Breaking Bad Surfing Habits

Breaking Bad Surfing Habits

Breaking bad surfing habits is often necessary to advance. I am called by so many adults that have begun the learning process, but then find they can't advance further because they have problems. 

Precision in Surfing

The surfing process is very precise and timing is a central principal. Advanced surfers have mastered the timing of positioning for waves, paddling to catch waves, when to put their hands on the board, and when to pop up. Struggling new surfers usually have little concept of timing.

Surfing posture on the board must be precise to ride the board once the pop up is executed. Most struggling new surfers have moved into faulty postures. The main problem with their posture is they are not square on the board with their weight equal on both sides of the middle stringer. They may be surfing with one arm trailing and their butt over one rail. This causes an immediate fall. 

Choosing the Right Beginner Surf Board

Many newer surfers are not surfing with the proper board for their level of expertise. In their excitement to advance or because they found a board on sale, they surf on boards with too low a volume to accommodate their skills. New students should begin on 8' or 9' soft tops and can remain on them for at least 6 months of regular surfing. 

New students often lack the physical requirements of surfing. First is flexibility. New surfers should be flexible in their hamstrings, buttocks, and lower back. If not, they should do yoga or begin a daily stretching routine. You cannot do pop ups without flexibility. 

Body Strength for Surfing

Upper body and core strength can be a problem. Surfers have to push off the board in the water which is more difficult than practicing pop ups on the sand. Core strength is the back and the many muscles of the abdomen that are necessary for pop ups.Gym work is one solution. 

For Oceanside surf lessons, see the Home Page


See my Dry Land and in Water Demo video

For more surfing fitness information or Personal Training in Oceanside see my site

For Life Style Self-Coaching and my Guide Book see my site 9 Climb


family Surf Lessons in Oceanside

Family Surf Lessons in Oceanside

Family surf lessons in Oceanside are practical and so much fun. The point of surf lessons is to learn and be able to practice on days after the lesson.  It is a perfect family recreation.

Dry Land Lesson

The Dry Land Lesson demonstrates that the process is the same for all members of the family unless kids are under 8 years old. In the water, each member is being pushed and they are trying to follow the lessons and fundamentals learned. 

One of the advantages of surfing is everyone is riding in the same spot. New students ride in and then walk back out to waves. Everyone gets to watch each other, but pretty soon they are riding the same waves. Father and daughters riding the same waves together. 

Advancing in Lessons

As members advance, they are selecting their own waves and paddling out to catch bigger waves. They also serve as examples for each other if one gets it faster than another one. Some times parents are the best and sometimes the kids are best. Who ever learns quickest will advance. 

Water Comfort

Lessons are in shallow water so no one has to be a good swimmer although being able to swim gives students confidence in the water.  More important is that kids are used to being in the ocean from boogie boarding and are not afraid of waves or going under water. 

For Surf Lessons in Oceanside, see the Home Page


See my Dry Land and in Water Demo video

For information on surfing fitness and  Personal Training in Oceanside see my site

For Life Style Self-Coaching and my Guide Book see my site 9 Climb


Family surf lessons in Oceanside
Family surf lessons in Oceanside

Riding on the surf Board

Riding Corrrectly on the Surfboard

Riding correctly on the surfboard is important to enjoy surfing and prevent falling. Most of the beginners and intermediates that come back for a tune up are making the same errors. 

Matching the Surfboard Design

The surfboard is designed to have a surfer's weight equal on both sides of the stringer that runs down the middle of the board from nose to tail. If the surfer puts pressure on either rail or off center, the board is designed to carve. If there is too much pressure, the board will tip and surfer falls off. 

The correct riding posture is front foot across the stringer near the nose and the rear foot three feet back and perpendicular to the rails. The torso should be upright with knees flexed. The body weight should be equal on both legs. The shoulders and hips have to be squared to the front so that both hands are in front. 

3 Main Riding Posture Problems

Most of the problems surfers have in riding the surf board stem from a few problems. The most common is what I call "snowboarding" where on shoulder is back and a hand is trailing the body. This causes the butt to position over the rail putting pressure on the surfer's heels. This causes the board to flip on the surfer's butt side as soon as he is standing. 

A second problem is the surfer rides on the back of the board because he is not driving his front foot. The surfboard misses the wave and the surfer falls off the back. If the pop up is not performed correctly, the surfer might ride the back. Corrections on the fly are moving the front foot forward or shuffling forward. 

A third common mistake is the surfer leaving his hands on the board until his feet are on the board. If hands and  the front foot are on the board at the same time, the surfer will fly off the front of the board.  In the pop up, when the feet are moving under the chest, the hands are rising. When the feet  hit the board, the arms are in the air and the torso is in an upright position. 

