Are you thinking about taking up surfing this year? If so, there are several things that should do before heading out to the beach with your new surfboard. Here's a quick rundown on five of them:
Learn to Swim
One of the first things that you'll need to do before hopping onto a surfboard is to learn how to swim in the ocean. Swimming in the ocean is not like swimming in a pool. The ocean comes equipped with rip tides, large waves, massive rocks and sea creatures that can deliver a nasty bite or a sting. Let's face it, you won't find those things in a backyard pool. There are organizations that offer ocean swimming lessons. I'd suggest checking with your local lifeguard or surf shop for information on which organizations offer such classes in your area.
As you are learning to swim in the ocean, you'll also want to work on getting fit. There are several ways to do that. You may opt to start a fitness routine at home or sign up for a gym membership. Some fitness centers even offer exercise equipment and programs geared towards surfers. Whichever option you choose, I'd suggest that you consult with your primary care physician first. He or she can make sure that you are healthy enough for surfing as well as offer recommendations on what exercises you should avoid.
Start learning all you can about how the ocean's tides and currents can affect surfers. You'll want to research the areas that you plan on surfing in as well as learn what to do in the event of an emergency. I'd also suggest that you become familiar with the various surfing equipment available and how to use it. You may even want to consider wearing a life vest until you feel comfortable being in the ocean on your surfboard.
Sign Up for Surf Lessons
Once you know how to swim and your fitness routine is underway, you'll want to look into signing up for surf lessons. Based on what I have witnessed, there are multiple lesson options available. You may opt to sign up for private surf lessons, group surf lessons or overnight surf camps. Many lesson providers include the use of a surfboard, a wetsuit and a board leash into their prices. Prices vary based on the location and the type of lessons desired.
Be Honest and Bring Friends
When you are finally ready to go surfing without a teacher present, be honest about your surfing abilities. Don't try to take on a wave that you are not prepared to handle. I would also suggest that you do not go surfing alone. A lot can happen out there in the ocean. As such, it is always best to have a buddy close by in case you end up needing emergency assistance.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys water sports with her family. She also has a history of interviewing pro surfers.
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