* Prices may differ from that shown
As a complete beginner to surfing I found Reef very informative and thorough as they taught. possibly the groups were a bit too big but you still learnt plenty in the few hours. We did 3x half day lessons and it was enough to get to a decent standard.
Everyone that worked at reef on the beach were lovely, friendly and helpful. Each day we had a different person leading us, the first day we had Eduardo who was fantastic and had us standing up on our boards straight away!
They explained to us also why it is such a good place to learn. You have nearly all the beach to yourselves, they are the only school there. The waves aren't as strong as fistral beach because it's in a bit of a cove, definitely strong enough for me though and it was easier when they weren't crashing over you every 10 seconds!
I can't wait to go back again now and would recommend this surf school to anyone coming to learn! One of the best experiences ever.
Surfing is the original extreme sport, developed from ancient polynesians in Hawaii (although this has been thrown into debate recently, some are saying surfing first started in africa now).
Surfing for fun, there is no level at which you will 'fall behind' so to speak, it takes a lot of practice to be able to do cutbacks and bottom turns, let alone get some air, but you can still go out there an have a lot of fun - that's what surfing is for a lot of people, just goong out there and having as much fun as possible.
"I'm not the best surfer in the world, but I have as much fun as anybody else"
- Taken from the surf film 'Step Into Liquid'
When first starting out, i'd recommend patience, just go out there to enjoy yourself, even enjoy the wipeouts, just roll with it!
I can recommend a good place to start surfing, and take a holiday! - Padang Padang surf camp in Bali, Indonesia - It's a surf school where you stay, they have instructors for every level of skill, they take you around to all the best breaks for you, they have all the equipment, and you will have a great time!
Surfing is also good for the mind aswell as the body, when surfing, the wave itself requires all your focus and attention, therefore everything on your mind becomes forgotten about for a while, it's very refreshing!
Kelly Slater on catching the surfing bug;
"It's like the mafia. Once you're in - your in. There's no getting out" .
I recently learnt to surf with Errant in Newquay Cornwall. I must sya the team on hand were very friendly, the accommodation was a nice little B&B in the middle of town. Over the course of a week we surfed Fistral, Watergate Bay and Newquay Bay. check out www.errantsurf.com
Reef Surf School
Learning to surf can be quite a daunting experience, so when we first decided to learn we chose to have lessons with one of Newquays well know surf schools. Reef surf school has BSA approved instructors and the school is open 12 months of the year. They also have the reef surf hostel that you can stay at the lodge and have surf lessons for a special package deal such as £49. The hostel comprises of flat screen tvs and cd players to make you feel at home. The lodge has many facilities including a bar that has special events and DJs and they serve good food. The hostel can be found at Reef 10 - 12 Berry Road, Newquay. telephone number 01637 879058. This number will also put you through to the surf centre.
The reef surf centre is right on the Great Western beach at the centre of Newquay and also has a beach café overlooking the surf.
We found the surf lessons great and everyone was standing by the end of the first lesson, we were taught safety and practiced getting up on a board on the beach to start with.
Surf lesson prices vary and a half day course is £25 this includes tuition and equipment. There are also full day courses, weekend courses and six day courses.
We learnt loads during our surf lessons and we also had a great time staying at the lodge but I was ready to go home and recover I never realised surfing was so tiring.
Ever since I was eleven and first saw people surfing in Cornwall, I wanted to learn how. Every summer after that (until I was old enough to start getting the bus on my own, or occasionally hitching), I spent constantly nagging at my parents to go to the beach, and avidly checking the weather to decide whether I should be nagging the about the North or South coast that day. Although I only had one of those cheap polystyrene boards I was totally hooked, and avidly saved my meager pocket money for two years to buy my first real board. It was a kracko 5.8" and I had never seen one before then or since. That was enough to get me going and up onto my feet. In traditional surfer speak "hey man surfing is like a feeling that brings you really close to the edge, dude you really can't beat the feeling that you get from a tube ride bro!" However annoying the surf speak can get- this is however, true. I don't think it is possible to sucessfully describe what surfing is like. Even if you're not great at it, its still a thrill- you will always see people who flounder around in the whitewater without achieving much, who end up coming out of the water with a huge grin on their faces, and just by looking you know that they are looking forward to the next frosty January weekend to do the same thing all over again. Most breaks in Cornwall are beach breaks, so it has to taken into account that the waves will change over the years with the shape of the sand. With this in mind I have decided to do a general guide to how these two beaches work. The ones I have chosen are just up the coast from Penzance, and offer a great places for surfers of all levels to enjoy. Sennen. 1. Facilities. Sennen used to be a small fishing village, and still has a dock, although now tourism has taken over a bit and filled it with cafes and galleries, many of which are not open in the middle of the winter, although most of them don't close unt