After the pop up, if the board rides straight to the beach and it is no work staying on the board, the riding posture is correct.

For Oceanside Surf Lessons, see the Home Page


See my Dry Land and in Water Demo video

For information on how to get fit and  Personal Training in Oceanside see my site

For Life Style Self-Coaching and my Guide Book see my site 9 Climb

Riding correctly on the surfboard
Riding correctly on the surfboard

Paddling and catching surfing waves

Paddling and Catching Surfing Waves

Paddling and catching surfing waves are early techniques to master. They are two techniques that require timing. Paddling and catching surfing waves are similar with both foam and green waves. 

Paddling Fast

The first correction needed for most new students is paddling fast. Most have the instincts to paddle with slow swim strokes as they feel the wave hit the back of the surfboard.  The wave is moving at 10 to 15 mph. The surfboard has to reach the front of the wave. 

The paddling strokes have two speeds. On a foam wave, the surfer starts paddling 20 feet in front of the wave just to get some momentum. When the wave is 3 feet away he makes short, strong, fast strokes. When the wave hits the surf board, the surfer must paddle another 3 or 4 strokes to get in front of it. 

Pearling the Nose

If surfers put their hands on the surfboard before the nose is planing or stop paddling and grip the rails or go immediately into the arms extended push up position, they will push the nose under water causing a "pearl".

On a foam wave, the surfer can cruise after catching the wave if his hands are resting on the board next to his chest. The hands can keep the board balanced. On a real wave, the surfer wants to pop up soon to get weight on the back of the board so the board doesn't pearl. 

Catching Real Waves

On a real wave, the wave comes under the board and then the surfer paddles three times and pops up. If the waves are steep, he will want to aim for the pocket right away to avoid pearling. 

For Surf Lessons in Oceanside, see the Home Page


See my Dry Land and in Water Demo video

For Personal Training in Oceanside see my site

For Life Style Self-Coaching and my Guide Book see my site 9 Climb

Paddling and Catching Surfing Waves
Paddling and Catching Surfing Waves

Adults Learn to Surf

Adults Learn to Surf

Adults learn to surf for some of the same reasons young teens learn. It is on the bucket list. It looks like fun. It is a great recreation when living or visiting the ocean. It is great exercise and conditioning. All the above are true. 

Preparing for Surf Lessons

Preparation can be important. If adults are leading sedentary lives, they need to get into some practices to make their surfing experience more rewarding. Flexibility is the first hindrance assuming adults are not over weight. In the surfing pop up, the surfer assumes a modified down dog yoga pose and has to put their foot under their butt and stand up on it. 

Some upper body strength is required but more in proportion to a person's weight. There is a push up required while starting the pop up and a surfer should be able to easily do a few push ups. 

Stamina is Good for Surfing

Surfing is physically demanding and stamina to paddle and recover is important to complete a lesson. The minimum exercise should be daily walking but even better if there is some active cardio like running, biking, swimming or a treadmill. 

The best training is often gym work with a routine of squats, dead lifts, and chest presses. This gives a surfer the strength and flexibility to execute a pop up. If at the gym, the surfer added some cardio with a treadmill or other apparatus, the beginner training might be complete. 

Ride the First Wave

Many new students are executing the pop up and riding the first wave. This is dependent on having the necessary physical capabilities, listening to and memorizing the pop up sequence, and then saying it out loud while following it in the water.

The sequence is to paddle, place hands on the board in a man's push up position, push up, place a back foot on the board under your butt, stand up while driving the front foot to the nose of the  board. At this point if you are standing in the right posture, you are riding to the beach. (see Dry Land video below)

Some adults take a series of lessons although two or three is adequate if the adult has the physical capabilities. Many take a refresher lesson once a year when they visit Oceanside and then are ready to rent a board and practice on their own. 

Take Lessons with the Kids

It is fun for adults to take lessons with their mates or kids. A surf lesson can include kids from 8 years old through teens and young adults. Lessons can have as many as 6 participants. Include kids and their friends while mom and dad join in. 

Once the family has taken lessons, they can usually practice on their own and have learned a recreation they can take anywhere in the world. 

For Oceanside Surf Lessons, see the Home Page 

See my Dry Land and in Water Demo video

For Personal Training in Oceanside see my site

For Life Style Self-Coaching and my Guide Book see my site 9 Climb


Learning to Surf

How to Progress Learning to Surf

There are steps on how to progress learning to surf. Learning to surf requires patience with slow steady progress. Surfers learn to build competence with techniques, conditioning, and courage. 

