In this ultimate guide we walk you through everything you need to know on how to surf, including choosing gear, hitting the waves, and surfboard care and maintenance.
Surfing is said to date back as far as the 18th Century and is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable art forms known to mankind. It’s arguably the most popular mixed gender, surface water sport, and can be done both leisurely and competitively. Many folks use surfing as a means of recreation, relaxation, mind & body cleansing, and thrill seeking.
To get you out on the waves faster, take a look at our interactive Table of Contents. Clicking each link will take you directly to the section you’re looking for.
- SURFING TERMS
- GETTING STARTED
- Choosing A Board
- Longboards, Shortboards, And Funboards
- Get A Wetsuit Or Rash Guard
- Grab Surfboard Wax
- Leash Your Board
- BEFORE YOU GET WET
- Pick A Spot
- Practice On The Sand
- Surf Etiquette
- Types Of Waves
- THE BASICS
- The Paddle
- “The Cobra”
- The Pop-Up
- The Stance
- Regular vs. Goofy
- Wiping Out
- After The Wipeout
- IN THE WATER
- Find Your Spot
- Paddling Out
- Duck Dive
- Sit And Wait
- Paddling In
- Ride The Wave
- Try To Turn
- BOARD CARE
- Avoid Exposure To Heat
- Ding Repair
- Unsecured Transport
- Rocks And Cliffs
- Belly Rides
- Bag Your Board
- Store Your Board
- Board Repair
- NICE TO KNOW INFO
- Buying A Board
- Fitting Your Vehicle
- Safety At Sea
- SURF TRAINING TIPS
- WARM-UP ROUTINE
- SURF TRAINING WORKOUT
- SURF NUTRITION
- LAKE SURFING
- SURF KAYAKING
- BEST SURF SPOTS
- Ask A Surfer
- Ask An Instructor
So, you’ve decided to take up surfing. Naturally, you want to look and sound cool, like most surfers do, so here are a few terms that will certainly help you to understand popular surfing jargon.
These will at least make you sound like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t.
180/360 – The spin of a surfer’s board during a maneuver. Refers to degrees. e.g 180-degree turn
Air – A surfing maneuver where the surfer and the board leave the wave
Backside – Surfing with your back towards the wave. A regular footed surfer going left or a goofy-footed surfer going right is considered to be surfing backside.
Bail – To jump off your surfboard before wiping out.
Barney – An inexperienced surfer
Barrel – The hollow part of a breaking wave. Also referred to as the “tube.”
Board – Your fiberglass foundation when you’re riding the waves. Officially known as a “surfboard.”
Bottom Turn – This is one of the most important maneuvers in surfing, and is the turn made at the base of the wave when you’re coming down from the face.
Carve – A popular slang term for turning on a wave. This is a classic surfing maneuver.
Chinese Wax Job – This refers to getting wax on the bottom of your surfboard.
Choppy – Rough ocean surface
Cobra – Slang term for the position between lying down and popping up.
Cowabunga – An enthusiastic, exclamation from surfers. (Although it’s not very cool anymore!)
Cutback – Reversing your surf direction in one smooth move.
Deck – This is the part of your surfboard you stand on.
Drop In – The last thing you want to do. It’s when you catch a wave that was someone else’s. We cover this in Surf Etiquette.
Duck Dive – This refers to diving under an oncoming wave while paddling out.
Face – The unbroken part of a wave.
Fin – The curved part of your surfboard that hangs at the bottom, similar to a fish’s fin.
Foamies – Refers to soft surfboards. These are best suited for beginners.
Foil – The change in thickness of a surfboard from nose to tail.
Frontside – This refers to surfing with your front towards the wave. A regular footed surfer moving right, and a goofy-footed surfer moving left is considered to be surfing frontside.
Froth – The foam from a broken wave.
Glass Job – A surfboard’s fiberglass finish.
Goofy/Goofy Foot – The surf stance with your right foot forward.
Hollow – Another term for barrel or tube.
Leash – The cord that is attached to your surfboard and your foot.
Line Up – The place outside the wave break where surfers wait to catch waves
Lip – The tip of a breaking wave.
Longboard – A long surfboard with a rounded nose.
