesitation,” says Laird. “You need to be deliberate with your actions, and if you’re going to paddle out of the way, just paddle and keep paddling. I think a real common mistake is people being indecisive in their movements, whether it’s trying to catch the wave or get out of the way.”

 

 

The above surf etiquette rules all apply for our local surf spots. At Encuentro there are 2 other rules that any traveling surfer should be aware off:

  • No Stand Up Paddle surfing (SUP) at Playa Encuentro

There are numerous off shore reefs that are ideal for Stand up paddle surfing, in and around Cabarete, so there’s no need to bring a dangerous SUP board & paddle into a lineup where there are kids and learners. Find the open spaces up and down the coast. This also applies to the new sport of foiling. Too dangerous to other surfers at our local surf spot.

  • No motorized watercrafts at Playa Encuentro.

No JetSki’s anywhere near Playa Encuentro, they are noisy, smelly and dangerous to the other surfers.

 

Surfing is more than just a sport, it becomes ingrained in us the moment we catch our first wave. In order to enjoy surfing to its fullest potential, stay safe in the water, and share it with others, we must stick to The Golden Rules of Surf Etiquette. We have travelled to a lot of different countries and have seen 1000’s of different surf spots & one of the things that really makes our local surfing beach stand out is the mellow & friendly vibe between locals, expats and visiting surfers.

Let’s keep it that way, let’s all stick to the surf etiquette, so we can all leave the water after a surf session with a big smile on our faces.




More info: https://www.surfgirlmag.com/2018/07/surf-etiquette/
Surfing at Playa Encuentro with Swell’s Romy


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CHOOSING THE RIGHT SURFBOARD

Choosing the right surfboard

CHOOSING THE RIGHT SURFBOARD

So you’ve have had your first experience of riding waves and standing up on a surfboard and you want to take things to the next level, getting your own surfboard to continue surfing at home or to take on another surf trip.

Too much choice?

Off you go to your nearest surf shop, or perhaps you’re looking online: You’re full of enthusiasm with the thought of treating yourself to a lovely new board.

But you are confronted with an overwhelming sight: 400 different types of surfboards, in all different shapes and sizes!  Picking the right board might not be quite such an easy task after all and the pressure to make the right choice and avoid an expensive mistake can be stressful!

We see far too many people go and buy a ‘standard‘ short board, thinking ‘all good surfers are riding them, so it must be the right surfboard for me too’. The reason why many people end up buying a shortboard (too early) is that the experts make surfing on a short board look so easy; definitely a lot easier than getting through the lineup with a bigger and heavier board.  In reality, many of those guys and gals who look so cool carrying a teeny-weeny shortboard around, aren’t actually catching any waves!

So…….

“What’s the right surfboard for me?”

One of the most important aspects when buying a new surfboard is to be totally honest with yourself about your fitness level and surfing ability.  Getting on shortboard too early is not going to make your progress quicker at surfing, quite the contrary; you will find it a lot harder to catch the waves with a board that doesn’t have the correct volume to float you properly.

“If you can’t catch the wave, you ain’t going to improve your riding”

Catching lots of waves is the key to making good progress.

Below we have highlighted some of the more common surfboard shapes and talk you through each of their individual characteristics.

which surfboard is right

TOW BOARD

The tow in board started to appear in video’s with Laird Hamilton riding monster waves in Hawaii; their general use is uncommon.
Characteristics: Small, with foot-straps to stay in contact with the board in heavy chop.
Lenght: 4’8 to 6’2′
Fins: 3 or 4 fin setup
Good for: Expert surfers, who want to get towed into very big waves.
At Swell: We do not have tow in boards at Swell.  Jet ski’s and motorised watercraft are not allowed near Cabarete bay or Playa Encuentro

 

FISH SURFBOARD

Originally the fish was used in the 60’s and 70’s but the design made a come-back in recent years.
Characteristics: Short (usually ridden 6 or so inches less than a standard shortboard), also wide and reasonably thick, so relatively good amount of volume. Has a ‘swallow tail’
Length: 5’2 to 6’4′
Fins: 2 big ‘keel’ fins or 4 fins
Good for: Surfers who want an alternative way of riding waves.  The fish is renowned for use in smaller, mushier waves, but can also be great in larger waves.  They tend to have more volume than a regular shortboard, so it makes paddling easier and getting into the wave easier too.
At Swell: We have a couple of fish boards at Swell in our rental pool, they work well in the mellow summer waves & as an alternative to a longboard.