The First Fundamentals

The first fundamentals serve surfers from beginners to advanced and have to be mastered. They seem simple to say, but are not as simple in the water. The first is getting positioned on the board. Most beginners take this for granted and when they are not on the board properly they turn the board over before they begin.

Surfers have to have their feet at the back of the board every time or they pearl the board (nose goes under water). They have to be straight as a pencil and equal weight on both sides of the center line or the board tips over when the wave pushes it. Chest has to be up and paddle hard or the wave takes over and pearls or turns the board sideways. 

Starting with Foam Waves and Soft Top Boards

New students need to start with foam waves and 8' or 9' soft top boards. Catching waves takes timing. When the foam wave is 20' from the surf board, the surfer rolls over on the board and starts paddling easy. He looks back and when the wave is 5' from the board he starts paddling harder. When the wave hits the board, he needs to paddle three or four times to get in front of the wave. 

Standing up is a process that has to be smooth and in the right sequence. I teach a beginner pop up that starts with catching the wave, putting hands on the board in a man's push up position, pushing up, and putting the back foot on the board flat and under the butt. This step is where many people falter. They may not have the flexibility. They don't take the time to do it right. They put their back foot on the board with only their toes and then they can't stand up.

The next step is to stand on the back foot and raise the hands. The front foot is then pushed to the front of the board and the surfer assumes the correct posture. If the surfer is not standing when the front foot hits the board and still has his hands on the board, he will fly off the front.

The Correct Posture on the Surf Board

The correct posture is feet shoulder width apart, shoulders and hips squared to the front, knees flexed, and hands in front. This makes the body's weight equal on both sides of the center line. 

After learning these fundamentals, the surfer can paddle out through the waves and turn around to catch the next wave. The better the surfer becomes at this practice, the bigger the foam waves he can ride. 

Then its time to try some real waves. Real waves can be ridden down the face or caught at the corners.  Once the surfer has learned to catch real waves he can learn to get into the pocket, pump for speed, and try some maneuvers. I have other posts that cover these techniques. 

For Oceanside Surf Lessons, see the Home Page

 See my Dry Land and in Water Demo video

For Personal Training in Oceanside see my site

For Life Style Self-Coaching and my Guide Book see my site 9 Climb

Learning to surf
Learning to surf

Beginner surfer Pop Up

Beginner Surfer Pop Up

The beginner surfer pop up is simpler than the advanced pop up because it doesn't require the surf specific muscles. Many beginners do not have strong upper bodies or core muscles and can't perform the snap required for an advanced pop up. 

The beginner surfer pop up relies on the muscles of one leg, which most people from ages 8 and up can manage. The only hindrance for beginner surfers is being over weight and lack of flexibility. Lack of flexibility can result for adults from too much sitting and no stretching. 

Training for Advanced Pop UP

The best three work outs I have found for developing surfer pop up muscles at the gym are squats, dead lifts, and chest presses. These develop legs, back, shoulders, arms, and the core. Then adding cable pulls develop the triceps and lattisimus dorsi for paddling. 

Beginner Pop Up Count

I give beginner surfers a count and ask them to say it out loud in the water as they move through the sequence of catching a wave and standing up. I have found a high success rate for those who count out lout and a high failure rate for those who don't. Those who count say it really works. 

The first count is the paddling. After I push students into their first waves, they need to paddle three times hard. When they have caught the wave, I use the word "stop" for putting their hands on the board in a man's push up position. It is so hard to get students to slow down in order to get the poise for the next move. This position needs a few seconds rest. 

Getting the Back Foot on the Board

The next two moves I combine as though one word. I say "push" and  "back foot". In these moves, the student does a push up and puts their back foot flat on the board under their butt. Failure to put the back foot flat and under their butt won't allow them to stand up on it.

The next counts are "stand" and "front foot".  Even though there are separate counts,there is a flow and momentum to the sequences. Once the back foot is on the board flat, the student is standing and moving the front foot to the nose of the board. Then the student is in the  right position on the board if he is also in the right posture. 

The Surfing Posture

The posture is the next important point. Hips and shoulders have to be squared to the front. If the student is in what I call the snowboard posture with one shoulder back and a trailing arm, they will fall off the butt side of the board. If the student still has his hands on the board when he puts his front foot on the board, he flies off the front of the board. 

It is important to land soft with the knees flexed. Locked stiff legs cause the surfer to lose balance and topple off the board at the first bump. Hands should be in front where they can be seen. 

