Surfing sports! From beach girl to surfer girl - learn the rules, know the hazards and start catching waves

Surfing sports! what is it all about?

When you have made the decision to get off the sand and go surfing, you need to learn a few things before strapping a leash around your ankle and paddling out. It may look to the casual observer basking on the beach that there are no actual rules to surfing. You don’t see any lines painted on a surface and there is no ball to show possession like some sports. This is not a mistake you want to make. After you have been properly schooled on surfing etiquette, you need to pick up the basics.

Observation and learning go hand in hand. Learning how to read waves, time your paddling and take advantage of surf lessons from pros or from friends will soon have you hopping out of bed earlier than you thought possible in anticipation of getting in a morning session.

To begin at the beginning. Despite the fact that many novices and the uninitiated think that because there is no court or field there are no rules, there are plenty. You do not want to feel the collective wrath of the locals if you violate these rules. They will not be any nicer to you about it because you are a girl.

The good thing is that surfing etiquette is essentially the same all around the world, so once you learn the rules you are golden anywhere. Dropping in is dropping in no matter what language it’s in. The only thing you might learn if you do it in another country is some pretty colorful language.

Struggling to time waves correctly is one thing that takes a lot of time for new surfers. If you have not already picked up the basics on wave timing from body surfing or boogie boarding, now is observation time. Justify some beach time as “research.” Watch where the waves break, how fast the waves move and how far out they start to peak.

Every beach in a certain area may look pretty much the same, but the thing that makes the waves break differently is the surface under the water. You can have totally different breaks just a mile away from each other. Jump in the water and try catching waves just body surfing. The better you are at timing the more you’ll get out of your first lessons.

Getting in surf ready shape is important.
A few weeks at the gym before starting lessons will make the difference between hours spent having a great time and learning a lot and short bursts of activity followed by exhaustion and sour puss face. You need cardio. You will paddle, paddle, paddle, duck dive, paddle, paddle, paddle and end up under water. The ability to breathe during this is good.

Surf fitness involves specific muscles that will make their presence painfully known if they are not properly conditioned and stretched. Paddling and squatting are going to become regular activities so focus on those muscles first. You will also learn very quickly that surfing is one of the sports that uses every major muscle group

Click here for workout videos on how to become a stronger surfer

You’ve got your etiquette down, no committing the equivalent faux pas of using the wrong fork at the French restaurant. You’ve got the basics on timing your waves, less time spent under the water rather than on top of it. Now it’s time for surf lessons. Whether you are having a friend teach you or going to a local surf school or are able to do private lessons, remember that the first few lessons are the most important. These are your learning curve lessons.

You’re first accomplishment will probably be catching a wave on the board on your tummy. The second will be to catch a wave and standing up. Mixed in will be tumbles, falls and a lot of water up your nose. Keep going, and keep practicing when you don’t have lessons. Don’t be afraid of falling or failing. You only fail if you quit. No matter who is teaching you they are obviously pretty local and obviously know how to surf. Hit them up for advice on finding the best breaks. You will need to learn from observation and experience what makes a great surf break, but learning from the viewpoint of a veteran always make it easier.

You already know how to avoid land sharks, but the hazards that can show up in the water are just as dangerous. Experienced surfers know to look for certain signs of trouble and know to never, ever surf alone. The biggest problem for rookies is the rip current If you are not used to ocean swimming these are almost impossible to see. Have someone teach you the techniques, paddling parallel to the beach and looking for the break differences that show you a riptide.

Click here to learn more about the ocean and it's potential hazards

Sharks actually attack only about 100 people a year worldwide so in most places you are pretty safe from them but jellyfish are much more common. Even more common is being hit by an errant board, leashes only give so much control over where a board goes so just paying attention can make the difference between a great day surfing and a visit to the ER for a nice batch of stitches. A first aid kit in the car is a great thing to have not only for you, but also in case anyone else happens to need a helping hand. Let your journey begin.

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