 

shortboard surfingSHORTBOARD

The standard shortboard evolved from the fish surfboards in the 80’s when Simon Anderson invented the 3 fin thruster set up
Characteristics: Versatile board that works in a variety of waves. Quick to maneuver and generates speed very fast
Length: 5’8 to 6’8′
Fins: 3 fin or 4 fin (quad) set up
Good for: Advanced surfers who want to perform speedy, sharp bottom turns and ‘off the lip’ manuevers + many more tricks.
At Swell: We have a couple of standard shortboards in the rental pool between 6’4′ and 6’8′ for advanced surfers. Works best in winter time when the waves are bigger and have more power.

HYBRID

‘In-between board’ for people that want the maneuverability of a shortboard, but the wave catching ability of a bigger board. Good all-round board or a board to narrow the gap between a bigger board and a shortboard
Characteristics: Scaled up version of the standard shortboard, wider and with more volume to make paddling/wave catching easier.
Lenght: 6’6′ to 7’2
Good for: People who want to make the transition to a shorter board; intermediates.
At Swell: We have some hybrid surfboards in our rental pool.

 

MINI GUN SURFBOARDMINI GUN (OR STEP UP)

Bigger boards for bigger waves.
Characteristics: Longer than a shortboard, narrower and normally a round or pin tail for speed.
Length: 6’6 to 8’0
Good for:Surfers who want to get barrelled in fast and big waves. Mostly used in Australia, Hawaii and Indonesia
At Swell: We have one 6’6′ step up, but it rarely gets used.

 

EGG SURFBOARDEGG

Popular design from the 60’s and 70’s; looks like a mini-mal but is more performance-orientated.
Characteristics: Narrower in the nose than a mini-mal and usually also has less volume
Length: 7’6 to 8’2′
Fins: 1 or 3
Good for: Surfers who want a more retro-surfing experience
At Swell: We have one egg in our rental pool.

 

 

MINI MALMINI MAL

Smaller version of the longboard, little less volume
Characteristics: A bit less ‘glide’ than a longboard, but more maneuverability
Length: 7’6 to 8’2′
Good for: Cruisey-style of surfing for slow & small waves
At Swell: We have a large range of mini-mals at Swell, from NSP and Torq Surfboards, and they fit the surfing conditions of Playa Encuentro perfectly.

 

LONGBOARDLONGBOARD

The original 60’s longboard is still very popular.  For learning, these boards have more volume and are covered in a soft EVA deck, for safety and added volume.
Characteristics: Great wave catching ability, long glides, work best in waves that are not too steep
Length: 9’0 to 9;6
Good for: Surfers who are after a long, cruisey-glide; this is a board that catches a lot of waves
At Swell: We have several long boards in our rental pool, from high performance boards to beginner soft-tops in the 9’0 range.

 

BIG WAVE GUNBIG WAVE GUN (aka. RHINO CHASER)

Scaled up version of the mini gun
Characteristics:  Very long & narrow
Length: 9’0 to 11’6
Good for: Surfers who want to catch the biggest waves without the help of a jet ski, then this is the board you need.  It is strictly speaking a long board but should not to be mistaken for the kind of longboard most people would want: Just because it’s long does not make it a good board for learning to surf, or for those cruisey-rides in small surf.
At Swell: No need for a big wave gun at Swell,  the waves in the Dominican Republic never get the size that a board like this is needed

 

Conclusion: There is no one-size-fits-all for surfboards.

To make sure that you buy the right surfboard: talk to a couple of different surf shop owners or local surfboard shapers, and be honest about your goals and current skill set. Renting a board  (or borrowing from a friend) is also a good way of finding out if the board is right for you.

To get a guide on what is the right amount of volume for your next surfboard, check this surfboard volume calculator at FireWire.

At Swell, we have a large variety of surfboards, so Swell clients can change boards during their stay and experience the different feel of each surfboard.
More information on our surfboards can be found here.

ABOUT SWELL SURF CAMP

Located on the scenic north coast of the Dominican Republic is our purpose-built surf resort

We cater for surfers of all levels, from beginners to expert surfers who are looking for an active surf holiday

Swell offers full surf packages holidays

Swell now also offer a luxury surf holiday experience in Bali


tropical architecture

SWELL SURF CAMP GALLERY

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And here’s a visual to help you compare the different surfboard types.

If you have any questions about this article, send us an email with your thoughts, and feel free to share it on your favourite social media site.

 

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FAMILY SURF HOLIDAY

surfing encuentro

A family surf trip!

The summer is almost over; we are headed into Autumn and then the (often dreaded) long months of Winter.

We all need something to look forward to, so thoughts often turn to next summer’s plans to keep us going through the cold months. Family vacations are always best planned well in advance to make sure of space for your preferred choice.