Many students are riding on the first wave. Those who don't count out loud and follow the sequence struggle. I also find that too much thinking interferes with the natural flow of the pop up. The count slows student down from a racing mind and takes their attention off the ocean. Sometimes when I release students to catch their own waves, they stop thinking and get into the natural rhythm allowing their lizard brain to control their body as Nature intended. 

For Surf Lessons in Oceanside, see the Home Page


See my Dry Land and in Water Demo video

For Personal Training in Oceanside see my site

For Life Style Self-Coaching and my Guide Book see my site 9 Climb


Beginner surfer pop up
Beginner surfer pop up

First Steps for Beginner Surfers

First Steps for Beginner Surfers

The first steps for beginners surfers is to think about conditioning and learn the basic fundamentals. Next would be to learn and practice on a high volume surf board. Surfers can move from riding foam waves to real waves if the above three items are in alignment.

The Physical

Surfing is physically demanding both for strength and stamina. The more muscles are conditioned, the more glycogen they are holding for endurance in practice sessions. Professionals surf for a few hours every day and then visit the gym. 

One of the best single exercises is burpies with a push up. Next would be just push ups. The best all around gym fitness work is squats, dead lifts, and chest presses. Paddling is enhanced with cable pulls of all kinds. Cables can exercise the triceps, back, chest, and shoulders. 


Stamina can be developed with any aerobics. Intervals are useful because paddling is often in quick bursts. Running, biking, treadmill, swimming, and hiking are all good. Mountain biking is superb for over all body strength and stamina. 

Learning the Fundamentals

The basic fundamentals are best learned from a professional and not trying to learn on your own. The idea is to develop the correct muscle memory and bad practice creates bad habits that are difficult to break. The most difficult habit to break is when surfers want to position themselves on the surfboard like a snow boarder with one shoulder back. 

A professional can quickly train in one lesson how to get on the board properly, catch waves, and do a pop up ending in the right posture. My students are often paddling out to catch bigger foam waves and trying real waves on the first lesson. Then they can start having quality practices.

The Surf Board

A large foam surf board is the best tool for learning. I start all teens and adults on a 9' soft  top. When they can land the pop up in the center of the surfboard, they can move to an 8' soft top. Most occasional surfers could spend the rest of their lives on the 8' soft top and catch up to 7' waves. 

For Oceanside Surf Lessons, see the Home Page

For my Dry Land and in Water Demo video

First steps for beginner surfers
First steps for beginner surfers

Catching the First Real Waves

Catching the First Real Waves

Catching the first real waves after learning on foam is a phase in process. One can begin by catching the reformed waves near the beach. Or surfers can catch the smaller waves at an angle. Both require different timing than learned with foam waves. 

Starting with the Foam Waves

Foam waves are waves that have broken once on the outside and usually on a sand bottom beach as opposed to a reef. The wave rolls to the beach and often reforms into new smaller waves depending upon the bottom  contours.

Riding a soft top board on a two foot wave is a good start. The wave has to be caught as it arcs. It will lift the tail of the board and the board will race down the face. The first new sensation for the beginner is more speed. The beginner might need to think of a more aggressive posture to the front so he doesn't fall off the back from the momentum. 

The Fundamentals of Catching Real Waves

With all real waves, the surfer wants the wave to arc under the board. He does not want to paddle after it trying to get in over the top. This usually results in a crash down the face. When the wave arcs over the board, the surfer paddles hard three times and pops up. Because the board is pointed down on a real wave, getting on the board quickly usually prevents it from pearling. 

Catching Real Waves at an Angle

Catching waves at an angle in the pocket or corner is a very good way to start. As the foam comes over the lip (apex), it will break right or left. The surfer wants to be in front of the foam and in the pocket that is forming on either side. The surfer paddles at a 45 degree angle toward shore so the forming pocket comes under the board.  Three good paddles and the surfer pops up. 

After the surfer feels comfortable with both processes, he can begin hunting bigger waves. 

For Surf Lessons in Oceanside, see the Home Page

For my Dry Land and in Water Demo video

For a video on catching real waves

Catching real waves
Catching real waves

Private Surf Lessons

Why Private Surf Lessons

Private Surf Lessons can be a big advantage for learning to surf.  The group may be just you or your partner or your family. When the group is not too large, the instructor can pay more attention to you.  The dry land is not nearly as important as what happens in the water. 

The Dry Land Portion

A person wouldn't even need to be a surfer to deliver a dry land lesson. Most people don't remember the instructions once they are in the water and even the pop up they practiced has no resemblance to what they do once they are in the waves. 

It is hard to focus on the environment and the techniques of the lesson at the same time. People lose focus and resort to what their brain tells them to do, but the brain does not know how to surf. 

