Surfing 101: Everything you Need to Know

Surfing looks like a fun and easy sport when you are just observing. However, it does take a lot of effort and practice to excel. But don’t worry! We will help you get started and make sure that you know the basic information regarding this sport.

How To Surf?

surfing 101The first thing you need to know is how to surf and how to get started. As much as we try to explain the procedure, you still should enroll in a surf school. After all, there are things that you cannot just learn from the internet. Before you enroll in surf school, make sure to decide on these two things:

  • A surfboard you are comfortable in using.
  • A beach that has waves suitable for beginners. Usually, empty beaches with a flat sandy area are preferable.

1. Foot Position

Before you start to paddle and surf in the sea, you have to know which foot are you going to put forward for your balance. If you place your left foot forward, then you are going by the regular foot method, if you are putting your right foot, then it is the goofy foot method. This is important to know, as depending on your foot, you have to balance your body.

2. Popping Up

The next thing you need to learn is “popping up” on the surfboard. You will be given extensive practice in the surf school for this.

For popping up, first lie down on the board. Then put your hands under your shoulders, like in a push-up position, and extend your legs behind you. In one motion, push yourself up and stand on your feet. One foot has to be in front, and the other one in the back will be facing sideways.

Avoid popping up on your knees, even though you might want to do it as a reflex. This might lead to imbalance, and you can fall.

3. Check Everything

Before you head out, make sure to wax your surfboard properly with good wax. Waxing the board provides good traction and gives you a solid footing while standing up. Also, make sure that the leash is firmly fixed to the leash plug. The leash should be tied to your back foot. The leash will ensure that the board won’t get far from you if you fall and wouldn’t hit other people in the sea.

4. Paddling

Another primary step that you need to practice is paddling in the sea. However, this paddling is a bit different than the usual one taught in swimming.

Before you paddle out, make sure to observe the sea and where the waves are breaking. Notice the whitewater; you will get an idea of how to paddle. After getting a picture, take your board and walk out in the sea. Keeping walking till the water level is stomach- deep. At this point, you might feel uncomfortable handling the board and walking.

Next, you have to lie down on the board, on your stomach. Make sure you are correctly positioned on the board. The nose of the board must be above the water. Extend your legs out and start paddling. This is very similar to the freestyle swimming stroke, make sure that your legs are out of water. Keep observing the board, how it is sliding, keep an eye on every movement; this will make you understand the timing and balance better.

Let’s Surf!

Now, as you have started to get the hang of it, you might want to start surfing. For the first few times, try to catch the whitewater and ride it to the beach. Follow the paddling procedure in the whitewater area.

Now for the real waves, first paddle to the place where the waves are breaking. Observe that spot very carefully. After locating the spot where the waves break, paddle out before the wave breaks. This means you have to move faster than the wave.

Therefore, whenever you see a wave forming a crest, start paddling towards the shore. After a short time of paddling, you will find that the board is gliding on its own. This is your signal to pop yourself on the board. Make sure to get up in one swift motion. Also, crouch yourself to maintain your balance.

Now, you have successfully started to surf.

Types Of Surfboards

Now, as you have started to surf, you will be gradually leveling up from the beginner stage to further. As you level up, you will learn to take larger waves with much more dynamic. As you are having fun with your waves, why stick to the old surfboard?

Therefore, we are here to help you get the surfboard which will help you to ride all sorts of waves.

1. Shortboard

As the name suggests, the shortboard is shorter than the usual boards. It ranges within a length of 5’ to 7’. It has a nose rocker, which prevents the nose of the board from getting in the water. Additionally, it has two-four fins which will help you make a quick turn. A beginner can go for this board; however, it is recommended for a bit more experienced.

2. Wave Gun Surfboard

This surfboard is strictly for those who are experts and ride the huge waves. It has a narrow tail and nose, which helps the surfer to maintain their speed and move through the waves. It has a height of 8’-9’ with a great volume to make sure that the surfer stays intact in those big waves.

3. Longboard Surfboard

This surfboard is suitable for surfers of all skill levels. No matter what your age is or what shape you have, this surfboard is made for everyone. It has a height of 8’-10.6’. You can ride it traditionally. Once you get the hang of it, you might feel like you are walking or sliding over water. This longboard is perfect for having a leisurely surf for the experts.

4. Fish Surfboard

This surfboard is shorter and wider than Shortboards. It also has two-three fins which makes it easier to turn. The fish surfboard is usually used for slow-breaking waves and is loved by experts and moderately skilled surfers. It is usually taken for an entertaining ride.

5. Funboard

As the name suggests, this board is made only for light surfing. It has a height of 7’-8’. It falls in between the shortboard and longboard and is used only for light waves. Moderately skilled and experts use this board when they feel that they have gone out of practice. Even beginners can use this board to have a fun time out there.

6. Stand-Up Paddle Board

This is a new addition to the list of surfboards. As the name suggests, you can use the paddleboard to stand-up and surf through the waves. It has a height of 10’-12’ and is large, wide, and buoyant.

