10 Top Tips for Learning to Surf in Cornwall
If you are new to the sport of surfing ….. Welcome!
This is a very exciting time and could be the gateway for a huge change in your life. However, it can start out being quite frustrating and intimidating. So here’s our 10 Top Tips for learning to surf in Cornwall.
1. Choose the Right Surfboard
So many people are keen to jump the gun and go for a surf board that is short in length and low in volume. But in fact the best thing you can do is spend your first 20 surfs (at least) mastering catching waves, popping up, holding your stance, turning, linking those turns and trimming on something soft and buoyant. Only once you have mastered all those skills are you really ready for a hard board with more performance. The majority of the time an 8ft mini mal is a good choice. Most surf shops will guide you onto your first hard board if you tell them what ability surfer you are.
2. Choose the Correct Wetsuit
There are lots of wetsuits available on the market and choosing the right one for you can be confusing. The two main factors that need to be considered when choosing a wetsuit are:
- How often are you going to wear it?
- What time of the year are you going to be wearing it?
Wetsuits generally come in 3 thicknesses 3’2mm, 4’3mm, and 5’4’3mm. If you are are keen surfer that is in the water most days of the year, then owning a good 3’2 and a good 5’4’3 will cover all basses. Believe it or not a 5’4’3 can get a little too hot in the summer months and the flexibility and weight of a summer suit during July, August, and September can be greatly appreciated if you’ve got the cash to spend. 4’3s can be great from April till November but not always necessary. Most wetsuit brands have different levels of wetsuit and generally speaking you get what you pay for. (We tend to go for a wetsuit that is blind stitched and taped). At the surf school we are proud wearers of C-Skins wetsuits for a good combination of durability and flexibility.
3. Take some Surf Lessons
This bit of advice is going to sound bias coming from us but unless you have a very knowledgeable, experienced and lifeguard trained friend at hand then having lessons will not only ensure you are safer but will also greatly speed up the process of learning to surf. Eradicating bad habits and gaining knowledge of the dangers and how to avoid them are a few of the things you will gain from having a surf lesson at a surf school in Cornwall. Look out for Surfing England approved surf schools as they will be accredited by the national governing body.
4. Get Surf Fit
Not only is this important for your skill progression but also your safety. Being fit for any sport is beneficial but you may find yourself in a few situations as you advance that require strength and stamina to recover from. We have taught thousands of people of the years and one of the main issues when it comes to people advancing is their surf fitness. Here is a recent video from our friend Tom Butler containing some of his surf fitness routines. Click here to watch vid
5.Respect the Ocean
All advance surfers will tell you this! With its ever changing and unpredictable force, the ocean is not something you will ever be able to control. Do your research, take time to talk to locals, make sure you understand the science of the surf, tides and rip currents etc. Know your limits and pace your learning to suit you. There’s a famous saying “if in doubt don’t paddle out” and it’s very true.
6. Don’t Surf Alone
It’s the first thing we teach the children and it goes for adults too. It’s wise to have someone with you or at least on the beach watching. This goes for any water sport.
7. Practise Good Surf Etiquette
We’ve all been there! You rock up to a beach it’s small and clean, everyone is out the back and there is a mixture of abilities going for unbroken waves. Not only is it safer to have good surf etiquette but it will also gain you respect from the local and more advanced surfers in that area.
8. Choose the Right Beach and Conditions for your Ability
Every beach has a different feel and can produce a different shape wave at different stages of tide. Some have hazardous rocks, some have strong rips, some will have big waves and some will have small. Certain beaches are effected by Northerly winds and other are effected by Southerly winds. Choosing the right beach on the right day can be difficult at first, but understanding where and when to go can play a big part in your progression when learning to surf.
9. Watch Plenty of Surf Videos
Not only will this inspire you to advance your surfing but it will help you understand and discover how to progress. Look at where surfers are when they paddle for waves, what point they decide to stop paddling and stand up, where they put their weight, where they are looking, what position their bodies are in etc. Watching other people who shred is invaluable, and give you some more tips for learning to surf.
10. Have Fun!
The soul reason for surfing! It’s one of the most enjoyable feelings in the world! Every small progression you make and every nice ride you get will make you feel good and drive you on to catch another wave and another one! It’s really not about how good you are, it’s all about how good it makes you feel!