Focusing on the Techniques

I give students a count that takes them through the techniques of the pop up and insist they say it out loud in the water. The count slows down their racing mind and makes them focus on paddling, catching the wave, putting their hands on the board, putting their back foot on the board first, standing up, and then putting their front foot on the board. 

When people count out loud and can focus on the technique we practiced on the beach, they are riding on the first wave. When people won't memorize or say the count out loud, they have more difficulty. Some people are gifted and figure it out immediately themselves. 

I find kids that are soccer players get it quick because their brain and their feet are used to working together.  Someone who does yoga or gymnastics has the advantage of being flexible and also coordinating body movement with instructions.  Women tend to listen better than men and absorb what has to be done. 

The Reality in the Water

In the water, I find you often have to go with someone's tendencies. We all find out that regardless of the instructions, a person is going to move in a certain way that even they can't help. If you are in a big group, the instructor will generally ignore the people having too much trouble because they can't divert their attention to one person. 

I find that in a group, most people can be set free because they have learned the proper techniques so more time can be devoted to the person that is struggling. I also find that if the student doesn't give up, most everyone can stand by the end of the lesson. 

For Oceanside Surf Lessons, see the Home Page

For my Dry Land and in Water  Demo video


Beginner surfers catch real waves

Beginner Surfers Catch Real Waves

Beginner surfers catch real waves after they have mastered catching foam waves. The fundamentals are the same with the addition of a few key elements. 

Its All About the Timing

The beginner surfer learns timing on foam waves. The timing is getting on the surfboard or turning around before the foam wave arrives. The surfer paddles easy to get the board moving. When the foam wave is close, the surfer paddles hard until after the wave has hit and the surf board is in front of the wave. 

On a real wave, the timing window closes. The surfer gets in position where he knows the waves are arcing. When he spots a wave he wants to ride, he judges where he has to have his surfboard as the wave arcs. Then he places and paddles his board so the wave will arc under the board. 

When to Paddle

Once the tail is lifted, it only takes about three powerful strokes to start the board down the face. As the board drops, the surfer executes his pop up. The next move is to ride it in or make a bottom turn to catch the pocket. If the waves are closing out, the surfer has to get into the pocket to stay ahead of the falling lip. 

Beginners surfers often try to paddle in over the top as the wave passes. This is too late. If they catch it, they might just drop down the face nose first. Learning to let it roll under the board takes some courage. The mistake that occurs is the wave breaks on top of the surfer. 

Ways to learn are to watch other surfers. Watch videos. Read instructions on catching waves. 

For Oceanside Surf Lessons, see the Home Page

For a video on Catching Real Waves


Get in Shape to Surf

Get in Shape to Surf

Get in  shape to surf and sessions will last longer and be more fun. In Oceanside surf lessons, we use soft top boards to make learning to surf easier, but it is still physically demanding. 

Stamina is Important

Surfing requires stamina as paddling is the most tiring aspect. Strength to paddle is important in order to get in front of waves. Upper body gym work and especially pulling cables is good. Chest presses, squats, and dead lifts help strengthen the chest, core, legs, and back. 

Stamina can be increased with any aerobics and adding intervals helps with the quick bursts needed for paddling into waves. Recovery is important so low impact long duration aerobics work like nice walks,  bike rides, and tread mill. 

Flexibility is Important

Flexibility is important.  Touching the floor with hands and straight knees is a good indication. What gets tight are hamstrings, buttocks, and lower back. Obviously yoga is good. Squats and dead lifts also help with these muscles. Standing on one leg and extending the other holding the toes is a good exercise for loosening buttocks and hamstring muscles.

Strength, flexibility, and stamina are all useful to learn surfing. Many exercises can give you pieces of the total pie. Getting active is also important for a higher quality life style.

For Oceanside Surf Lessons, see the Home Page

For my Dry Land and in Water Demo video

To improve the quality of your life style through fitness and vitality see my website

Get in Shape to Surf
Get in Shape to Surf

Fitness for Surf Lessons

Fitness for Surf Lessons

Fitness for surf lessons determines how well you can perform techniques and how long you are able to effectively paddle to catch waves. In the beginner surf lesson pop up, students have to place their foot under their butt and stand up on it.  This requires a little flexibility that many overweight and sedentary people find difficult. 

It Could be Called Paddling Instead of Surfing

Surfing requires paddling to catch waves and then paddling to ride out through waves. Swimmers are used to lots of strokes and their muscles store the additional glycogen for endurance. Those who don't exercise upper body muscles have no glycogen stores and therefore less endurance fuel. 

