how do i get better at surfing?

Surfing is high up on everyone’s list of things to try, but it’s not something you can do without some practice. The challenge in surfing is that you’re setting out to try it without knowing whether or not you’ll take to it with ease, and with that comes a fear of failure.

At surfing Croyde Bay a Croyde surf school we believe the fear of failing shouldn’t stop you from trying something new. Taking the time to take a surf lesson and learn a new skill can be highly rewarding, and surfing is a skill that takes a lot of practice. Nobody has ever jumped on a surfboard and become a natural just like that, but here are so useful hints and tips that will make that first attempt that much easier.

Don’t go it alone

No matter how easy you think it might be, you should always have someone at your side when you’re learning how to surf. Whether it be an experienced friend or as part of a class, making sure you have someone with you to show you the ropes is vital to ensure you don’t cause yourself injury.

And if you do decide to take a class, make sure you research the best teacher for you. Having a good teacher is the difference between surfing feeling like a task and surfing being something to be inspired by.

The bigger the better

When starting out, it’s better to have a big surfboard as it’ll help you develop the fundamental skills and mechanics of surfing much more easily than a smaller board. An added bonus is that the bigger the board, the more waves you’ll catch, so it’s a win-win all round for any beginner. It’s also worth noting that in the beginning, you’ll be sitting much more often than you’ll be standing, so having a soft-top surfboard is a much more comfortable and much safer choice than the more flashy alternatives.

Choose the right beach

You’ll need a beach that is appropriate for surfers who are just starting out, which means finding one with waves that don’t get too wild. Start with the smaller waves, and you’ll be steadily building yourself up in no time.

Remember – it’s also important to stretch and make sure everything is in order before you get into the water. Watch other people, copy their techniques. You’ll be doing this even when you’re an expert surfer.

Pace yourself

You might want to jump in and start straight away, but getting carried away will only result in an injury, which will mean less time in the water later on. Take your time, don’t bite off more than you can chew, and don’t get tangled up with the big dogs who have been surfing for years. Your safety, and the safety of others around you, should always come first.


Paddling is more important than you might think, and the key to doing it successfully is to maintain a good rhythm. It’s more exhausting than you might think.

Falling, and getting back up again

It’s inevitable. You’re going to fall. A lot. Knowing that before you get into the water will do wonders for your confidence. While you might walk away with some bruises, it’s all part of the surfing experience, and each time you fall, you’re one step closer to staying upright.

Bend your knees

While bending your back might feel like it makes more sense, it’s better to bend your knees. Bending your back is not a good look, and you’ll never become an expert if you’re doing it that way.

Keep perpendicular to the whitewater

When a breaking wave is coming towards you, you can either duck or paddle over as quickly as possible. Whichever you choose, the second the wave breaks you must stay perpendicular to the part of the wave that is breaking. If you don’t you’ll be dragged under the water towards shore.

Have fun

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Surfing is most likely a hobby for you – and hobbies are supposed to be fun! Let the failures and the successes be part of the experience and remember that the best surfer out there is the one having fun.

Book a surfing trip

While it doesn’t have to be anywhere too crazy, there’s nothing like living in the surfing world as a way to get better at it. When you do nothing except eat, sleep, breathe, and surf, you’ll find yourself improving in leaps and bounds. So get on out to where the waters warm and the waves are plenty – you’ll be happy you tried it.