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Surfing - Before You Get Started Surfing

Sep 11, 2008
Surfing is a physical activity and classrooms are for bookworms. But spend some time getting a few clues. That will prevent you from being sorry you chose to surf.

Before you even get a surfboard, you need to understand your own strengths and weaknesses. If you can't swim well, you don't belong in the water. Even the best surfers in the world fall off their boards, sometimes on purpose. That leaves you in the water without a ride back to the beach.

To build up that strength there are a number of useful exercises. You can do push-ups or bench presses, which will help enhance upper body strength. You'll need that in order to whip up your body from a lying to a standing position, called a 'pop-up'. You can do squats or leg presses to get your thighs and calves ready for the rigors of standing on a board with good balance. Overall, you should have a lot of endurance. Run. Swim.

Get familiar with the board. It looks simple enough but it has many attributes. A longboard is roughly 9 feet (2.7m) long and not quite 2 feet (60cm) wide. It will usually have one or more fins and have a stripe down the middle. Many will have a leash near the tail that you connect to your ankle.

There are pros and cons to using the strap. It will keep your surfboard from floating away when you fall off. But it can get tangled in coral and drag you down. Get comfortable with it on the beach or in a swimming pool.

On the beach, make a narrow groove in the sand and lay the board down, putting the fin in the groove. That way you can practice standing up from a sitting/paddling position to a standing position. Practice jumping up from a lying to a standing position. Push up with your hands on each side of the board and whip your feet underneath your body. Assume the traditional crouch you've seen other surfers do when they ride a wave. Do it again and again.

You'll need to know how and where to stand. Face the front of the board and keep your feet along each side of the stringer (the center line). Hold off on anything fancy like hanging five until you have a lot more experience. Note the position where you are balanced on the board. That's best done in a swimming pool to better simulate real conditions.

On the day, make sure you surf with an experienced surf buddy. Someone should show you first-hand how to paddle, stand, catch a wave and other needed skills. They can also save your life if you get in over your head, which is easy for beginners to do.

That same expert will help you judge which waves are worth catching and give you guidance about etiquette. They'll show you how to move away from a surfer who has priority because they are closer to the break than you.

Be mentally and physically prepared, make sure you are well protected again the sun UV radiation by wearing sun protection swimwear, and you'll enjoy your surfing experience. None better than that, needless to say.
About the Author
J Edmond have been working in the sun protection clothing industry for several years. The main aim is to raise awareness of the sun' UV radiation and it's effect on human skin. Click here for more info about sun protection swimwear and UV protective clothing.
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