My first time surfing, and it was the only time so far, was when I was visiting Bali in late April and early May in 2018. I had no idea what to do and I do feel like I might have looked like a fool (a teeny tiny bit…) So, after my first surfing experience and reflecting on it: I have a few tips to make it a little bit easier to look less like a fool during your first time surfing. To make you not look like me. And trust me, you do not want to look like me during my first time surfing.
I obviously don’t know how to surf since I have only done it once. I’m not going to give the pro tips about surfing, because I don’t have any pro tips for you. However, I might have a few more tips in the future when I have surfed a bit more! It is one of the best experiences that I have had in 2018! I enjoyed it so much and I loved the feeling of being on the wave, even though I fell of pretty much every single time during the first 30 minutes.
To start off: don’t be ashamed or be scared to make mistakes. No one gets on a surfboard and wings it the first time. And if you do, I admire you. That’s awesome. For the majority of “us” (the first time surfers) it takes a little while to get the hang of it a little bit.
Don’t learn it yourself
I know it’s super tempting to just go ahead, rent a surfboard and get in the water and “just do it”. One thing I learned while surfing is that you don’t just do it. Unless, like I said before, you’re really good and just wing it the first time: props to you again. However, if you’re not like that: you won’t learn it as fast or as well without an instructor.
Have a laugh with your instructor
So, if you have decided to learn surfing with an instructor, it could be a little awkward or something like that. The best way to not look like a fool with your instructor and to feel less awkward, is to just have a laugh with him or her. They see so many new surfers fall and try their best at surfing so just laugh when you fall because everyone falls.
Try it on land first
So, funny story. Me and my instructor started on the land first to just get the hang of the positions on the surfboard and to see if you are righthanded or lefthanded because it will chance your position. I didn’t even understand the guy at first so he actually had to show me different positions so I would say how I wanted to stand. That was my first awkward moment and the awkward girl I am: many more came. Let’s just embrace the awkward moments.
So, he did the positions and I had to follow him. You just start off laying down on the board, you kinda get up and you place one of your feet forward. I think he used a three-step method. However, my balance already sucked on dry land and I couldn’t even stay on the board during this method on DRY land. I fell. More than once. I think I already fell off like three or four times. My god, I knew I was in for some trouble. At some point he just laughed and said: “we’ll just go in the water.” As if that was going to be any easier.
Use a big surfboard
If you get to choose your surfboard, go ahead and pick the big surfboard. It’s much easier to balance on a bigger surfboard rather than on a smaller surfboard. They picked a big surfboard for me in advance, because I didn’t have any knowledge about surfing or surfboards in general. It might seem a bit weird, because the bigger surfboards are so heavy but it is easier to get through the waves and to balance on. Trust me. I don’t think I would have even stood up on a smaller surfboard.
Start in smaller waves
If you are going with an instructor, they are most likely going to tell you if the waves at that moment are good for beginners. I went surfing at Kuta Beach, and at the time I was there, the waves were pretty small and they gave lots of surfing lessons. I’m not sure if I just had the days where the waves weren’t as good or if the waves are like that most of the time. If you start surfing in higher waves, it will be more difficult to stand up and find your balance. Start small and work your way up! And trust me when I say that (at least to me), the teeny tiny baby waves felt like HUGE waves and I felt like I was surfing the biggest wave ever while in fact you could hardly call it a wave. But that’s okay, I was still proud.
Do NOT try to get on your knees first
You know, balancing is a special and important thing. And, as hard as this is to believe, my balance isn’t actually that bad. I’m sure the surfing instructor and everyone on the beach and beach clubs felt otherwise. I still like to believe my balance is pretty good. However, I did a thing. Whenever I would try to stand up, I would get on one knee for balance purposes but it did the opposite to me so I fell of the board like a dozen times because of this little thing. When, after my surfing instructor told me to stop doing that like three times, I tried to stand up immediately after getting up: I actually found the balance and managed to stand up and ride the teeny tiny baby wave. Obviously, I still fell a couple of times but I did manage to ride out 95% of the waves after I stopped getting on my knee first. You just completely mess up your balance and you’ll go the wrong way because your weight is shifted to one side.
These were my tips out of my own experience of making myself a total fool on a surfboard. I’m trying to prevent you from doing the exact same thing. However, surfing is fun. New things are fun and learning new things is fun. Have a laugh if you fall and just enjoy surfing because it is one of the best feelings I have ever had and I can’t wait to get back on the board some day! I’m sure I’ll make a fool of myself again, but I hope that with the little knowledge I have it won’t be as bad. And if it is, like I said: let’s just embrace the awkwardness.