Beach surfing - Learn about beach breaks

Beach surfing! There are an unfathomable number of different styles of beaches, each with breaks specific to that beach. From the gently lapping waves of Mediterranean beaches to the monster waves of Puerto Escondido. Of course, different beach breaks have different guidelines for where the beginner should surf.

When conditions change, the break can change. Even if you surf the same beach everyday, take a moment and observe. A wind shift, a previous night’s storm or swell conditions can alter the break overnight, literally.

If a beach has sandbanks then you will want to surf the inside bank. The waves will be smaller than those on the outside bank because a great amount of the power has been taken out of the wave by passing over the outside bank.

The veterans will be surfing the stronger waves of the outside bank and you will not only have more surfable waves for a beginner, but it will also be less crowded. An ideal situation in which to learn. The only thing you have to look out for is the other surfers coming in from the outer bank. You have the benefit of being near experienced surfers, but not in the midst of them.

If you see the experienced surfers riding the inside bank then you may want to call it a day. This would indicate not only increased crowding but also much more severe conditions than normal, not the place to be for a beginner.

On beaches that do not have inner and outer banks you will find spots where the surf is breaking smaller and slower. This is where you want to paddle out to as a beginner. Leave the overhead surf and fast breaking waves until you have a lot more water time and experience.

You want the look of softly crumbling waves. When beach surfing, waves that break into really shallow water can give you some nasty wipeouts when you get ground into the sandy or rocky bottom. Waves that break hard and fast indicate a sudden drop off in the slope of the beach. Stick with slowly moving waves that break gently while you learn.

Pushing yourself to learn is good. Pushing yourself beyond the boundaries of what your abilities can handle is not good. Remember, having fun is the goal, not being Xena, beach surfing princess.

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