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Montezuma Costa Rica surfing, surf camps, surf retreats, lessons, surfboards

Learning to Surf

Beginner's surf lesson

Surfing in the beautiful waters of Costa Rica is a hobby indulged by many. With the perfect waves and amazing climate, Costa Rica is a hot spot for thousands of surfers annually. With so many participating, it’s no surprise that surfing can be a ton of fun, and a great way to stay in shape, too. Learning how to surf can be difficult, but there are a few key steps to follow in order to start riding the waves.

1) Balance

Balance is essential to surfing, so learning how to control your weight on the board will be vital to increasing your skill level. To begin, every new surfer needs to get a feel for the board. As many experienced surfers will tell you, the bigger the board, the easier it is to balance, so finding the right board type to start out with is a key component. Once a larger, more suitable board is picked, balancing should be tried on land first, so as to avoid any mishaps in the water.

With the board on the sand, stand on the board with your front foot a few inches ahead of the middle, and the back foot a few inches behind. This stance will provide the most control over the board, as it places the weight in the center, giving you the best position. Keep in mind, a surfer can have either their left or right foot in front, depending on which is more comfortable. Make sure to try both to see which is best suited for you.

Once the stance is understood, note that surfing involves lots of turning, all of which is dependent on shifting the body’s weight. This will require a considerable amount of balance, but this will be learned overtime. For now, only the initial balanced should be of concern.

2) Paddling Out

To begin some trials, you will need to paddle out into the water, making sure to approach the area where the waves are breaking. To paddle, you need to lay stomach-down on the board, and use your arms to get past the waves until a calm area is reached. Your legs should be laying flat and back towards the end of the board, as they will provide balance as you paddle out.

3) Catching A Wave

Once you’ve reached your spot, it’s time to wait for a wave. Spotting a good wave to catch requires some skill and patience, but catching the right waves is key to surfing. Looking out into the water, you’ll see waves start to build. The size and speed of the wave will often determine where and when it will break, so this takes time to learn. However, once the breaking of the wave is understood, catching one will be easy to pick up.

The best method for catching a wave will be to look for one about 10 to 20 feet away, as it begins to rise. Once it is established that a wave is coming, you need to begin paddling your board towards the beach, while laying on your stomach. As the back of the board begins to rise upwards with the wave, it’s time to pop up and stand.

Popping up is usually the hardest part for many new surfers, as it requires a quick shift of balance and weight, and can throw many people off guard. To practice, it’s best to try and pop up from stomach to feet on land, practicing the move, and establishing the necessary steps to get from paddling to surfing.

Once the pop up has been mastered, it’s time to ride the wave. Planting your feet in the proper position, your balance should remain over the board at all times. This will allow your body to stay in line with the board, keeping your center of gravity in the right position. Leaning will allow you to turn, but this should only be done once the riding balance has been learned properly.

Once you’ve popped up and planted your feet in the right position, all you need to do is maintain your balance, and that’s it! You’re now riding a wave. It will take many runs to get the balance down right, but practice will always make perfect.

4) Notes For Beginners

There are a few things to keep in mind when learning to surf. The first is that practice will pay off, but patience is required. This should go without saying, but trying any new activity will be difficult at first. With plenty of effort though, anyone can go from novice to intermediate in no time at all. You only need to focus and continue trying.

Also, be aware that surfing can be dangerous, so it’s best to approach the sport as cautiously as possible to avoid any serious injury. Making sure you find a spot that isn’t too crowded, and with waves that are generally smaller, is a great way to start. Being that Costa Rica has many surfing outlets, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a beginner’s area. Also, having an experienced surfer with you to help out is a great idea. Someone more advanced can provide useful tips along the way, so you can learn faster.

Finally, it’s best not to become overzealous. Riding that first wave will certainly be a thrill, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready to ride with the big boys. Make sure you practice at the appropriate level before moving up to avoid any possible injury or dangerous scenarios. Many people injure themselves every year in surfing because they overestimated their abilities.

Learning to surf is a great experience as it’s fun and very rewarding. Costa Rica has plenty of beaches for surfing, covering beginners and advanced surfers of all types. Following these tips can help you become a surfer in no time, as all it takes is patience and effort. Approaching the sport with these attributes will lead to a great time and anew hobby, as surfing is fun for anyone, and a a great benefit to your physical and mental health.