il after Christmas. There are two car parks, one to the left of the village, near to the RNLI shop, and the other one, on the right, which is the one you should head for. The beach is accessed from this car park, which has quite a big surf shop to one side of it. Make sure you pay and display, as the car park owners are particularly keen on clamping people, even into the small hours of the morning (during which time you wouldn't be able to see to surf anyway). There's also a surfing school here, located at the beach end of the car park, so if you don't have the equipment or confidence to go out there on your own at first, you could always go for a few lessons, or just hire the equipment you need. Personally I really don't like the idea of hiring a wetsuit for someone, as there's no way of telling just who has been wearing it and weeing in it before you- if you have your own, or can borrow one from a friend then this would be advisable, as that way at least you know who was in it first! 2. Surf. Sennen is a really good place for beginners, as I'm sure you can see by the positioning of the surf school on the beach. This is because it tends to be quite sheltered from the brunt of the atlantic swells. If the sea is flat here, then Gwenver is a little larger. At Sennen the surf is always a little smaller than everywhere else, for example, if the surf is 2ft at Perranporth or Fistral, it may be a bit too small to do anything with at Sennen and heading up the coast may be a better idea. On the other hand if the surf is too big elsewhere, then the corner of Sennen can be very good. Sennen can be quite frustrating, as the waves break slowly especially at mid tide. There is usually a peak in the middle of the beach which peels right, and occasionally left, but on a decent swell the right closes out (for those who don't know the terms: when the wave breaks all in one go without it breaking in just one direction, this is
closing out- if the way it breaks is a movement along the line of the wave in just one direction, this is the wave peeling). As this is mainly to the right, it can get crowded, and if a few of the locals are out, getting waves can be a problem. If you're willing to walk down the beach there can be different peaks although these are more fickle and tend to change throughout the year. On a decent swell (4ft plus), its possible to surf Sennen at high tide. That can provide a punchy wave of lefts and rights to take your pick from. It can be a really good beach to surf if you pick your day right, especially for longboarders, but personally its not one of my favourites. Gwenver 1.Facilities Gwenver is next to a caravan site, and as its only a ten minute walk from Sennen you can take your pick of beaches. Apart from the site, the only thing at Gwenver a hugely steep walk down the cliffs to the beach. 2. Surfing. Gwenver is not quite so good for beginners though because of the big riptides, which can be quite dangerous if you aren't a very strong swimmer. Its very easy to find yourself drifting away from the beach without realising its happening. There's a huge hill to get down to it though, which can make you feel like your knee joints are about to pop. This is a heavy beach break, and generally speaking, if its flat here, its usually flat everywhere on the North coast. The shifting of the sandbanks can be quite deceptive though as even though the swell is good there may not actually be any waves, if the sandbanks aren't there to give height to the waves. This is one of Gwenver's bad points. It can have really good surf at times, but then again, you could have one week of amazing waves and then the sand banks might shift you will have months of no absolutely nothing, until they shift again. This is the bane of my life as it is one of my favourite beaches to surf. The tide also needs watching
- the surf may just be good at a certain stage of the tide because of the way the sandbanks have formed. This does make it a really hard beach to review because its just so variable! There seem to be three peaks that work when the sandbanks are in the perfect places. Starting in the lefthand corner at mid to low tide, if there's a good bank here (which is pretty rare) there can be a right that will peel at medium speed, but with the power that you rarely see on the North coast of Cornwall. In the middle of the beach right through the tides theres a mellow long righthander which can get faster at hightide (although sometimes in the middle of the summer it is not possible to surf at Gwenver at all at hightide, although its great fun for swimming in as the waves pick you up and throw you back onto the beach). The winter storms tend eat this bank away. A little further along, but still near the middle ofthe beach, breaking off the same peak, occasionally there can be a very fast left at mid to high tide. The right hand side there is a fairly reliable peak which has various names depending on who you talk to. This peak only works from mid to low tide otherwise you end up surfing onto the rocks. Its very popular with bodyboarders because its really tubey and fast with both lefts and rights, although the lefts are a bit slower. It is rare for all these three peaks to be working at the same time. It is however a very beautiful place to surf, especially if you get a visit from the dolphins that turn up two or three times during the summer. And there you have it, two levels of surfing beaches in one. If you're lucky, you may even see a seal or two out here!
