OBEY THE RULE: “ONE SURFER PER WAVE” TO UNDERSTAND THE SPORT
This is one of the basic safety rules: only one surfer rides the wave in order to avoid collisions with other surfers that could result in injury.
Who has priority? The surfer who is already engaged on the wave. The surfer who is not yet engaged on the wave? The surfer who is on the inside? And how do you decide who is on the inside? The surfer who is closest to the white water? And how do you decide who is on the white water? Just use your eyes...
IF YOU ARE A BEGINNER, AVOID INTERFERENCE WITH A SURFER WHO IS ALREADY ON A WAVE
The person riding the wave has priority. Get out of his way, so that he does not have to slalom around you. If possible, go around the breaking zone when returning to the crest, where the waves start to break. But it’s no big deal if this is not possible. The foam will clean out your nose for you...
Because that’s what you need to do anyway. If you are on another surfer’s path, your only option may be to take a dive into the white water.
NEVER LEARN TO SURF IN ZONES RESERVED FOR BATHERS ONLY
Every summer, collisions occur between surfers and swimmers. This is the reason why, in France, zones for bathers are marked out with blue flags. It is forbidden to surf in these zones in order to protect the safety of the bathers who are swimming there. Surfers who ventures into bathing zones may even be liable to pay a fine.
Unfortunately, on certain beaches, the best breakers are in the swimming zones. But there is nothing you can do about it...
DO NOT FIGHT AGAINST THE CURRENT
Fighting against the current is a pointless waste of energy. Just let the current carry you, and once you are out of the difficult zone, gently make you way back towards the beach. Often, it is just a matter of a few metres.
HOW TO MAKE A SUCCESS OF YOUR FIRST SURFING SESSIONS
From the short jog to reach the spot, to the right position to adopt on the board and the right paddling technique, check out our tips to get off to a good start!
Do not leave anything to chance and take the time to carefully prepare your first sessions in order to make good progress. Make sure you have:
- A suitable surfboard
- A suitable wetsuit
- A good leash
- The right wax
Take a look at our experts’ tutorial videos to adopt the right practices:
· warming up before the session: essential! ;
· choosing the correct front foot on your surfboard;
· your position in the surf;
· paddling in the surf for the first time;
· diving into the water for the first time;
· your first take-off on a beginner’s surfboard.
BEGINNERS: WHEN AND WHERE TO GO SURFING
Learning how to surf often requires another form of initiation: learning how to understand the hieroglyphs that describe the weather conditions at sea. You can start by learning how to read the surfing forecasts that are published on specialised websites like Yadusurf.com or Surfreport. You also need to understand a few notions, like:
— the swell, which defines the size of the waves. Start off by surfing on waves measuring less than 1 m;
— the wind: a wind that is too strong prevents the waves from forming properly. But offshore winds are excellent for surfing, because they make the waves deeper and smoother. Onshore winds blow from the sea towards the land. They tend to flatten the waves and make the water choppy, which is quite unpleasant when surfing. Light winds tend to make for more favourable conditions. As a general rule, too much wind is not good for surfing. An strong offshore wind will block you on the crest of the wave, while a strong onshore wind produces a choppy surface...
— tides: rising tides tend to produce better surfing conditions. But there is no hard and fast rule about tides. Ask the local surfers about the conditions on the spot. Otherwise, check out the web sites describing the spot, refer to the guides describing the spot, or read a guide like Stormrider.
— the period: very important information that is often unknown to beginners. The period defines the time between two wave crests and the power of the wave. With the same swell, a short period will produce smaller series and the waves will be less powerful, but the waiting time will be shorter. A long period will result in longer waiting times between series, but they will be more powerful. The ideal period lasts about 10 seconds.
— the season: in France, autumn and spring are the best seasons for surfers. The swell is higher and the winds are usually offshore. The swell is much smaller in the summer. Sometimes, you can spend a whole week without seeing a single wave.
To be sure about the weather conditions, you can always check out the webcams before visiting a spot! Enter the name of the town or the spot, plus “HD webcam” in your favourite search engine.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF WAVES FOR BEGINNERS
A minor point of vocabulary to designate spots with waves that are beginner-friendly!
— Broken waves: the beginner’s best friend. There is nothing better than riding the white water near the beach’s edge to learn how to adopt the right position and to make your first take-offs.
— Beach breakers: these are the most accessible and popular types of waves. They tend to form at different points of beaches made of pebbles or sand and reform quickly. In other words, a spot where the waves break on a sandy ocean floor
— Point breakers: waves that always start at the same point and break on rocks. And it’s the title of a film too...
—Reef breakers: a type of wave that breaks on reefs. You should not learn to surf at this type of spot!
Another advantage of broken waves: you do not need to wait in the line-up to take off! You can surf uninterruptedly in order to gradually master the basics, at which point you will be ready to join the line-up.