Have you always wanted to really paddle across the sea? The next perfect wave is yours. We asked a professional surfer how you’re learning to surf this summer
Drie warm sun on your skin, the fresh sea air breathe, jump on the surfboard, riding the perfect wave, forget everything around you and just enjoy the moment – surfing is one of the most beautiful, but it is also one-to-learn the most difficult Sports.
Especially as a beginner, you often do not know which wave is the right one, you keep falling off the board and being washed ashore by the sea. We asked the professional surfer and Lululemon ambassador Malia Manuel why it is worth learning this great sport, what tricks it works with and what you have to pay attention to when it comes to equipment.
5 reasons every woman should learn to surf
Before you start learning, a few points to motivate you in case the sea and the sun are not enough:
1. Surfing clears your mind
It’s like meditation in motion. All everyday stresses, worries and problems fall away from you when you set foot in the sea. “Everything seems to be far away, because you are completely occupied with the waves,” says Malia Manuel. You are in the moment and forget everything around you – which is sometimes really difficult for many.
2. Surfing improves fitness
As soon as you swing on the board, your entire body starts to move: When you paddle, you train your arms, shoulders and chest muscles. When getting up on the board, the thigh and gluteal muscles are particularly challenged and as soon as you ride the wave, your core muscles work at full speed.
Over time you will notice how your body feeling improves, you get more and more body tension, become fitter, leaner and more muscular. The best part is that you don’t even notice that surfing is really exhausting, simply because it’s so much fun.
3. Surfing never gets boring
What you will quickly learn while surfing: No day is like the previous one, no wave is like the other and no surf spot has the same conditions – surfing is never boring. The sea always presents you with new challenges and even those who have already gained experience will certainly never stop learning on the board.
4. Surfing makes you happy
Beginners in particular quickly celebrate success at the beginning. As soon as you have experienced the happiness of riding a wave when the adrenaline rushes into your blood and the endorphins put a big grin on your face – then you will understand why so many fall into surfing. “And the feeling of being exhausted but overjoyed after a great day of surfing is irreplaceable anyway,” says surfer Malia.
5. You will meet new people by surfing
The surf community is a very open-minded and helpful group of people who are crazy about sports. If not already on the beach, when you are floating in the water and waiting for the next wave, you will start talking to other surfers. Whether it turns into a nice small talk, a buddy for the next trip or a best friend for life – anything is possible when surfing.
How long does it take to learn to surf?
How long it actually takes to get on the board for the first time depends on various factors. “Surf conditions – size and quality of the waves, fitness level, physique, equipment and your own motivation play a decisive role for the first surf success,” says the expert.
Usually surfing students with a certain basic fitness can get up on the board and slide a few meters in the first 2 days of the course in white water, i.e. on broken waves. Students who are a little less athletic usually make it within the first week of the course. In the second week of the course, sporty beginners can usually surf green, i.e. unbroken waves.
How quickly success can be achieved also depends to a large extent on how individual the supervision of the surf instructor is. Therefore, make sure that you come in a small group for the surf course. Because your surf instructor can take care of 4 to 5 students much better than double the number. In no case try to teach yourself to surf. This is not only dangerous, it also takes significantly longer than with a surf instructor or in a surf camp.
Instructions: paddle properly
Paddling might sound boring at first, but it is the most important thing to start the wave ride. “Only with the good paddling technique will you have enough speed to keep up with the speed of the wave,” says Malia Manuel. If you paddle too slowly, you miss the thrust of the wave. And if you paddle incorrectly and uncontrollably, you are quickly exhausted and at the crucial moment no longer has enough strength and concentration for the so-called take-off.
Therefore: Build up body tension – from the upper body, over the hands, buttocks to the calves. The legs are close together and should not hang from the board. You place the breastbone about two-thirds of the length of your board (for orientation: on many surfboards the manufacturer’s logo is exactly at this point), lift your upper body slightly from the board and make long pulls with your arms parallel to the outer edge of the board, as when swimming in the crawl. In doing so, stretch your arms straight forward, plunge in and pull them all the way back. You hold your fingers together and build tension in your hand. This gives you good resistance in the water and allows you to move faster.
Instructions: How do you manage to get up?