A favourite thing – Surfing As anyone who read my Room 101 op will know, I have a real problem with the misuse of the words surfing or surfer. It is nothing to do with computers or the internet, or as some would have it, using a television remote control to aimlessly wander around the airwaves! Surfing is an ancient Hawaiian or Polynesian ritual / sport which is now practiced all over the world and involves a human being, a board of some description and a great deal of very powerful water. The origins of surfing are not entirely clear, however it is pretty much certain that it started in the mid pacific islands several hundred years ago. Early explorers of the area, such as Captain cook reported seeing Hawaiian chiefs riding the breaking surf on huge pieces of wood shaped from local trees. Indeed whilst the ubiquitous outrigger canoes were frequent wave riding vessels, it was only the tribal chiefs and royalty who would stand up on a single piece of wood to ride the wave. This really was the “sport of kings”. The technique was to paddle the “board” out through the breaking surf by kneeling on it and sweeping both hands back like oars. Once through the white water the board was turned and paddled back as hard as possible until the wave picks the board up and the individual would then jump (or in the case of the portly Hawaiians, stagger!!) to their feet and ride the wave. Surfing pretty much stayed in this geographical area and social class until the 20th century when due to increased international trading and seafaring people on the western seaboard of the USA, and according to some reports English colonialists in South Africa and Australia started to copy what they had seen. Early boards were literally huge hardwood planks roughly hewn from living trees. Their size, weight and thickness meant that they were not carried to the sea but dragged, often by more than one person! They had no fin
like modern boards but directional stability was achieved by dragging one foot in the water. Having been hit a number of times by modern lightweight boards I can only imagine what it was like to be hit by one of these monsters with several thousand tons of water behind it! By the 1940’s Californian and Hawaiian surfing was starting to progress to lighter framework constructed balsa wood longboards whereas in Australia people were body surfing on short pieces of bent plywood of the sort which you will still see in hundreds of gift shops throughout Cornwall. The second world war brought many Australians and Americans to the UK and some rest and recreation time was spent in places like Cornwall, where they found that the UK actually had some reasonable surfing waves. This is when the concepts of lifeguards and the bent pieces of plywood took hold here. The surfing scene moved quickly in the 50’s and 60’s with boards getting shorter and lighter, and with the advent of blown foam cores and fibreglass skins, much more like the ones we use now. The board of choice in California would have been around 10 to 12 feet long, fibreglass with a foam core and a single wooden fin. The centre of the board would contain a hardwood strengthening piece or “stringer” which is a strip of wood which runs from the front to the back of the board. The 60’s was also when the UK surf industry took off with the most famous manufacturer being Bilbo, started by Bill Bailey and his friend Bob (hence BILBO). Visitors to Newquay on Cornwall will still find a Bilbo shop there. Early names also included Tiki, who started in South Wales before re-locating to Devon and are still going strong today. The late 60’s also saw the advent of the leash (the Aussies call them leg ropes) as surfers started to tackle bigger and bigger waves and needed to keep their boards with them in the case of a wipe out. Purist longboarder
s however still sometimes surf without leashes, however in crowded surf spots it is irresponsible and dangerous to leave a runaway board heading for someones bonce at a rate of knots! The 70’s saw boards getting much shorter and the emergence of the Australians as both influential board shapers and champion surfers. The famous Nat Young is an Australian hero and over there is as big as Beckham is here. The twin fin board was invented and then superceded by the modern three fin thrusters, where the main fin is flanked by two offset fins which channel the water past the main one. The 80’s, which is when I started surfing, saw 10 years of the most radical change and the emergence of surfing as a real force in the UK. The first thing was that you became defined by the type of board which you rode. Most young kids and hotshot surfers started riding the absolutely shortest board they could, with the thinnest rails, sharpest nose and lightest weight. Not only did these look radical, but in the right waves would allow aggressive skateboard type manouevers whilst on the wave. Just like those of their hero’s on the world tour. Many others who were either just getting into the scene or returning to it after a few years as grown ups, were riding the new mini mals, which were styled on the old 60’s longboards with rounded noses and plenty of volume, but were between 7’ 2” and 8” so had the surfing characteristics of a shorter board. The extra length and volume meant that the board would catch smaller waves, and support a heavier or less experienced person. In the UK we also saw the emergence of localism, whereby people who lived near to a particular surf spot would claim it as their own and show hostility to non locals. It has to be said however that this is not a huge problem as it tends to be confined to a few particular over hyped spots in Cornwall, and the hostile locals tend to be littl
e boys with overactive hormones and rich parents who are happy to subsidise their ability to be locals…..so they are not actually much of a threat. The end of the 80’s and early 90’s however saw the first serious presence of British surfers on the world championship tour (we had one ecentric character in the 60’s) and a thriving UK surf industry. It also saw the re-emergence of the longboard which combined the style of the 60’s boards, with modern manufacturing processes resulting in ideal light and easy to use boards for small UK waves. Surfing is now an international scene which is practiced in the countries you would expect, Hawaii, USA, Bali, Australia, South Africa, etc etc, and many that you may not expect Israel, Italy, Alaska for instance!!! Closer to home in the British Isles, England now boasts surfing communities in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Kent, Yorkshire, Tyneside, Kent and Suffolk, whilst Wales Scotland and Ireland all have excellent waves and vibrant surfing communities. The sport itself has spawned a number of spin offs such as windsurfing, kite surfing, bodyboarding (speedbumps) and the ultimate crossover Snowboarding, which is another passion of mine. The great thing about surfing is the ease of doing it, as all you need is a board, a wetsuit, a leash and a block of wax (for rubbing in the deck of the board to give traction), and the sheer exhilaration of it. It’s a pastime which you enjoy with friends (8 of you turn up at the beach in a VW camper) but which you do alone (surfers are not pack animals like skiers). Some people do it to pose and be fashionable for a couple of holidays, or until they finish uni and then become corporate clones. Real surfers never stop…..their boards simply get longer and they pass their short boards to their kids. I’m now on a 9’6” longboard, whilst my 10 year old daughter has a 6’6”
shortboard, and the little 6 year old is bodyboarding. Cool surfing transport - VW Camper Uncool - Range Rover Cool surfing clothes - Quicksilver, Billabong, Mambo, Gotcha, Rip Curl, SAS, wooly hats when its scorching hot Uncool - Fat Willys Cool wetsuit colour - Black Uncool - Anything flouresent Cool surf food - Pasties, burgers, fried chicken Uncool - Marks and Spencer sarnies “Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just write about one of YOUR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August."