One of the best paddlers I have seen paddled strong for a two hour lesson. I asked him what he did for exercise and he said he worked out in his gym at work for an hour and a half every day.  Overall stamina is good and I find soccer players, gymnasts, and triathletes also come to the sport with endurance. 

Learning  Ease is Important

The techniques of surfing require listening and being able to get the body to do as you instruct. I have students count each step out loud in the waster to over come their tendency to worry about the environment over what they should execute. Students who are in regular practice of learning new movementes with their bodies are able to translate more easily. 

Girls usually learn better than boys. They listen more intently and do not have as many egotistical blockers telling them they can figure it out on their own. The techniques are counter-intuitive at the beginning so students have to be willing to surrender their egos to learn the right process and steps. 

Cross Training

Cross training for surfing is beneficial. Training in the gym for upper body with cable pulls is helpful for paddling. Over all core strength through squats and dead lifts are excellent. An aerobic exercise like biking, running, or treadmill builds stamina and recovery. 

For Oceanside Surf Lessons, see the Home Page

For my Dry Land and in Water Demo video

For Coaching on Life Style or Personal Training see my site

To buy my book, Life Style Self-Coaching,  The Good Life Plan, 

Fitness for Surf Lessons
Fitness for Surf Lessons

Women Love Surf Lessons

Why Do Women Love Surf Lessons

Why Do Women Love Surf Lessons? It is a new world and women are free to do everything men enjoy. Girls start a fascination with surfing in their early teens. In posts I write and post on FaceBook, the largerst audience is girls 13 ro 15 years old. 

Boys also like surfing, but they are more inclined to go with their buddies or learn on their own. Surfing may be the most difficult sport to learn on ones own I have learned to ski and snow board and found it important to occasionally take lessons, but surfing is more difficult to get started. 

Women Enjoy Coaching

Women like to be coached and respond well.  In my surf lesson groups, I find that women usually listen best and and follow instructions best. Boys may be more naturally athletic and they also want to rely on their instincts more than have to follow directions. 

I find that through the duration of a surf lesson, the women in the groups will stick close to the coach to gleen every bit of information necessary to perfect their effort. Boys want to be on their own as soon as possible. They would rather have difficulties on their own than be told how to succeed. 

Women Learn New Things Well

What I find, is that after boys have struggled and see others in their group surfing, they will open up to suggestions and decide that they can't progress without knowing and following the techniques.

Women Want to Be Free

Women love the independence of being able to visit and utilize the ocean to enjoy Mother Nature.  It is great exercise. It is healthy. It builds self-esteem. It is a great conversation piece.It is a source of entertainment on any vacation. It would allow them to accompany any men they meet into the ocean. 

Let's go women!

For Oceanside Surf Lessons, see the Home Page

For a video on my Dry Land and in Water Demo

Why women love surf lessons
Why women love surf lessons

Surfing Lifestyle

Surfing is a Lifestyle

Surfing is a lifestyle and culture that has captured the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world. You can take lessons in California, Mexico, Hawaii, Bali, Thailand, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Australia and France to name a few.

The Lure of Surfing

What is it that attracts people to surfing? The deep bond is created with a connection new students or surfers feel immediately with Mother Nature. It is almost like getting in a tank and swimming with Flipper. What I love to see most is students become comfortable in the ocean dealing with waves. 

New student's appreciation soars when after learning how to ride and catch their own waves, I teach them to paddle through waves and turn around to catch waves. This is the first time they really get to feel the waves on their surfboard as they rock and roll, duck, and decide which waves to ride. Once students enter this phase, the love is usually sealed. 

Learning to Become One with the Ocean

The ocean is powerful and new surfers learn immediately to be humble and how insignificant they are compared to the ocean's power. And yet, here they are toying with it and using the ocean's power as they blend with it to ride like a bird in the wind. 

On big wave days in Oceanside when waves are over 8', it is a marvel to see small dots on the waves that are surfers harnessing the power to have fast wonderful rides. Waves in other lands, of course, are much larger and surfers are up to the challenge testing their abilities and courage. 

No Limits to Personal Growth

Surfing allows limitless growth. So far, there are no ceilings except your own. With so much resistance we face in our daily lives trying to rise to the top, surfing allows us to express ourselves without politics or rules limiting our ascension. There is no one saying "no" you can't do that. 

It is total freedom. How many things in our lives allow us to do what we want? When you are out on the water with your surfboard in the sun on a warm day, there is no place in the world you would rather be. It is the freedom of an artist with a canvas or a musician with an instrument. It is more freedom than you probably experience in most situations in your life. 