“When you try to get up for the first time, it is advisable to choose a broken wave that still has enough thrust to push it in front of you,” advises surfer Manuel. To do this, position your board so that the tip points towards the beach and then paddle Come on.
Now comes the crucial moment: As soon as you feel the swing of the wave under the board, you do another 2 to 3 quick but controlled crawls and only then place your hands below your chest. Then you push your upper body up as with a push-up and at the same time pull your feet forward under the body (do not jump!) And stand up a little more than hip-width apart. From this crouching position you can push yourself up with the strength of your legs and at the same time release your hands from the board.
The best training is useless if mistakes creep in that prevent success. Here are the most common:
1. Expectations too high
Many beginners believe that they will surf a green wave for seconds in the first session. If it doesn’t work the first few times, they get frustrated quickly and give up before they really start. That’s why the top rule is: be patient and lower your expectations. It takes time to get a feel for the sea, the board and the right timing.
2. Going it alone
Book a surf instructor, a week in the surf camp or find an experienced surfer who will teach you to surf. Even if you would like to jump into the surf with the board immediately after reading this article, you prefer to leave it alone.
Aside from the right surfing technique, an experienced surfer will explain everything you need to know before going into the water: how to recognize and make a good surf spot, good waves and dangerous rip currents (currents that pull you into the open sea) familiarize yourself with the right of way rules among surfers.
3. The wrong equipment
A board that is too small, a bikini that keeps slipping, a wetsuit that is too wide – the wrong equipment can distract you, unsettle you and take away the fun of surfing. Therefore, get extensive advice in the surf shop before your first wave ride. “The more comfortable you feel with your equipment, the better you can concentrate on surfing and the faster you make progress in the water,” says Malia Manuel.
4. No sun protection
Concerned that they might not come back from their summer vacation tanned, some people like to do without sunscreen while surfing or use a cream with a sun protection factor that is too low. But if you are exposed to the sun all day without protection (even if it is a little cloudy), you risk sunburn and skin damage. Waterproof creams with a sun protection factor of 30 or 50 are therefore mandatory. Surfing with sunburn is anything but fun, and it is distracting again.
Equipment: what do I need? What do you have to consider the equipment?
The basic equipment for surfer girls consists of a surfboard and bikini. If you don’t go surfing in tropical temperatures, you should also get a wetsuit. When choosing the right bikini, surfboard and wetsuit, there are a few things to consider:
The right surfboard
The length and width of the surfboard should primarily suit your ability. Padded beginner foam boards are ideal for beginners who want to get a feel for the board first. They are a little more voluminous than normal surfboards and offer a lot of stability, are easy to paddle and glide well. Because of its high volume, even small waves can be surfed right up to the beach. Those who are a little more advanced can use a longboard or a funboard.
However, there is no general rule for determining the right surfboard, so ask at the surfboard rental, surf shop or an experienced surf instructor. No matter which board you choose: Always make sure that the board has a leash, i.e. a connecting line between the board and ankle. The leash is the lifeline between you and the board and since you will often fall into the water, especially at the beginning, the leash is even more important.
The perfect bikini
A perfectly fitting bikini is a very good investment so that you don’t have to think about everything that should be covered every time you jump on the board and don’t have to adjust everything after every wave.
“Tops with crossed straps on the back usually offer more support than simple straps,” says the expert. Bikini bottoms should fit tightly without constricting. If you want to be on the safe side, opt for a long-sleeved swimsuit or wear surf shorts or a shirt about the bikini.
The ideal wetsuit
It is particularly important at lower temperatures. “The thickness of the wetsuit depends on the air and water temperatures in the travel destination, your surfing skills and your personal taste,” says Manuel. So that you get a feel for the water and the board at the beginning, a 3rd is usually recommended / 2 suit. The numbers provide information about the material thickness on the torso (first number) and on the arms and legs (second number). A 3/2-full suit (long legs, long sleeves) or shorty (short legs, short sleeves) is appropriate, for example, at water temperatures of around 15 to 19 degrees.
So that the wetsuit can really keep the heat on the body, it should fit like a second skin, but still offer sufficient freedom of movement. It’s best to do a few squats when trying on and row your arms to see how well you can move in the suit.
Learning to surf is a challenge. Accept them and be persistent! Because the unbeatable feeling when you ride the wave for the first time rewards you for every effort.