Family surf vacationPerhaps you are all thinking about a family beach vacation; most family holidays understandably involve the beach, who wouldn’t want to be on a sandy beach with their family?

But Mom and Dad, is a sandy beach and the ocean enough to keep the kids entertained for days on end? Wouldn’t you prefer to have something planned which will not only keep the kids entertained and enthralled with the ocean, but also wear them out a little, challenge them and teach them a sporting skill which will stay with them for life?

A FAMILY SURF VACATION

Teaching your kids to surf on a family surf vacation is quite possibly the best choice you could make; let us explain why.

Firstly, learning to surf when a child means that they will pick up this sport way faster than their ‘old’ parents. Kids are normally devoid of fear and have a low centre of gravity, which means they can stand easily and quickly on a surfboard. You can imagine, a small person + a large surfboard (we use soft tops to avoid injury) equals lots of flotation; what every surfer needs. In our experience, kids learn fast and pick up advanced surf skills even faster, like turning and ‘trimming’ the surfboard. It is said that every surf session a young person has is worth 20 sessions for an adult.

Family surf campBeing able to surf opens horizons for kids. There is a ‘spiritual’ aspect to surfing: Without sounding too way-out-there, the feeling of riding the open face of a wave is akin to experiencing real joy. Just you and the wave, gliding. It’s very hard to describe how amazing this feeling is, you just have to take my word for it until you try it yourself.

SWELL’S FAMILY SURF CAMP

At Swell surf camp, we tend to turn people into surfers for life.

People who surf are happier, more fulfilled and calmer and that’s not even taking into account the endless fitness benefits of surfing.

Surfing’s health benefits include cardio-vascular fitness, increased core-strength, stronger arms and legs. It’s great for burning calories with an average burn of 700 calories per surf session. Paddling for a wave is a low impact cardio-vascular exercise. Surfers say you either have a great surf session or a great work-out; it’s win-win. Doesn’t every parent want to set their kids up for life with a healthy, fulfilling passion?

Surfers are also passionate about the planet: As surfers, we see at first hand the damage humans have done to marine life and the water. We’ve all paddled through plastic at some stage in our surfing lives. Teaching your kids to surf will also give them a care of the ocean and the environment they will not be able to learn anywhere else.

A family surfing holiday with us also means the opportunity to do many more activities other than surfing. From Swell, we regularly organise trips like canyoning, snorkeling, horse-riding (on the beach or up in the mountains), 4-wheeler tours, mountain biking, SUP and Yoga

So if you have a child or children who are 8 years old and up, who can already swim (we teach in warm, shallow water, but being able to swim is essential) and would like to plan a family surf vacation at Swell surf camp in summer 2019, do get in touch with us.

Whilst we are talking about learning to surf, don’t only book your child in for surf lessons, make sure you do it too. They may learn faster than you do, but doing something fun, active and meaningful with your child is absolutely priceless. Lastly, as a comforting thought to you if you feel too old to surf, I learned to surf at 51; my only regret is that I had done it so many years earlier when my kids learned themselves.

JOIN US IN 2019

Interested in joining us for a family summer surf camp?

Send us a message today and your family could be off on a one of a kind surf holiday

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SURF TECHNIQUE: 1. THE POP UP

how to pop up surfing

SURF TECHNIQUE: 1. THE POP UP

Here is a “how to surf” tutorial on various surfing techniques which are vital when you are learning how to surf. It is not meant as a replacement for going on a learn to surf holiday (like those we offer at Swell) but rather as a reference with visuals to make learning easier.

About Swell Surf Camp
We offer luxury surf holiday experiences for people who want to learn how to surf in warm, Caribbean water. We focus on a structured approach in our surf lessons, taught by ISA qualified surfing instructors.

Read more about the surf holidays we offer >>

HOW TO SURF: THE POP UP

  • Place hands flat on your board under your chest (see note below about hand-position)
  • Push up: Arch your back, weight on toes and hands
  • Twist your hips into a position which allows you to first move your back* foot into position
  • Move front* foot into position, place front foot between your hands
  • Stand up, keeping center of gravity low with your kness bend & looking forward
  • *your ‘back’ or ‘front’ foot is determined by whether you are ‘regular/natural-footed’ (that’s riding with the left foot forward) or ‘goofy-footed'(riding with your right foot forward). In order to test this, have someone push you gently from behind on a flat surface (ideally when you are not expecting it). The foot which leads the step determines if you are natural/regular or goofy. If you have skateboarded or snowboarded, with surfing, you are very likely to ride with the same foot forward.

SURFING TECHNIQUE : TAKING OFF

caribbean surf campThere are various ways on how to do a successful pop up on a surfboard, below is the approach we use the most at Swell in our surf lessons at Playa Encuentro.