Surfing Encourages Discovering Who We Are

It develops the body, mind and spirit. Surfing is extremely physical. It is challenging to learn the proper techniques. You feel the unity of your body, soul, and Mother Nature (Universe) when you spend a few hours in the ocean. 

Surfers are "chill" because this experience and freedom creates a perspective about everything else. Surfers enter the water in the morning before work and their day is made. The restraints they are forced to observe at work has been balanced by the freedom they experience in their personal lives.

Extreme athletes and other recreation enthusiasts like hikers and mountain bikers seek this same freedom. Seeking self-exploration, adventure, challenge, adrenaline, and risk become a lifestyle that balances the stress and restraint we have to face in the other parts of our life that draw us back and make the experience central to who we are. 

For Oceanside Surf Lessons, see the Home Page

For a video on Riding Real Waves

Surfing is a lifestyle
Surfing is a lifestyle

Lessons for Surfing Foam Waves

Lessons for Surfing Foam Waves

Oceanside surf lessons specializes in teaching beginners how to surf in foam waves. This is where a new beginner learns the fundamentals and progress to real waves as fast as they are capable. 

Learn the Fundamentals

The fundamentals of surfing are balancing the board while catching a wave, standing up on the board and getting the right posture and position on the board to ride.  The best instrument to learn these fundamentals is a big soft top surf board. 

If a new student listens to the techniques and can get their mind and body to follow them, they can be surfing real waves in one lesson. Students have different learning abilities. In a group, one may get it on the first run and another may not get it at all. 

The Four Difficulties of Learning to Surf

Students have four difficulties. They often cannot get their balance right on the board to catch waves. They often cannot get the timing right to catch waves. They man not learn the exact sequence to get up on the board and fumble before they can stand. They don't get the right posture on the board and fall as soon as they are up. 

Few new students realize how many components go into riding the board to the beach. It is not easy. Each step follows in a process. Leave out a fundamental or a step and the process may fall apart. This is where in water coaching is necessary. Most of the time, students, overwhelmed by the environment, aren't aware of what their body is doing. 

The Count is a Secret

I give students a count to say out loud that takes them through each step so they don't have to think. All they have to do is remember the steps in the count and say them out loud as they proceed. Everyone who does it says it works. 

For Surf Lessons in Oceanside, see the Home Page

For my video on Dry Land and in Water Demo

Lessons for Surfing Foam Waves
Lessons for Surfing Foam Waves

Easy to Learn Surf Method

Easy to Learn Surf Method

The Easy to Learn Surf Method is the fastest way for beginners to learn to surf. It is a simple process with four steps. Yet, if students have a hard time learning new dance steps, new aerobic routines, or any new physical movements, they may have difficult. 

Surfing is the only board sport where the participant begins lying down on the board. To get to the proper position on a nice designed product for performance in surfing waves, the new student has to be precise in their movements. The surf board is a delicate instrument that reacts to the placement of weight on the rails or any place on or off center.

The advanced pop up begins as all pop ups with paddling to catch a wave, placing the hands on the board in a man's push up position, pushing up, and the popping both feet to the right spots on the surf board. 

Almost 50% of students can't accomplish the first three things in the water: paddling until they catch a wave, placing their hands on the board in a man's push up position, and then pushing evenly. Without these three processes, what happens next is of little consequence. 

Catching a wave takes patience and power. Most beginners want to pop up as soon as they feel  the foam wave impact the board from behind. They are not willing to paddle the three or four paddles necessary to get the board in front of the wave. Secondly, they want to go a pushed up position with both hands on the rails instead of putting them next to their chest and pushing up evenly. 

The beginner pop up requires the first three steps. Then the surfer puts their back foot on the board flat and under their butt. They stand up on this leg as they raise their hands and drive the front foot to the front of the board. Most students like to keep their hands on the board until both feet have landed. This places their head in front of their forward foot and they are leaning over toward the nose. They immediately fly off the front of the board. 

The proper riding posture is feet shoulder width apart with the front foot over the middle line and at a 45 degree angle facing forward. The torso has to be upright when the front foot lands. The weight has to be equal on front and back legs. The shoulders and hips have to be square to the front. Finally the knees need to be flexed so the ride is soft. 

It sounds simple, but it is difficult to execute in the water and impossible if students can execute the steps in order. 

For Surf Lessons in Oceanside, see the Home Page

For my video on Dry Land and in Water Demo

easy to learn surf method
easy to learn surf method

Selecting Surf Boards

The Right Surf Boards to Learn

The right surf boards to learn surfing, have a lot of volume. Volume makes paddling easier, catching waves easier and riding the surf board easier. This is why instructors use soft top boards. The other advantage is they don't hurt beginners when they hit them. 