Thought that I would share a few notes on various quality and not so quality places to surf around the world that I have visited. My surfing experience is quite extensive having surfed for around 12 years growing up in the Cornwall. Hope you find the following useful. Israel - Yes there are waves in the Med and not only does Israel havewaves but there are also some quality surfers there. Surfed Natanya at about 3ft and clean. Very similar to some of the slacker breaks in the U.K. Expect expensive accomadation, lots of hassle for waves but warm water (no wetsuit!) water is really saline so eyes sting. Sri Lanka - The war torn country provides an excellent excuse for uncrowded waves on the S.W. tip of the island. Fly to Columbo in August (about £550) get a mini bus to Arugam bay (about US$60) or if you are skint Tuk Tuk (about a tenner) for the 12 hour journey. Provided that there has been little bombing in the area you should not have too many problems getting through the obscene number of military checkpoints. Aim for Potivul (a very small town just outside Arugam) Whats waiting (3-6ft waves (rights) every day (well it was for the 6 weeks I surfed it)) very cheap accomadation Star Dust (luxuary £10 per night double) or a room in a chicken shed (£1 pernight) food cheap £1 - £5 depending on how many times you like your salad washed. Great uncrowded waves (they say its world class but I would suggest good.) If you can surf well give it a go. If not stay away due to the sharp coral reef below this great wave (they all speak English) France - West coast surfing again all this summer. Generally inconsistent can get big over the summer but expect long flat spells. The breaks at Lacanau are fun and the atmosphere is good. Camping as with most of France is about £5 expect lots of people and noisey evenings. For a quieter wave try the infamous Tarnos Plage whose waves unfortunately are not as heavy as the locals. The Anglet beaches are
great with Les Caveliers being the best of them (you can stay in the carpark here for free if you can find a spot) And then there is always the opportunity to hit Spain if the swell is big enough for the long drive to Mundaka. Portugal - Great plcae apart from the cold water ( a summer suit is needed even in the summer.) Fly to Faro in the Algarve (prices start from £100 even in peak season) and work your way up the west coast Sagres is great laided back and when the wind drops a good fun hollow wave. Head up to the Peniche peninsular for a really good time. Super Tubos if you can stomach the smell is fantastic. Gran Canaria - Great wave for bodyboards and a bit of winter sun. The really quality waves here are too shallow for stnd up's so better to go to one of the other islands. Keep an eye on your kit and your mouth as the locals are quick witrh their fingers and their fists. A flight and accomodation can be as little as £150 but you will need to hire a car as they send you to the busy south of the island, waves are in the North East. Will do a U.K. unofficial if this is useful to anyone. Don't want to rattle on if it is dull.
Surfing is one of the fastest developing sports in the world today. First practiced by the ancient Polonesians, the tradition was set forth by mostly fishermen, "Men of the sea." Nowadays though, anybody and everybody can surf. Surfing is the art of riding the face of a wave, that was born hundreds of miles away in a storm. This "art", as all surfers like to call it (as opposed to a "sport"), requires a good sense of balance, and a love of the ocean. Learning to surf is not an easy task, it also requires a lot of dedication. Learning to sit up right on your board, or even to paddle the right way can be a hard task. If you do not know what you are doing, thanks to nobody actually telling you, you could be at it for months. Surfing changes you a lot. Everybody believes that once you've started surfing you're immediately going to start wearing sandals and board shorts everywhere. Well, that's kind of true, but not quite...You don't actually have to, but it becomes a kind of instinct to go for the more comfortable, instead of the stylish. The surfing lifestyle is unique. Once you start surfing, you start worrying less about stuff that you would have worried about before. Surfing generally inspires a punk theme: surfers want the freedom to do what they want, when they want to do it. Gear Basically your gear as a surfer will consist out of your board, your clothes and then some extra goodies like wax and a leash. Luckily for you surfing is not an expensive sport like, say, for instance windsurfing. Your gear will be easy to maintain and cost effective . The Board When you think of buying your gear, keep in mind that you're still a beginner, and thus to buy expensive gear could be unwise at this stage. Rather start off with a used board, because chances are good that you will ding it just carrying it around. There are three basic types of boards: Shortboard The