Men In Grey Suits – This refers to sharks.
Nose – The part of the surfboard that points away from you.
Offshore – When the wind blows off the shore at the shore break. This is perfect for surfing!
Onshore – When the wind blows into the land. This is terrible for surfing.
Pop Up – The transition from lying down on the board into the standing positions.
Rail – The sides of your surfboard from nose to tail.
Regular/Regular Footed – The surf stance with your left foot forward.
Rip/Riptide – A strong, long, narrow, band of current that pulls objects and people in it out to sea.
Snake – To steal another surfer’s wave. The same as “drop-in.”
Soft Top – Another word for a soft surfboard or “foamy.”
Swell – A solid wave.
Switch – Riding your surfboard the opposite than you normally do. For example, a regular-footed surfer riding goofy-footed.
Tail – The part of the surfboard usually behind you. The opposite end of the nose.
Traction Pad – This can be used in lieu of surf wax. It’s usually stuck directly to the surfboard for better grip.
Trim – The optimum condition to have your surfboard in when cruising down a wave.
Wax – The wonderful, invention that keeps your feet from slipping off the surfboard.
Wetsuit – A suit designed to keep out the frigid temperatures while in the water.
Wipe Out – The act of falling off your surfboard, whether graceful or not-so-graceful.
There’re a few essential items to cover before you can actually hit the water and start riding the waves. Getting the proper gear beforehand will not only encourage you to stick with surfing, but will also enhance your surfing experience.
Choosing A Board
A surfboard can be a relatively expensive investment, so it’s recommended that you consider renting a board – especially if you’ve never been surfing before.
Rentals are usually cheaper than purchasing a board, and significantly less heart-breaking to watch, should the board meet its untimely demise on a rock face or cliff.
You’ll probably be given options between fiberglass surfboards, or soft surfboards. Soft surfboards, or “foamies” are very lightweight, durable, and buoyant, making them ideal for beginners.
The type of surfboard you choose depends heavily on your size and weight. The heavier and bigger you are, the more surface area you will need – i.e the bigger the board volume. It’s going to be quite difficult and discouraging trying to learn on a board that is too small.
Longboards, Shortboards, And Funboards
Longboards are usually single-finned, featuring a broad, rounded nose and generally measure 9 to 12 feet. Although they’re not as maneuverable, longboards are easier to balance making them great for inexperienced surfers.
Hybrid boards, such as funboards, generally measure 7 to 8.5 feet. They offer the balance and stability of a longboard, with the agileness of shortboards.
Shortboards usually feature three fins, but can have up to five fins, and are generally 6 to 7 feet in length. With a sharp, pointy nose, shortboards are usually quicker to maneuver due to their less buoyant qualities and smaller size. These boards are harder to handle for beginners.
Get A Wetsuit Or Rash Guard
For colder waters, a wetsuit is highly recommended to keep your body warm and comfortable while in the water. A wetsuit like the O’Neill Wetsuits Mens 3/2mm Reactor Full Suit, can prevent the potential onset of hypothermia and other cold-related hazards.
For warmer climates, a wetsuit can be worn, but you should consider a surf tee rash guard such as the Quiksilver Men’s All Time Long Sleeve Surf Tee Rashguard .
Apart from the obvious abrasion prevention, a rash guard can also help prevent sunburn caused by extended exposure to the sun.
Grab Surfboard Wax
Also known as surfwax, surfboard wax is applied to the deck of your surfboard. Surf wax ensures that the surfer doesn’t slip from the board while paddling out, or riding the wave.
If you choose to rent a board, chances are it will already be waxed, but picking up surfboard wax such as Mr. Zogs Original Sexwax – Cold Water Temperature, is still a good idea.
Most surf wax typically comes in cold water, cool water, warm water, or tropical water options. If you’re unsure about which one(s) to get, asking a question at your local surf shop is always recommended.
Leash Your Board
Should you choose to purchase a board, getting a leash string is highly recommended if it doesn’t already come with one.
Attaching a leash string to your board prevents you and your board from separating. The last thing you need is to be bobbing in the water after a wipeout, with your board crashing into the rocks, cliff face, or worse yet, a fellow surfer. Ouch!