Starting on the Soft Tops

In Oceanside Surf Lessons, we start teens and adults on 9' soft top boards and younger kids on 8' soft top boards. Consideration is given to how much board the student can paddle and the body composition of the student.  The larger the person, the bigger board they will need. 

Many kids fantasize about riding short boards like they see in the movies or out in the surf at the beach as advanced surfers rip the waves. What they don't see is that surfers with 8' soft tops can ride 7' waves and do most of the tricks as the other surfers. 

Why an 8' Soft Top

The advantage of the 8' soft top is it makes surfing easier until surfers are ready to step to shorter boards. Even then, the step down should be 6" at a time while maintaining width and thickness of bigger boards. Stepping down too fast only increases frustration and shortens surfing sessions. Shorter boards with less volume are much harder to paddle. 

Another advantage of soft top boards is they can catch foam waves for beginners and catch real waves anytime the surfer is ready. Its a progression that some can make in one lesson, but most need a few lessons to achieve. A foam wave rolls for a while and it is easy to get in front. A real wave forms in a few seconds and timing is much more difficult.

Moving to Real Waves

On soft top boards, surfers first learn to catch foam waves and then paddle out and turn around to catch bigger foam waves. In this process, they can start looking for real waves that have reformed and learn the necessary timing. By this time, beginners have to have mastered all the fundamentals learned in the first lesson. 

For Oceanside Surf Lessons, see the Home Page

For my video on Dry Land and in Water Demo


Surf Lessons

Oceanside Beginner Surf Lessons

Oceanside beginner surf lessons are just the start of a life long adventure. There are so many concepts and techniques not evident when you watch an expert surf easily in the movies.

Surfing is very physical. It is all about timing. There are specific techniques that have to be performed almost perfectly. The surfboard is a small object in the ocean designed for precise weight placement in order for it to stay level and perform. It has to have precise interaction with wave forces or it turns over.

The First Surfing Fundamental

The first fundamental is how to lie on and paddle the surf board so it stays level, goes straight, gets in front of a wave, and can then be mounted. Feet have to be in the back of the board or it easily pearls (nose goes under water).  Surfer has to have chest up as they paddle. Paddling has to be fast to get in front of the wave. 

Once the board is in front of the wave, the surfer executes a pop up that keeps the board balanced and places his weight so it is equal on both sides of the center line. The front foot is near the nose and the back foot at the tail, shoulder width apart. 

Mastering the Pop Up

Most  important in the pop up is that the shoulders and hips are squared to the front of the board with the hands out in front. If one arm is trailing, like a snow or skateboarder, the surfer falls off on the butt side. There is a sequence to the pop up. The surfer catches the wave, puts hands on the board, pushes up, and then moves the back foot under their butt and stands on it. At the same time he is standing, he raises his arms and drives the front foot forward to the middle of the board. 

Why Surf Lessons?

A reason surf lessons are important is that students learn all this information in the dry land portion and remember none of it in the water. They have to be coached to do one step at a time, stay balanced, and not rush. 

For Oceanside Surf Lessons see the Home Page

For my Dry Land and in Water Demo video

Oceanside Beginner Surf Lessons
Oceanside Beginner Surf Lessons

Two Hour Surf Lessons

What You Learn in Two Hour Surf Lessons

You can learn a lot in two hour Oceanside surf lessons. First you have to master the fundamentals. Then you learn to paddle out through waves to catch bigger ones. Finally you can learn to ride real waves and carve. 

Start with the Fundamentals

The first four fundamentals are first paddling straight balanced on the surf board. Second is learning to catch waves. Third is standing up on the surf board with the beginner pop up. Fourth is riding the surf board in the right posture and stance.

There is a lot to learn and it isn't always easy. The better physical shape a student is in, the easier it is. Surfing is physical. Upper body strength, core strength, flexibility, stamina, and good body composition all help. 

Paddling Through Waves

Once a student has learned the basics, they can start paddling through waves to get the next ones. This is where students learn to judge which waves they could ride and how to handle their surf boards among the waves. At this point the student is learning how to turn around, judge the arrival of the next wave, and then putting together the first four fundamentals. 

Catching Real Waves

Further progress is made by learning to catch small real waves and how to carve on the ride in on foam waves. Paddling is the most tiring aspect of surfing and after two hours, students arms and shoulders are very tired. Time for lunch and a nap. 

For Oceanside Surf Instructions, see the Home Page

For my Dry Land and in Water Demo video

Two hour surf lessons
Two hour surf lessons