A week ago I started taking surfing lessons here on Gran Canaria. I had only tried surfing once before in Ponta Do Ouro, Mozambique, but still I managed to stand on the board already on the first wave thanks to some practice on my technique before getting wet. Now I am totally hooked and just want to surf all the time, although it is really physically demanding even if you are well trained from the start.
Anyway, for any beginners out there that want to learn how to surf and have access to a board but not lessons, here are some initial surfing tips for you:
- Use a beginners board, that is, a long thick board. This will make it more difficult to turn but will help you with the balance.
- Check where the other surfers are in the water, or ask somebody where the best surfing spot is. If no other surfers are present, try to look for where the most white water is and where there are least rocks.
- Lay centered on top of the board, with your feet slightly out in the back and your chest lifted up
- If the nose of the board is high up, move more to the front. If the nose instead is dipping in the water, move back on the board or lift your chest even more if possible.
- When you see a good wave coming in your direction, check that nobody else is going for that wave (before you) and that nobody is in the direction that you want to surf
- Start paddling (like the swim style crawl) slow and softly straight out from the wave/white water (90 degrees) about 3-5 seconds before the wave will hit you, while looking back to have control of where the wave is
- At the moment the wave hits you, paddle fast to get even more speed
- When you feel that the board are leaning forward/down it’s time for you to stand up on it
- Put both your hands in front of you on top of the board, not on the sides. Then first put up your back leg quickly followed by your front leg. Stand up!
- Keep your legs bent and relaxed, and look at the direction you are going (not on the board)
- Try moving back/forth on the board or change your weight of the legs if the nose of the board is to much up or down. If the nose of the board points up it will make you loose speed.
- Don’t get happy about standing on your feet and jump of the board to fast, try to make it all the way back to the beach
- When falling, try to land on your feet. If this doesn’t succeed, protect your head with your hands not to dive into a rock or get a flying board on it.
When you feel more secure, you can try this:
- Instead of paddling straight out from the wave, paddle diagonally out from it. Your weight should be more against the wave when it hits you, not to turn over. Then, when standing on the board, turn the board even more towards the wave to follow it for maximum speed. To turn your board, just turn your waist/upper body and look in the direction that you want to go.
- Instead of standing up when the board start to lean down, stand up when you are on top of the wave. With this technique you need more weight on the front of the board though, to get initial speed.
If you don’t feel sure about what you are doing, or don’t feel confortable being in and under the water, I recommend you to find a surf mentor. I have done some wind surfing and other water sports before so that was not a problem, but I still felt that I want to know the right surf technique not to loose my time trying it out or learning it wrong. The school I attend is Ocean Side and I am really happy about my choice, mostly because of great surf teachers and that they are in a good location in Las Palmas (10 meters from Las Canteras which is the beach walk with some of the best surf spots here).
I know I have published this video before but my camera is still at the repair shop so I have no new pictures or movies from Gran Canaria.