BEFORE YOU GET WET
Practicing the basic techniques on sand first will save you time, effort, and potential embarrassment when you actually get into the water.
Pick A Spot
It’s always a great idea to scope out your surf spot before you actually hit the water. The last thing you want to do is to be caught in unfamiliar territory.
Again, it’s not a bad idea to ask around for recommendations on some of the ideal surf spots – fellow surfers and instructors will be more than happy to help.
Once you’ve selected your spot, it’s recommended you get in the water and swim around. Remember that unfamiliar territory mentioned before? You want to make sure that you’re comfortable swimming the spot before you actually attempt to surf it.
Practice On The Sand
Before you get out into the water, it’s best to practice your basic techniques on “terra firma.” It’ll save you loads of time, embarrassment, and if you’re renting or paying for a lesson, it’ll definitely save you money.
Getting your basic techniques like popping up and standing on the board right from the beginning can make for a more enjoyable surfing experience once you hit the water.
Before you head out, it’s also good to learn basic surfing etiquette. Learning the basic rules will guarantee your surfing session is both safe and fun. You’ll probably make a few friends quickly too!
Just like the road, surfers and the open water have a “right of way.” If more than one surfer is paddling for a wave, the surfer closest to the peak has the right of way. Cutting off that surfer or “dropping-in” their wave is the easiest way to make enemies out on the water.
More often than not, especially in popular beginning surf spots, it’s usually a free for all where multiple surfers are riding the same wave, and some of these strict rules don’t necessarily apply. However, it’s still a good habit to regard which surfer has the right of way, and avoid cutting off other surfers.
Types Of Waves
There are many contributing factors to the formation of waves. The most popular factor is breaks. There are three types of breaks that produce waves for surfing:
- Beach Breaks – These are waves that break on sandbars. They are usually forgiving and ideal for beginner surfers, due to their sandy bottom.
- Reef Breaks – These waves break on coral and rock shelves. These tend to be consistent and form really good waves.
- Point Breaks – Point breaks, as their name suggests, are waves that form in a section of land that points out from the shore. Point breaks tend to offer some of the best-shaped waves.
You’ve got to cover the basics before you can jump into the water and start shredding the waves like a pro. Understanding, and being able to execute, basic techniques like paddling, popping-up, and your stance, can make surfing easy and enjoyable – especially to beginners.
This is one of the most important techniques you should seek to master as a beginner. Developing a good paddling technique can reduce the likelihood of becoming fatigued quickly.
The best way to find the “perfect” paddle position on your board, is to hit the water and paddle around. Your board should cut smoothly across the surface of the water.
If the nose of your board sticks too high in the air, you’re too far back on the board. Alternatively, if the nose feels like it’s digging into the water, then you’re too far forward. Finding the right position on your board is essential for optimum efficiency, and you should paddle with long strokes using the full extent of your arm.
This is the transition from lying in a paddling position to “popping up” in a standing position on the board. While lying flat on the board, position your hands below your chest and above your sides, palms flat on the board, and raise your torso up off the board.
In one quick motion, push up your body from the “cobra” position tucking your feet up beneath you. Your front foot should go where your hands were, and your back foot behind you. Always keep your head and neck looking straight forward.
Keep your knees bent, with your arms extended and hanging loosely. Your body should be slightly leaning forward to maintain center of gravity, and again, your head facing forward.
Always keep your head facing in the direction you want to go. Inherently, wherever you look is where you will naturally go.
Regular vs. Goofy
Your footing style and stance will come naturally. If you have your left foot in front, then you’re standing “regular.” If you’re standing with your right foot in front, then you’re “goofy-footed.”
An easy and natural way to figure out which style you stand is to lie flat on your stomach and simply push yourself up off the ground into a surfing stance. Whichever way you stand that comes naturally is your natural stance.
Of course, there’s no rule as to which style you adopt. It’s all about what comes naturally.
Although this may not be seen as a technique, there are still some important things to consider about wiping out.
The first thing to keep in mind is that wiping out is inevitable. When it does, always try to jump away from the momentum of your board. Falling or jumping to the side or back of your board is ideal. Try to fall flat in the water to avoid injury.
