There is nothing like the feeling of catching that first wave as you stand looking down at the water shimmering below, the board under your feet as it glides smoothly across the water, and the feeling as if you are cruising longer and faster than you ever imagined, even if it is only for a few seconds. It feels like the cliché magic carpet ride, adrenaline pumping, senses exploding, and the feeling of the glide, your first stoke! It’s what keeps every surfer coming back. But don’t be fooled. Learning to surf is hard. Surfing is not for everyone, but for those of us that “get it”, we get it immediately after that first wave, that first stoke, and despite the humiliation and punishment, we keep coming back for more.
The learning curve for surfing is long and frustrating, Even the most adept athletes, accomplished snowboarders and skaters will tell you, learning to surf is freakin’ brutal. No one tries it and just gets it. You have to commit to it and keep going. You will fall, a lot! You will pitch over the falls endlessly (pearling), taking wave after wave on the head. You will suck air and you will just plain suck, for a long time. You will paddle over and over for waves that you can’t seem to catch, and you will watch other surfers paddle circles around you and catch wave after wave making it all look so damn easy. However, slowly but surely, you will start to paddle stronger and stand up (pop up) quicker. You will find the sweet spot on your board and respond better and better to oncoming waves, riding them a little longer and a little better. And each time you do catch a wave, you taste that first stoke all over again. That is surfing, and that is what keeps us all coming back for more. For some it is about the glide, for others it is the adrenaline of the big drop, and for others still, it is about ripping, but it’s all about surfing. As Nat Young said:
“Surfers are members of a different race of people from the man in the street.”
Although learning to surf is super slow and super frustrating, it’s a blast, and just know that everyone sucks in the beginning, everyone is a kook.
For some great how to surf videos click here.
We’ll provide you with the essentials of this the greatest of pastimes in the following few pages. Let’s start out with the history of surfing.