Learning to surf is not easy. It requires lots of perseverance and patience. Everything involved in the learning process is important. From the surfer, to the coach, to the beach, the waves, the water temperature, the winds and of course, the equipment used.
Surf schools (as https://www.pacificsurf.org) all around the world tend to use longboards or soft-top funboards to teach their beginner surfers and there is a reason why. Those type of boards have a good amount of foam and this translates to more buoyancy and flotation, which makes things easier for learning. For your first waves, you will want a board that paddles easily. One that is stable when you try and stand up; longboards and latter funboards will help you a lot. If you can, choose a soft-top board, you will feel more confident knowing that the craft you are riding won’t hurt you bad if it hits your body. They are lighter and have even more flotation than a normal PU board.
But if you don’t want to surf on a longboard forever?
Well, your coach will tell you the moment to make the transition to a shorter board and will assist you to find the correct new board for your next level of surfing. This is going to be based on your height and weight. For most size and weight categories you will have two choices. The best choice for you will be based on your surfing goals. If you are just wanting to have fun, then go with a longer one. If you are surfing for the challenge of it and intend on moving down in board size as fast as possible, then go with a shorter one. Picking the right board is paramount to your enjoyment level and rate of improvement.
As I said before, surfing is one of the toughest sports to learn. In the beginning, the speed at which you learn how to surf will be in direct proportion to the number of waves you can catch. It is all about wave count and the more waves you can catch the better. But this is not all, having good coaches and an inviting environment is crucial.
There are things that we cannot control, like water temperature for example. If you go to San Diego you will be able to learn under a pleasant sun and air temperature. The water is not so cold, which makes things more comfortable and you will be very keen to surf all the time. But, if you live in Maine or Washington, then cold air and water will make things harder. The thicker the wetsuit, the harder to move, so it is easier to learn on warmer places and at summer time.
How to choose the correct surfing school?
Choosing the correct surfing school is the most important thing in my opinion. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of them around the country. Check with them if the instructors have the certifications needed and what is their experience. Also talk to other beginners if they are liking the classes and decide. Sometimes is better to drive a couple more miles than going to that one place close to home, you learning curve can be very different from place to place.
Besides everything you are going to learn with your coaches, please keep your mind free from worries. Give your best at every instruction, focus on what you are doing. Pay attention to the moves you need to do, don’t think about the next one before you have complete the first. There will be other people who are gonna be doing better than you, sometimes they have even started a couple days after you. Never let this put you down. People are different, we have our own characteristics and everyone has a time to learn things. Maybe you can learn mathematics much faster than that boy who is surfing better than you on the first days. Take your time and you will get wherever you want to, just never give up.