After The Wipeout
Once you’ve regained situational awareness, pull the leash to bring your board back to you to avoid it getting in the way of other surfers. When you’re back on your board, paddle out of the break to the side where other surfers won’t be coming in
IN THE WATER
You’ve finally made it to the water, and you’re absolutely ready to “kill” the waves like you’ve seen the pro surfers do. Well, here are a few pointers that should at least get you started.
Find Your Spot
Once you get into the water, the best spot for beginners is the “white wash.” The white wash is the place where the waves have already broken. You’re more likely to successfully ride in from there, as opposed to beyond the break with the more advanced surfers.
Always pick a reference point on shore to help you gauge your distance and movement relative to the shore – especially the farther out you go.
When paddling out, remember our technique of long, deep strokes using the full length of your arm. This saves energy and avoids tiring easily.
Always stay perpendicular to the oncoming waves, and you’ll find it useful to push up on your board to allow the oncoming water to flow under your body and out behind you. This reduces drag, saves energy, and prevents the wave from pushing you back to shore.
If you want an alternative technique to pushing up on the board to avoid being pushed back by oncoming waves while paddling out, the duck dive is an equally effective maneuver.
As the oncoming wave approaches, place both hands on the sides (rails) of the surfboard and push downwards – sinking the nose of the board under water. Try to submerge as much of your board as possible, keeping your arms straight while leaning forward.
As the wave starts to go over you, lay flat on your board. Once the wave passes over, angle your board back up to the surface. Resume paddling as normal once you and your board have surfaced.
Sit And Wait
Once you’ve reached your spot, sit on your board, slightly back, until the nose is up out the water. When you see a wave coming, position yourself close to its peak.
When you feel as though you’re in the perfect position to catch the wave, and you feel like you’ve caught it’s momentum and speed, paddle like hell! Keep your head facing straight towards the shore while paddling in. When you look back, your paddling becomes less effective and efficient.
Before the wave breaks, employ the techniques you’ve been practicing, smoothly transitioning from the paddling position, to the “cobra” position, and to the pop-up and stance.
Ride The Wave
Once you pop-up, firmly plant your feet on the board with your knees bent, and arms loosely extended. Remember that reference point you picked on shore? Right, you’ll want to keep your head facing generally in that direction.
You can choose to ride the wave all the way to shore, or you can bail before. It’s always good to ride the wave all the way to practice and develop a feel for surfing. On the other hand, of course, riding the wave all the way in means paddling all the way back out.
Most beginners will catch the “white water” of a wave on their first attempts but this is equally as fun and great practice.
Try To Turn
Eventually, once you’ve mastered the art of riding a wave straight to shore, you’ll want to try turns. The key to executing a good turn is to lean into the turn while maintaining your center of gravity.
The rail of your board dips into the face of the wave and creates drag, which in turn – turns the board.
Tired renting a board every single time you surf? To solve that problem, you’ve decided to finally invest in a surfboard you can call your own.
Well, at the risk of sounding pessimistic, in every moment your new surfboard touches the water, it’s a moment closer to its inevitable demise.
However, here are a few tips on how to prolong the life expectancy of your newly bought best friend.
Avoid Exposure To Heat
It’s never a good to leave your surfboard in a hot vehicle baking in the sun. The constant expansion and contraction that your board experience during extreme changes in temperature, can lead to its surface delaminating.
It’s highly recommended that you have any minor dings dealt with in a timely manner. Small dings are common and can be dealt with by guess who? Yup, you.
A small tube of UV solar resin such as the Solarez Mens One Size Clear, picked up at your local surf shop or on Amazon, does the job.
It’s relatively easy to apply, and any difficulties you have, a fellow surfer or the good, ole’ Internet, is more than willing to render assistance.
Simply tossing your board in the back of the van, or the backseat of the car should be avoided. Bumpy transits can lead to a dinged-up board, and unsecured transport can even lead to your board getting airborne on windy rides.
Rocks And Cliffs
As mentioned in the Getting Started section, always try to leash your board – especially in surf areas where rocks and cliffs are prevalent. Watching your newly bought surfboard crash into the cliff face, after a wipeout, is never a welcomed sight.