This approach to the pop up is only suitable for beginners learning how to surf on big surfboards (anything over 8′ and ideally on a soft top with plenty of volume and stability). Depending on how tall you are, you might adjust your hand position further under your ribcage (imagine a pendulum) in order to give your feet the space to move.

For best results this technique is best practiced first on the beach, so you have extra stability, then when you have mastered it on the beach, practice in small mellow waves, like those we have at Playa Encuentro.

The following images show the pop-up technique for a surfer with a “natural/regular” stance (riding with left foot forward), If you are goofy-footer (right foot forward), the technique stays the same, just move the other foot as opposed to how it’s shown in these images.

WHERE TO PRACTICE THE POP UP SURFING TECHNIQUE

Practise on the beach, then go out on small ‘white water’ waves. White water of about 30 to 50 cm is ideal. Enough power to give you forward thrust.

Paddle hard enough to catch the wave and feel the force of the wave pushing you forward. As you gain speed the board actually gets a bit more stable. Now place both hands flat on your surfboard under your chest (don’t grab the rail of the surfboard). Some taller people find it easier to place their hands further down the chest towards the ribcage to ‘balance’ their body before moving the feet.

Now arch your lower back  – by doing a push-up movement. Only your toes/feet and hands should be touching the board, look up / forward, not down at your board.

Now slide your ‘back’ foot into position first (it sounds confusing, but this will be your left foot if you are goofy and your right foot if you are a natural-footed surfer). The back foot should move about 35-45 cm forward. Twisting your body will make this easier as it creates space.


Then move your front foot towards your hands staying very low to maintain balance.

The final part of the pop-up, releasing your hands from the board but making sure to keep a low center of gravity ( = better balance) by bending both knees; you can also extend your arms straight, one forward and one behind you to further increase your balance. Look forward (not down!) and enjoy the glide!

COMMON MISTAKES WHEN PRACTISING THE POP UP

Video by Kookbitches.com (???Interesting name)


Practise on the wrong waves: the pop up technique should be practised in small white water waves, not out in the lineup (out the back) for first time surfers. Don’t go out in big waves, or crowded surf spots.

Feet in the wrong position: Your feet should be pretty much in the centre of the board, over stringer  ( center line made of wood in the board)

Wrong hand position: Don’t grab the rails of the surfboard, it will slow the board down and will also make  the board a lot more unstable for the push up

Knees on the board.  A lot of beginners do this, it might make standing up on your first waves ‘easier’ but it’s a bad technique and correcting it later takes more time, so skip the knees on the board part.

Looking down: A very common mistake in people learning how to surf is to look and see what they are doing, so looking down at their feet / board / water. It make keeping your balance very difficult and you cannot see where you are going. Keep looking forward!

Too early: Don’t stand up too early. Make sure the wave is properly giving you forward momentum. Stand up too early, and the board will lose speed, you miss the wave and will fall off.


Standing too upright. You have done all this hard work to stand on the board and now you want to stand tall! Don’t do it! By staying low and bending the knees you have a lot more stability.

Leaning over with upper body. All the bend should be in the knees, not the upper body. When you bend / lean over with your upper body, keeping your balance is practically impossible and you will fall.

Tips

Use a big soft top surfboard. Sure those little boards look cool, but learning on a board that is too small will make learning to surf far harder and will take you forever. Big soft tops are stable and safe.

Practise on the beach. Before going out in the water, practise 15-20 pop ups on the sand.

Watch other surfers. See how they do it.

Ask for feedback. Ask your surf instructor for tips.

Stay positive. As easy as some surfers make it look, learning to surf is not easy ! Don’t get discouraged when you make mistakes, we were all beginners once.

Once you have masterered the surfing pop up on a longboard you can start trying the technique on smaller boards. The video below shows how the top pros do their pop up in slow motion on a shortboard at the Surf ranch.

HOW TO SURF: THE POP UP


Here is another good instructional video of the do’s and don’t to master the pop up surf technique

SURF TECHNIQUE POP UP VIDEO







how to generate speed



We hope we made it as clear as possible for you. But feel free to send us a message if something is not clear, or if you want to join us in the Caribbean for a learn how to surf holiday, where our qualified surfing instructors teach you the above steps, and will help you with any questions you might have.

ABOUT SWELL SURF CAMP

Located on the scenic north coast of the Dominican Republic is our purpose built surf resort

We cater for surfers of all levels, from beginners to expert surfers who are looking for an active surf holiday

Swell offers full surf packages holidays

SWELL SURF CAMP GALLERY


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