general size of a shortboard varies from 5'-6"-6'-11" in length. Longboard The longboard could either be a mini log (a short longboard, 7'-0"-8'-6" in length) or the modern version which in length is 8'-6" - 11'-0" in length. The Gun A gun is as big as a longboard but its basic difference is that it has a pin shaped nose and tail and is used to ride big waves in the range of 10 foot to 30 foot. Your body is going to need some protection from the changes in water temperature. The ultimate is to surf what we call "bareback," which is only wearing some board shorts, or for the girls, a full swimsuit. This is only recommended for water temperatures of 68 degrees and above. If that is still a little chilly for you, use a rash guard. A rash guard's main use is to be worn and to fit snug under your wetsuit to prevent rashes from your wetsuit. For water temperatures below 68 degrees to 64 degrees, you are going to need a spring wetsuit. Spring suits are sleeveless and go to the top of the knee and are made out of neoprene. If you're still cold there is the winter suit. They have full-length sleeves and legs. They are designed to protect you for water temperatures of 64 degrees and below. There are three more areas that need to be protected: Your head In cold water you can wear a neoprene hood that will do a good deal at keeping you're head warm. Helmets are generally used when surfing breaks that have coral reef or rocks on the ocean floor. Your hands For cold water protection you can use neoprene gloves. You can also buy neoprene-webbed gloves that will not only keep your hands warm, but will improve your propulsion in paddling. Your feet Your feet are in the water 95% of the time in a surfing session and will get cold easily thus wearing a pair of booties will help keep them warm. They will have the added advantage of saving you're feet from cutting
in coral reef or rocky bottoms. They come in 2 types, namely round toe or split toe. The Wax, Track Pad and Leash Before you go for a surf, there are some preparations involving your board which are necessary. Firstly you need the combination of a track pad and surfboard wax to keep your feet firmly in place once you're up and surfing, and helps you to carve ripping turns. Wax is to be applied from where your track pad left off to about 2/3 up the board towards the nose. The next thing you are going to need is a leash. The leash is used to keep the board near you when you wipe out so you do not have to swim around chasing it. It is recommended that you buy a leash that is as long as your board is. Learn The Talk Backwash -Water returning to the ocean from the shore, against the breaking waves. Rip current -A small channel (usually formed by two sandbanks next to each other) that allows water to pass out to sea a little faster than normal. Waves fade into them and can't break in them. Ripping -Ripping the wave to shreds, to surf very well. Impact zone -Where the waves start breaking for the first time (where you have to sit and wait for them). Gulley -The opposite of the impact zone, in other words, where the waves start fading out. Line-up -A "line" where all the surfers sit on their boards, waiting to catch a wave, usually just beyond the impact zone (on the "outside"). Face -The wall of water beneath the lip of the wave, the part of the wave you should be surfing. Lip -The curling lip at the top of the wave. Leash -The line that attaches your leg to your surfboard, so that your board does not wash away when you do. Break -A location on the shore that waves tend to break. Beach break -A break where the waves break over sandbanks. Reef break -A break where the waves break over a reef (made up out of rocks and/or corral). Point break -A
point break is where waves are bent according to the land's form. Gun -A board used to surf really big waves. Pearling -This happens if the nose of the board goes under the water (pearl-diving). Going over the falls -This means getting sucked over the lip of the wave. It usually ends in pain. Howzit? -A kind of standard greeting that surfers greet each other with. Bru / Brah -Brah is from "Braddah," the Hawaiian word for brother. Bru is just a variation of that. Wipe-out -Leaving the board, either by falling off or by getting knocked off. These are from where I used to live in cornwall so some are local variations and need not be used. Getting Wet Now that you have the right gear, you need to hit the water. Firstly, you'll need a place to actually go surfing, thus you will have to pick a break that is the most easily accessable for you. The reason for this is, that if you pick a break that is hard to get to, you will just stop going after a while, and like I keep saying, learning to surf takes a lot of dedication. Preferrably you have to pick a beach break at first, as you will not get as banged up as you would if you had learned to surf at a reef break. Pick A Spot Right, if you have picked a spot, you are now ready to go surfing. Walk down the beach with your board under your arm, up until the shore break (where the water comes into contact with the sand). Decide if you are natural footed (right foot on the back of he board, left in front) or goofy footed (left foot on the back, right in front). This is pretty much just the position you feel most comfortable in. Now put your leash on the foot that is on the back of the board, and start walking into the water, until you are about waist-deep. Catching Waves Put your board on the water and hop on. Its a good idea to just hang around in the foamies (whitewash) for a while, just to get the hang of catchi
