“The best way to learn to surf is to just get out there and do it”, is the advice that many experienced surfers have for beginners. It’s good advice! After all, most people who can ride a wave were not taught – they just started getting in the water and gradually splashed and gasped their way towards a series of shifting goalposts, the first of which was usually the act of standing up. This is, ideally, a fun process that leaves one exhausted and humiliated, but smiling. In fact, it often seems like it’s the beginners who are having the most fun in the water, while some of the experts take it all rather more seriously.
However, learning to surf isn’t easy – just ask any of our youngsters participating in our Marine Explorers programme. Predictably, it’s even harder for older people. Waves are an unusual platform to perform ones sport on. Unlike a football field, squash court or even a ski slope, each and every (naturally occurring) wave is unique. Each is a moving, changing co-incidence of a myriad of factors, never to be repeated. The result is a once-off, simultaneous dance (or collision) of water and rider. So much so, that many surfers prefer that their “sport” be referred to as art.
One becomes competent when things start becoming instinctive – knowing which waves to catch, adjusting one’s positioning and weight distribution on the board without thinking about it, timing the precise moment in which to stand up, sub-consciously interpreting every little bump in the water. This can only be achieved through experience – time spent in the water.
So, if surfing is something learnt rather than taught, then why don’t we just give our young Marine Explorers a board and wetsuit, and tell them to head for the horizon? Well, there is obviously the priority of safety, but there’s also the vital matter of having fun! So, if you’re eagerly contemplating taking up surfing, make sure that you take a look at our upcoming posts in which we’ll be offering tips on how to maximise safety, ensure a huge dose of fun, and get the basics of surfing right during the wildly wonderful washing machine experience that is learning to surf!