If you’re going to belly ride into the beach, always be mindful of reefs and rocks that could potentially damage your board. There’s no greater killjoy than having your surfboard ruined after an enjoyable and satisfying day on the waves.
Bag Your Board
Investing in a quality bag for your surfboard is a great idea. A surfboard bag like the DaKine Daylight Thruster Bag – White/Charcoal, prevents unnecessary dings and wear-and-tear to your board, caused by constant travel to and from the beach.
If you can invest in an insulated bag, to keep the sun’s harmful UV rays away from your board, then that’s even better.
Store Your Board
Always try to keep your surfboard(s) indoors. Surfboards don’t enjoy exposure to the elements any more than you do. Rain and unprotected UV exposure can lead to degradation of your board’s integrity.
Generally, most of your local surf shops will offer board repair services for not-so-minor dings. Solar resin can only go so far, and you’ll definitely want to consult a professional to handle any major overhaul work your board may need.
NICE TO KNOW INFO
Buying A Board
There are a few basic pointers to follow in buying a surfboard. As a beginner, if you’ll be planning to hit the waves once in a blue moon, then a simple foamboard will do just fine.
A longboard is ideal for surfers who plan to surf a little more than every once in a while – maybe a few days a month.
If you plan to progress and surf every week, working your way up to a shortboard is not a bad idea.
Fitting Your Vehicle
Fitting your vehicle with a surf rack like the FCS Premium Double Soft Surfboard Car Racks, is a great idea if you’re going to make surfing a frequent hobby.
Surf racks guarantee safe and secure transport to and from surf spots and are generally inexpensive. Think of it this way, a surf rack is far cheaper than your brand new surfboard broken on the side of the highway.
Safety At Sea
This should be your number one priority whenever you hit the waves. Be mindful of other surfers and ocean-goers around you, as well as your general surroundings.
Adhere to all lifeguard instructions where possible, and be mindful of potential hazards, such as riptides, choppy conditions, and of course, marine animals.
SURF TRAINING TIPS
Surfing is an enjoyable but physically demanding sport that requires a great deal of stamina, strength, and good physical health.
It’s always good to incorporate a full body warm-up before you hit the waves. After all, quickly becoming burnt out, fatigued, and cramping is never fun.
Your warm-up routine doesn’t have to be something out of a cross fit course. You simply need a routine consisting of basic stretches and exercises that will get the blood flowing and your muscles stretched and ready for the water.
Warming up can before a session can significantly increase mobility, flexibility, and reduce muscle cramps and stiffness.
Performing breathing squat movements can help stretch your muscles, as well as, improve blood circulation and oxygen flow to the muscles.
Pushups are great for stretching out the upper body muscles necessary for paddling. You’ll be surprised how easy and less strenuous paddling can feel after doing a few on-shore pushups beforehand.
Lunges target the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and core. These are all essential muscles used while surfing.
These are all basic exercises that can buy you additional physical time and endurance when you’re out on the waves. The more warmed up you are from the shore, the easier and better your experience in the water will be.
SURF TRAINING WORKOUT
It’s quite difficult to replicate, on land, exactly what your body goes through in the water when surfing.
While gym routines are ideal for improving your overall health, wellness, and fitness, there are a few specific workouts that are better suited for surf training. These workouts tend to incorporate the full body, as opposed to targeting a particular area.
Some of these workouts include:
- Overhead Walking Lunge
With dumbbells held over your head and your abs braced, lunge forward bending your front knee. Step forward and repeat this step with the other leg.
- Dumbbell Pushup
With a dumbbell in each hand and in the pushup position, execute a pushup and then rotate your body 90-degrees to either your left/right side, and raise one dumbbell in the air – with your arm stretched out. Repeat for the other side.
- Medicine Ball Chops
Holding the ball with both hands, step forward so your legs are staggered. Extend your arms to the outside of your hip and rapidly swing them over your shoulder.
You’ll need a pull-up bar for these.With an overhand grip, hang from the pull-up bar with your arms straight. Pull your body up until your chin is in-line with the bar, and hold it for a time. Keep your body, from your shoulders to your feet, tight and straight.
Determine a suitable location and the length of time you want to sprint. For example, a 30-second sprint along a stretch of the beach.