ng a wave. If you see the wave you want to catch, turn the nose of your board towards the shore and start paddling with your arms outstretched, to gain more speed. Its important to start paddling before the wave reaches you to gain some momentum. Now, as the wave takes you, paddle even more furiously, until you kind of "slide down" onto the wave (you'll know what I'm talking about when it happens). Duckdiving If you are comfortable at catching waves, you might want to try standing up. This means that you will have to go out in search of bigger waves, and that means that you will need to know how to duckdive. Duckdiving is the way you dive under a wave with your board, so it doesn't wash you out onto the beach. To duckdive, you need to press down onto the front of your board, forcing it into the water. Then use your knee to push down the back of the board as the wave passes over you. The wave itself should pull you through further. Paddling Out Paddle and duckdive until you get to the outside (behind the line of breaking waves). Catching bigger waves are just like catching the foamies, only you have to make sure to arch your back (so the nose of your board does not go into the water) and to press your chest flat onto the board (while your back is arched, so the board will stay level in the water). On Your Own Standing up is the hard part, and will take some practice. Just grab the rails (the sides of your board) and push yourself up. Remember that the movement from lying down to standing up should be one fluid action, not limb for limb. Once you've mastered standing up, there's nothing more to teach you that you would not be able to teach yourself. The key is to not be afraid of the bigger waves, but just to go for it. Once you've ridden your first wave, you'll never look back. hope this is of use to you.......now go catch a ride:)
I was lucky enough to be introduced to surfing at a very young age, living in the West Country where it’s easy to get to good quality, friendly surfing spots in reasonable time. I grew up on the North Devon coast; so playing in the water came naturally. At the age of 14 I was introduced to 'real' surfing, and haven't looked back since. Surfing, if you have the chance to do it is one of the best ways to keep fit and the feeling it gives you is just amazing, that you really need to try it for yourself. I would urge anyone just to give it a go, well worth it! As a really young kid I started surfing the waves on a bogie or belly board. This is a short foam board of about 4 foot long. It is very buoyant, and you never stand up, just lie down chest down and catch the wave. Belly boarding is great, its cheap and easy to learn, and you still get the thrill of being in the waves, and it is an awesome feeling to battle with the Atlantic. It is also good practise to get the feel of timing the take off to catch a wave when you start surfing with the big boys. Next stage is a full size surfboard, but one that is made of foam, so it floats easily and easy to stand up on. It is also light and easy to manoeuvre, so ideal for beginners to get the feel of standing and catching a wave on a full sized board. The final stage of learning is the full surfboard. This is the real thing. I will come onto different types of surfboards later, but the best board for learner is a big Malibu board. This is like the foam board, in that is large, buoyant and easy to catch waves on, but is made from foam and fibreglass core, and a glassy resins to form the outer coats, which all real surfboards are made from. There are three main types of surfboard, the Malibu or long board, the mini-mal and the short board. The short board is the most modern, and from its name is shorter than the other two, between 5-6ft in length. They are also narrower and have sharper ends. T
he long board and mini-mal, both follow the same shaping, just the mini-mal is a smaller version. The long boards can be as much as 13ft, but mini-mals are between 7-10ft. All have good points, the short board is better for tricks, but needs a good strong wave to take off, but the long boards float more and easier to catch waves. In the UK a Long board is best, as only in real winter time do waves get big enough to use a short board to its full potential. All boards are made from the same basic material a special foam core, this is to make it float, and be strong at the same time, and a resin to coat the board to protect core from damage and keep it waterproof. All boards have a strong wooden strip down the centre so as to make it stronger. A leash attaches the board to your leg, so it will not wash away in rough conditions. Surfboards can take a lot of punishment in the water, but are by no means indestructible. Dings or small damages need to be fixed soon, or the board will absorb water and will not float. Look after your board out of the sea, they are very fragile. A good surfboard will cost around £150-£300, so are quite expensive. Add to this a wetsuit which is a must for the UK at £70, and all other accessories like boots, gloves, board bag, repairs, someway of transporting the board and so on it all adds up. However if all the equipment is looked after well it lasts a long time. You can also pick up a lot of the stuff second hand, check if it's in good condition, and it can save a lot of money. Also the sell back rate is good, so if you want to change from a long to a short board, you will get a good price on your old things. For me the North Devon coast is where I learnt to surf, and have stayed ther, mostly due to me having no transport. I surf at two great beaches in North Devon, Croyde Bay and Putsborough, both just outside Barnstaple. Cornwall also has great surf spots, I’m no expert. Parts of Wales, and West coast of Irelan
