N: 43° 50′ 55.212″ W: 1° 21′ 31.73″
Before we begin I (Chris) feel it is important to mention that reading this article will not exclusively be able to teach you to surf. I by no means think that a quick glance over my anecdotes will set you in good standing for comps at Pipe Masters.Treat this article kind of like those videos on YouTube that teach you how to swim, informative but by no means definitive. To learn how to swim one must actually be immersed in water rather than on ones couch and to surf one must actually try to surf. Once you try it, I promise you will never stop.
Finding the Balance – The Basic Introduction to Surfing
I was in Barbados recently and had paddled out for a quick morning shred when I got chatting to a local guy in the line-up who happened to be a surf instructor. While I bumbled around the white water watching the locals tare the Pacific a new one, we got chatting. He told me that all too often, tourists were rocking up to his surf shack looking for lessons. Apparently, they would wait until they had paddled out beyond the swell to inform him that they could in fact not swim. Therefore I stress, please do not read this article and then learn to surf if you cannot swim. Unless you’re in Barbados then I know an instructor that will find it hilarious.
How to Start Surfing
I was recently on a surf trip to Moliets and was consistently asked by curious onlookers if it is even possible to ‘just start surfing’. The honest and somewhat obvious answer is no, but you can definitely start trying, Like anything else, surfing only becomes easier through repeated attempts of falling flat on your face and walking right back on out. Well in this context, paddle out. Surfing is intense but unbelievably rewarding and therefore is something that requires patience, fortitude and a thick wetsuit.
To me the best way to start surfing is to fall in love with the culture in which you are aspiring to join before you even get to the beach. By this I do not mean that you need to buy a Billabong t-shirt and dye your hair Sol-Cal blonde. Instead, watch Surf Cinema, listen to the music of Dick Dale and The Tornadoes, follow the WSL events. That way when your battling against the current you will know exactly what the end product looks and feels like.
Where Should I Learn How to Surf ?
The best way to get to know the culture of surfing and learn to surf is to go on a surf camp. Dreamsea and Star offer great opportunities to grab some gear and head out for your first surf under the supervision of expert surfers. The waves in Moliets are calm and the white wash is minimal when flags are down. However, what they truly excel at is creating a perfect vibe for settling into a new sport. Live music nights, communal dinners, road trips and skate ramps can all be found at the camp and will certainly be a warm welcome to the surf community you are now a part of.
Warm waters are always your friend and a beach with a surf break close to shore will allow you to return to shore quickly to high five your mates once you catch your first wave. It will also remove the intimidation factor of being far out at sea or being unable to see the coastline. The beaches of Biaritz offer a long enough stretch of land that the waters never get to busy so you can take your time learning and the shore is mad close to the break. There is also a beautiful building that stands overlooking the swells that really does add to the atmosphere of your surf.
Find the balance between sport and relaxation. Don’t rush or dillydally, don’t overthink or zone out. Surfing is largely about finding the natural balance and just going along with the wave. In reality, the best surfers aren’t in control either, they are just masters of interpreting the ocean and making it look like they know what she’s going to do.