- Dead Lifts
With dead lifts, position your mid-foot under the bar and bend your knees until your shins touch the bar. Lift your chest, straighten your back and pull. Take a deep breath, hold it, and stand upright.
With your upper body straight, shoulders back, and chin up, step forward with one-leg. Lower your hips until both knees are bent at roughly a 90-degree angle.
- Overhead Press
Starting with the bar on your shoulders, press the bar overhead until your elbows lock. keep your legs straight, lower the bar and repeat as necessary.
- Single-Leg Squat
Start in a seated position and elevate one leg. Lean forward and position your body weight to center on your grounded leg and stand up. Reverse this process and sit back down. You can extend your arms for leverage if necessary.
This is a relatively easy to understand exercise. Position yourself as you would in a normal pushup position. As you go down, on the way back up, push off your arms and clap before catching yourself on the way back down.
With your feet turned 30-45-degrees out, push your knees out while moving your hips back. Squat down until your hips are below your knees. Squat back up with your knees out and your chest up.
As you can imagine, one of the most important skills to hone in surfing is balance. There are a few workout routines you can explore to practice and improve your balance.
Try some of the following:
- One-Legged Balance
As the name suggests, incorporating balancing on one leg in your workout routines can significantly improve your balance.
- Leg Swings
Hold onto something like a pole or stick for balance. Swing your leg forward and backward, and side to side. Try to keep your hips parallel to the ground and repeat for the other leg.
- One-Legged Squat
You can use a doorframe, pole, or any sturdy structure for this exercise. Grasp the object and lower yourself in a squat position but using only one leg.
- Single-Leg Deadlift
Keeping your knee slightly bent, bend your body at the hip and extend your other leg for leverage and balance. Lower the weight until your body is parallel to the ground and return to the upright position. Repeat the process on the other leg.
- Balance Board Exercises
There’re a few exercises you can do on a balance board to improve your balance.
With your upper body straight, shoulders back, and chin up, step forward with one-leg. Lower your hips until both knees are bent at roughly a 90-degree angle.
Trying out a few of these techniques and incorporating them into your daily exercise routines can help improve your dexterity, endurance, and flexibility for surfing.
With healthy exercise should come a healthy diet. It’s useless to have a great warm-up and workout routine to get you in good shape for surfing, while cramming unhealthy and potentially toxic food down your throat.
Removing processed foods from your diet is a good start. Substitute unhealthy processed goods for healthy, whole food – such as, fruits, vegetables, and quality proteins.
Staying hydrated is also equally as important, if not the most important point to consider in nutrition. Try to avoid sodas, artificially flavored drinks, and unhealthy sports and energy drinks. Substitute these for drinking water and lemon or lime-infused water.
Try to avoid excessive use of alcohol. Getting wasted every night will tend to hinder your performance on the water.
Balance your meals as best you can. Aim to incorporate proteins, carbs, and quality fats into each meal.
Try to avoid foods that are high in white flour and processed flour. Opt for multi-grain or whole wheat options where possible.
Before a surf, try to eat a light breakfast that can fuel your surf without making you feel uncomfortable. A heavy breakfast can make your stomach quite uncomfortable while surfing, but a piece of fruit, nuts, or anything light can give you the energy your body needs.
Similar to ocean surfing, lake surfing is pretty much the same concept, except, it’s on a lake with sufficient surface area suitable for the development of waves.
Much like ocean surfing, lake surfing relies on ideal conditions where the winds switch offshore. However, when this occurs, the waves generated by the previous onshore wind tend to dissipate quickly, leaving lake surfers with a very small window to catch “perfect waves.”
The greatest advantage of lake surfing is the absence of hazardous marine life like sharks and jellyfish.
The Great Lakes and Lake Tahoe are ideal, well-known spots for lake surfing.
This is the art of surfing ocean waves with a kayak. It’s very similar to ocean surfing with a surfboard, except it’s done with the use of a surf kayak, equipped with fins.
Surf kayaking can be done on wind waves like regular ocean surfers, or open ocean swells. With open ocean swells, the surf kayaker can surf down the front of the wave.
BEST SURF SPOTS
In this great, wide world in which we live, there are many surf spots ideal for catching some gnarly waves.