d are good UK surf spots. France and Portugal have good European places. All these face the Atlantic Ocean, so the waves travel 2000 miles before hitting land. All this time called the fetch of waves result in big waves hitting the west coast of Europe. Wintertime is best to go surfing in the UK, the waves are bigger, but the water colder. Outside Europe, the more famous spots like Australia, Hawaii, California, South Africa and Indonesia are fantastic waves to catch. I have surfed Newquay, but found it too commercial. In the water there are certain etiquette, such as you move off if someone has a good run, or give way to others on the same way. Actually sounds pretty sensible to me. Generally all people are very friendly, and talk and give each other helpful advice to beginners. It’s a great atmosphere. The aim of surfing is to get the best 'ride' on a wave. You catch a wave by lying chest down on the board facing the beach and paddle with your arms to build up speed. Once on the wave you stand up by pushing with your arms and putting one leg forward. Wax on the board applied by you gives you grip, so you can stand. You turn by putting pressure on one side of the board and the board moves in that direction. The ultimate is to get into a 'barrel', in which the wave completely forms a wall of water around you with you inside. Tricks also include nose walking where you move your feet to the front of the board from the middle where they usually are. Helicopter is where the entire board is rotated 360 degrees, and Arial is where the surfboard leaves the wave momentarily. So Where to Surf? In the UK there are only a few good places, as the best spots are beaches facing parallel to the Atlantic Ocean, as Atlantic storms blow in from the Caribbean, and the waves have travelled a long was across open water and so have collected lots of power (in other words it has a large fetch). The best places in England are the South-West where I
live. North Cornwall and North Devon are the best, although some big swells give good surf on the south coast, right up to Bournemouth. South and West Wales are also good, as is the West coast of Ireland. Scotland can get some waves, but I have never been there, so am going on stories. Outside of the UK, there are the usual places, All around the south and west Australia, East coast USA and California, Brazil, Hawaii, South Africa and in Europe Spain and Portugal, and Brittany France are fairly close to home. In the UK though here is my run down of the best beaches: North Devon 1. Croyde - Great beach break, but dangerous with rocks and currents, especially at low tide. For more advanced surfers, and does get very crowded. 2. Saunton - A good place to learn, with slow and gentle waves, a large beach so less crowded, but waves are less powerful as they are distributed. Big winds, occasionally onshore. Cornwall 1. Bude - Lots of beaches and breaks, but popular so get busy with both surfers and tourists. Bit nasty with rocks and currents. 2. Polzeath - Good, easy place to learn, although fills with tourists. 3. Fistral - Most famous of Newquay’s surf spots, and where a lot of international competitions are held. Very busy with loads of advanced surfers, so not a place for beginners, but it did not get its reputation for nothing. Ireland 1. Slea Head, lots of swell, with great scenery. A place for more advanced surfers; it has nasty rip currents and big waves. 2. Brandon Bay - Long beach, and is good in most conditions, somewhere along its beaches, as of its shape picks up lots of swell. Wales 1. Several good spots, on the south west coast, but south coast is a bit polluted, with big industry in Swansea, Cardiff and Bristol all in the Bristol Channel. Picks up the same Atlantic swells as the south west of England, and there are some good spots.
Surfing is a fantastic sport. It keeps you fit, as well as being great fun. The feeling when you are hit by a big wave, or get a good ride is impossible to describe, its just amazing. I would really urge anyone going to a place where there is good surf, perhaps on holiday, to give it a go. It is well worth it, you can hire equipment, and great fun. For surfing you can enjoy it on any level, just messing around in the water with a few mates, or competing in the world championships, it is just great fun. Hopefully this opinion has been informative to those that now want to try it.
I have been bodyboarding now for almost 8 years.I started off stand-up surfing but found the amount of tricks that can be performed while bodyboarding is immense.Let me explain Bodyboarding involves a small board normally 40 to 42 inches long.It is made from a high density sponge and often contains a thing called 'stringer'.This allows the board to bend without leaving any creases(which often occur when landing big air tricks).A surfboard on the other hand can be anything from 6 foot up to 10+foot. Anyway,lets get on.I have been doing it for almost 8 years now.I have surfed places all around Britain and have recently visited Indo.This was an amazig experience.The surf was 10 foot and clean most days.However,the third day into our holiday I fell off the lip of a huge wave and tore my arm to shreds on the lurking reef below.It was very painful.In total I had 63 stiches.I didn't care about my arm,I was afraid the sharks would sense my blood so I got out the water pretty quickly.The rest of my holiday was spent video recording my mates having the time of their lives. That was all good but what I really enjoy is searching for new,exciting spots were the surf is ripping.I'll pack a huge meal,a flask of soup and jump in my VW van and cruise.I normally take a map and just look for new places.Some of these are dangerous to get to as there is little or no path.Many occasions I have had to let go of my board.But once your in your wetty and padling out to the break you know its worth it.When you pull onto a wave,the water gushing over you,you get into a barrel,come out the other side and pull off a huge air,the feeling and the adreniline rush is out of this world. I would advise anyone to tale up this growing sport as it is cheaper than surfboarding.The adreniline rush is great,better than any drugs.Try it,you might like it.
