5 Mistakes A Beginner Surfer Often Makes

5 Common Beginner Mistakes That Happen Before ever Getting Into The Water

Tyler Trafas


June 13h, 2014

Tamer edit

Getting The Wrong Board

About eight out of ten people learning to surf want to move to a shorter board before they are ready. We probably shouldn’t be telling you this, as it helps the business of buying used surfboards. You can’t always trust the kids at the surf shops. Shorter boards are great for maneuverability and manageability, but when it comes to catching waves, they can be almost twice as hard as a funboard or longboard. Think about that for a second, twice as hard to catch a wave. When you are starting to learn how to surf, you need to ride a lot of waves, get that wave count up and you will see yourself improve much faster. Getting a board that is too short will result in sessions where your arms are completely sore and tired but you didn’t catch a single wave. Not saying it can’t be done, but realize when you make that purchase that you are gonna be working extra hard to grab waves and things won’t be as fun for awhile. We recommend about a year or so on a longboard or funboard, or after you graduate from our Learn2Surf4Real program, before you move down in size.


Holding Your Board Wrong

Out of all lessons this mistake is what causes the most injuries. We go over it many times, but often people forget once they are in the water. Always carry your board at your side, never sideways in front of you. Why? Because that board will become a weapon once the next wave hits you, smashing into your body and/or face. Even on land it’s a pretty impractical and silly way to carry a surfboard, just doesn’t look right, so why do it while walking out to the surf? Never sideways across your body. Always at your side, nose facing forward, up and over waves.


Leaning Your Board Against A Wall Or A Car

Before or after a surf session it’s quite easy to lean your equipment against something. Sometimes it’s necessary but keep in mind that a high percentage of boards sent to the DIng Dr. are from things that happen to your board outside of the water. A gust of wind can give flight to your surfboard, making it a dangerous flying object with no proper landing gear for the crash landing on the pavement, or even worse, someone else’s car. How about leaning your board against the back of your car? **Nearly everyone can tell a tale of a beach parking lot incident where somebody has forgotten their precious board up against a car. A sudden crunch, followed by screeching brakes, followed by, an “Oh Sh!t”. Be mindful of your equipment and where you set it. Respect the tools that give you so much enjoyment in the ocean. Put that board down softly, always with the fins up, facing the sky.


Thinking You’re All Good With No Sunscreen

This is straight idiotic. If you are going to the beach and the sun is in orbit above your head wear sunscreen. You must always wear waterproof sun protection while in the surf. It’s unbelievable the amount of people that think cause it’s cloudy or overcast that they don’t have to wear sun protection. You can still get burnt on overcast days. Skin cancer is no joke, but being sunburnt and having your head look like a giant red lobster will make you the joke of whatever social gathering you attend after a session with no sun protection. Don’t let that ever happen to you, it sucks.


Make Sure Your Surfboard Is In Proper Order Before You Paddle Out

Wax goes on the top of your board for traction to keep your feet attached to the board, no reason ever for you to put wax on the bottom. Is the water temperature right for the wax that is on your board? If not you could have a pretty disastrous session of slippin and slidin wipe outs. Are your fins on correctly? Make sure that they aren’t on backwards or you will be getting spun around rather quickly, they only work a certain way! The leash string that holds your leash to your board is the smallest piece to your surf equipment, but so important. Make sure the string that connects your leash to your board is strong and properly attached. If that little string is too long, and you have a bad wipeout or have to ditch your board for a big wave, that little string can rip through your tail sending your board to the Ding Doctor. Make sure your leash connects to the leash rope in a snug manner, not much slack. Also, remember to always wear your leash so that it can’t trip you up. You should never be walking that far in your leash anyways, not the coolest move to put the leash on in the parking lot. Carrying your leash is a must as well, it’s not a heavy item, no reason to let it drag behind you. Wait till you are at the beach and finished your warm up routine to leash up and paddle out.

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