We’ve outlined a few that may be near you, or may be worth taking a trip to check out.
- Gold Coast, Australia
This ‘surfer’s paradise’ features some of the world’s finest point breaks. Due to it’s large expanse of water, the Gold Coast is great for accommodating plenty surfers at a time.
- Oahu, Hawaii
This surf spot features waves over 20 feet tall, over some of the world’s most beautiful reef. It features one of the world’s gnarliest crest waves, The Pipeline. Oahu is considered the island that created surfing.
- Mentawai Islands, Indonesia
These are made up of a chain of 70 islands offering some of the best waves. Here, the waves are said to be best between June and September, and can be all yours via ferry and charter service.
- Jefferey’s Bay, South Africa
‘J-Bay’ as it’s affectionately called, is one of the top surfing destinations around. The point breaks here feature long, fast barrels, and waves with some of the highest walls. June to August is the ideal time to visit J-Bay, and the popular Billabong Pro WCT is hosted here annually in July.
- Lima, Peru
Lima offers some of the best waves in South America, and features a wide variety of waves ideal for a wide variety of surfers. Featuring big, medium, and small waves, Lima is great for beginner, intermediate, and advanced surfers.
- Bathsheba, Barbados
The East Coast of this beautiful Caribbean island offers a stretch of ideal surfing ground. It features fast, breaks over unforgiving, but beautiful, reef on the Atlantic side of the island, and is well known for it’s local ‘Soup Bowl’ surf competition.
- San Diego, California
Particularly, Black Beach in San Diego, is great for the advanced and pro surfer. It packs powerful breaks with strong currents. What makes Black Beach great for surfers is that the winds have no effect on the waves.
- Siargao Island, Phillipines
Another ‘pros-only’ spot, Siargao Islands feature powerful reef breaks ending in sharp, shallow reef. This surf spot packs all the adrenaline a pro can handle in one location.
Brazil boasts a variety of consistent waves. The east coast of Brazil features surfing competitions that are sure to be packed with fun. Definitely another ‘must see’ spot in South America.
- Raglan, New Zealand
Raglan is home to Manu Bay, a quiet town littered with bars and hangout spots. It’s a great place to surf and is forgiving and accommodating to beginners.
- Tavarua Island, Fiji
This island can pack waves up to 30 feet tall – not quite the recommendation for beginners, but gnarly nonetheless. This is a great spot for adrenaline addicted daredevil surfers.
- Rincon, Puerto Rico
Another Caribbean spot, and like it’s not-so-distant neighbor Barbados, this surf spot is great for all types of surfers. Easily accessed, this spot features long, fast barrels curling over picturesque but unforgiving reef.
- Okinawa, Japan
This is a great location for surfers – from beginners to pros. It features some beautiful sandbars and is a great and forgiving spot to perfect your techniques. Definitely a spot to check out if you’re in the area.
- Vancouver Island, Canada
This is the most popular surf spot in Canada, surrounded by vast expanses of rainforest. This relatively forgiving spot is great for all surfers, whether beginners or pros. Unlike the warm waters of Barbados or Puerto Rico, a wetsuit is recommended for these waters.
Ask A Surfer
It’s important to ask for advice from more experienced surfers before you hit the water. These guys and gals will know more about the ins and outs of the water than you do and can give you useful insight into the do’s and don’ts of the local spots.
Friends who surf are great for free advice, they can accommodate you and save you the potential embarrassment experienced in a surfing lesson or class.
Ask An Instructor
Equally, a surf instructor will be able to give you the tips, hints, and instruction you need, to safely enjoy the water.
Although instructors are more likely to charge a fee, they can provide reliable instruction, and get you into the good habits of surfing in the early stages of the learning process.
Your friends and fellow surfers may pass on bad habits that an instructor would normally teach you to avoid.
Almost all, if not all, surfers got into surfing for the sheer excitement, thrill, and joy that it brings. Keep practicing your techniques, and in no time you’ll be shredding the waves and on your way to pro status.
It’s a very rewarding and equally relaxing hobby, with one of the most faithful and committed communities. While you’re out there, remember to enjoy the ocean and have fun.