Surfing is one of those sports that's incredibly cool and sexy but needs a lot of practice just to get the basics right ,let alone look cool and reel in the birds.Every time i get the chance to get out on the waves on my travels or in the rotten weather here i seem to have lost the balance thing and have to start over again.Bit like snow and water ski-ing. The first time i tried was on Woolacombe beach as a pop bellied 13 year old and ever since then i have been fascinated by the break of a wave or the sound of the ocean just over the horizon.The second time was in Australia on the east coast of Victoria state where the waves can be big and mean breaking late dumping one on the beach with a mouth full of salt and sand. Australia is good value for surfers as the breaks are consistent all the way up to Brisbane before the Great Barrier Reef flattens the swells.The rocky coast line and sand banks encourage long building waves that you can ride for about a minute rather then the more traditional dumpers that you get in Cornwall and Devon, home of the British surf scene. Its cheap to hire a boogie or surfboard and wet suit($40 a day) and people tend not to rifle your stuff on the beach when your bobbing up and down waiting for a nice break.Its very much a surfing culture their with a lot of territorial water and green surfers should know their place on the ocean. California's West Coast was a bit off a disappointment especially in and around L.A where the water never got up like you see on those Californian music videos from the 60s and 70s. Towards San Francisco all along the Pacific coast highway there were better breaks on offer although the climate even in June is a little chilly so a wet suit is a must as the cool mysterious fogs sweep in and pancakes the swells. The only other waves i saw in the States when i was there last year were on the east coast were during a hurricane of shore near Cape fear and Myrtle beach in the Carolinas b
ut were way to big and white capped for my meager standard. South Africa had some of the most consistent waves i have seen on my adventures including the infamous J-Bay amongst surfing circles.Plattenburg to had a nice long right hander but the Atlantic ocean is b****y freezing and even with a wet suit on you want to get out. Some nice big Tiger and Great White prowling around to who have been known to munch surfers instead of seals.. Cape Town is not the best as the beaches at Sea Point and Clifton are rocky with lots of stingers although Cape View to the west has much more open spaces for free surfing. Durban further up towards the east coast of Africa offers warm Indian Ocean rollers that rumble in most days making it a pleasant surfing mecca as the temp never drops below 70f in the day time.The crime on the beaches is rife though so don't expect your gear to be there in your car or on the beach when one returns. Apparently up north past St Lucia in Natal towards Mozambique there are some awesome breaks and no one around for miles for a real surf safari for the long board guys who like to stay on a wave all day. I stopped off in Bali for a couple fo days in 93 but its dirty and full of drop out Japs and Aussies who rule the ocean and its tropical swells.A bit like the over crowded beaches of Hawaii so they say.
Surfing in England is interesting pastime, usually involving a winter wetsuit, a map, and a great deal of luck. On the luck side, i don't do too bad as i live in Cornwall, with the best surf in the uk(i know there are a lot of people who will disagree with that last statement, but this is my opinion after all!). I have been surfing in cornwall for the last 3yrs, mostly on the north coast, as this gets the best swell. The most widely known place to surf down here is Fistral Beach, Newquay, however on the whole, i avoid fistral. Why? Well although its the spiritual home of surfing in cornwall, and there is still a good surfer vibe to the place, it just doesn't cut it anymore. In the summer, its usualy too full of tourists, who have rented a plank for the day, and like to paddle in the shore break (mushy waves near the beach, with no power, shape or thrill factor), and even in the winter its very crowded with three or four people trying to get the same wave, which innevitably leads to colisions and recriminations. Surfing is a very personal experience, just you against the power of the ocean. The last thing you want when you are tearing down the face of a beutiful wave is someone else trying to do the same. There are unwritten rules, like if somones already on the wave DO NOT drop in on them, but when there ao many people out at any one time and only so many good waves, a few rules get forgotten. On the upside fistral can hold the the big waves well,(i've taken 12ft there), and even has a reef break(VERY big waves, but Very dangerous) if the winds right , but this is its downfall. Being on the exposed Headland, unless the winds right, everything goes down the pan, and youre really going to struggle against the waves, just to get out. However thanks to the wonder of the internet, you can save some petrol, and check out one of the two surfcams pointed at the beach, and have a look before you commit yoursel
f. Fistral is not the only beach in Newquay, infact there are 5, and a number of these face in different directions, so you should be able to work around the wind a little, although none of the others can hold BIG surf like fisral If its just the waves your after there are better, and more reliable to be had up the coast a little, but Newquay still boasts a good surfing atmosphere, easy access, good parking, and good shops. Not to mention about 20 pubs and 4 nightclubs.
The trill and excitement of surfing is what get people going. Riding the waves and hearing the surf crash against the rocks & the shaw. Cursing down the M4 in ya V-Dub then camping on the beach waking at the crack of dawn to go catch a few waves! Catching the waves watching the sunrise, it’s awesome. Going for a few bears, heading back the camper with ya mates and singing with the guitar till the early hours of the morning. Then its time for a few more hours of surfing before heading back up London for work on Monday morning. Get away from it all for the weekend go for a surf. You’ll regret it if you don’t!
Surfing is a really enjoyable sport. It doesn't matter if your not very good you can still have fun. The best thing about surfing is when you learn to stand up and ride a wave in it feels really good. There are some great surfers in the world and most of them go surfing for the thrill and fun. The thing I hate about surfing is the professional surfers that only surf for the money they get. If you want to start surfing but don't know how ask around you local areas and try and get a lesson. If there aren't any get a friends or family to help you. Its really great fun. Don't go surfing on your own though for one its not as fun and two go could get stuck in a rip current and have no-one to help you, or to go for help.
Maybe im not qualified to give an opinion on surfing having only tried a couple of times but im going to anyway! My advice to anyone on holiday or looking out to try a new sport is to give surfing a try. I certainly loved it even though the results were far from spectacular. Try starting off body boarding on small waves and i think youll see what the talk is all about. The excitment of catching the wave and riding it in is great. There are some good beaches in devon and cornwall where you can hire all the stuff youll need ( wetsuit, board etc) so you dont need any capital investment to give it a try. Got a few spare days this summer - get down to the south coast and tryit.