This board opens to whole new possibilities as you can see the waves coming from far and then paddle there quickly. If you are a beginner, you might have to practice a bit to use this board. Once you get used to it, this will be the most fun surfboard you will ever find!

Tips For Surfboard Shaping

Here are some tips regarding the shape and design of a surfboard, which will be useful while choosing one:

  • If the surfboard area is more, then there will be fewer chances of sinking and bogging.
  • If it has more curves in the outline, the easier for you to take a turn.
  • Longer boards will help you to paddle faster. However, there are higher chances of nose-diving, and takes a lot of effort to turn.
  • Wider surfboards are stiff and are not very efficient for high waves.
  • Rounder noses mean more lift and buoyancy.

Surfing Apparel

Going to a beach and going surfing are very two different things. If you are just going to the beach for chilling, then your attire will be different. However, for surfing, you need a specific type of costume. We will be discussing the apparel according to the water temperature.

1. Warm Water

If the temperature is quite warm, you can go for the summer look. For men, it is usually preferred to go for boardshorts or baggy shorts. These are flexible and very comfortable. However, avoid going for shorts that have an inner lining or any type of netting. This would make them balloon up, and you might end up facing a wardrobe malfunction while surfing.

For women, there are a lot of options and varieties. You can go for bikinis, one-pieces, and tankinis. Maximum surfers go for the one-piece or tankini as they provide enough security from a wardrobe malfunction. They also provide you with the necessary mobility.

Experts do go for bikinis. However, it is advised for the novice to not go for bikinis as they have to focus on their movements. The experts can easily pull off the bikinis due to their extensive practice in their movements.

2. Cold Water

Now if you find that the temperature of the water is cold, you cannot go in there with just baggies or tankinis. You will need rubber layers. This is where the wetsuits come in. Therefore, if it is winter, make sure that you grab a good wetsuit with as many layers of rubber as required.


Make sure before buying apparel that suits you perfectly. If it’s too loose or too tight, it might pose a major discomfort while surfing.

Also, make sure that your apparel has a rash guard. This will prevent you from getting any type of rashers from the water or the material of the suit. It will also protect you from getting sunburn in areas it is covered.

Surf Fitness

Like any other sports, for surfing, you need to keep your body in that perfect shape. To help you with how you can keep your surf body as it is, we will be enlisting some of the most useful exercises.

For surfing, you need to strengthen these following parts of your body:

  • Core and Balance
  • Upper Body
  • Lower Body

We will look into each of these parts and what exercises are good for them:

1. Core And Balance

For this, you can follow these exercises:

  • Squats
  • Planks
  • Squat Thrusts
  • Stability Ball Push-Ups
  • One-Leg Squat.

2. Upper Body

For the upper body you can go through these:

A. Chest

  • Bench Press
  • Flies
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Decline Bench Press
  • Dips
  • Push-Ups

B. Back

  • Close Grip Pull-Ups
  • Wide Grip Pull-Ups
  • Reverse Underhand Pull-Downs
  • Wide-Grip Pull-Downs
  • Bent-Over Rows
  • Close Grip Seated Rows
  • Wide Grip Seated Rows
  • Straight Arm Pull-Down

C. Shoulders

  • Front Deltoid Raises
  • Lateral Deltoid Raises
  • Posterior Deltoid Raises
  • Military Press, Internal Rotation
  • Internal Rotation at 90 degrees

D. Arms

  • Bicep Curl, Neutral Grip
  • Bicep Curl, Supinated Grip
  • Bicep Curl, Pronated Grip
  • Barbell Close Grip Curl
  • Barbell Wide Grip Curl
  • Preacher Curls
  • Underhand Close Grip Pull-Ups
  • Dips

3. Lower Body

For Lower Body you can go for:

  • Front Squat
  • Reverse Squat
  • Lateral Lunge
  • Reverse Lunge
  • Front Lunge
  • Front Cross-Over Lunge
  • Reverse Cross-Over Lunge

You can also opt for Yoga, as that is an excellent way to keep your fitness. The bottom line is to follow all the fitness instructions given to you in the gym or the surfing school.

Surf Diet

With fitness, you need to have a proper diet to keep you in that surfer body fit. We will be giving you a brief overview of what you can have:

1. Breakfast

For Breakfast, you can have Oatmeal, Whole-grain bread, High-fibre cereal, etc.

2. Snacks

For snacks, you can opt for Fresh Fruits, Whole-wheat English muffin, Peanut butter and banana, Energy bar, Nuts, and Vegetables.

3. After Surfing

You are bound to feel hungry after surfing; then you can go for items like Grilled chicken, Fresh fish, Fresh steamed vegetables, and Salad with grilled chicken, steak, fish, or shrimp.


Try to avoid fast food as much as you can. It contains fat and acids which are not good for your body -having a cheat day once a week is reasonable. Make sure to talk about your diet with your trainer in the surf school or at the gym. You can also talk to your dietician about it.