Many people think that surfing is a young person’s game, only for the athletic and the youthful. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. An old dog can learn new tricks! Here’s our guide to getting into surfing late in life.
There are many great health benefits – both physically and mentally, that can be gained by learning how to surf.
Whether you are paddling, duck diving (diving under breaking waves with your surfboard) or standing up riding on a wave, surfing is an activity that requires you to be constantly moving around. This also causes your heart rate to increase as it tries to supply enough oxygen and blood to working muscles in different parts of your body.
Surfing requires you to constantly stretch and twist certain parts of your body. These stretching and reaching body motions will actually help to keep your body flexible and improve your body's overall mobility.
Legs and Core
When standing up on your surfboard, after paddling onto a wave, surfing requires you to suddenly jump to your feet from a lying position on your stomach. This motion encourages the use of certain muscles in your back and legs as you try to balance yourself and keep from falling off your surfboard. In an average session of surfing, you will repeat this action of jumping to your feet many times and this repetition will help build a strong leg and core strength.
How to Get Into Surfing
Here’s a quick guide to getting into surfing, the first step of which is simply deciding to try. Yes, you’re going to fall down a few times and no, you’re not going to be shredding giant waves in a week. But with time and patience, you can improve your skills and learn a great new skill.
Take a Lessons
Take 1 lesson. You really don't need to take more than one. What you do need is the fundamentals of waves, boards, and what it should feel like. You also want to make sure that surfing is a sport you're willing to commit to. After this, you're ready to take the next step.
If you’re in Palm Beach County, you can try the Aloha Surfing School.
Get a Long Board
For best results. Buy a longboard. You’ll never outgrow it, and when you’ve got droves of friends beating down your door to teach them surfing, that’s what you’ll start them on. Here’s a good rule of thumb: get one that’s 3 feet taller than you.
Get a Surfboard Leash
Get a surfboard leash. It’s safer than pegging someone in the face with a stray board.
Wax Your Board
Wax your board (just the top side though). Use the right wax for your local water temp (it’ll say on the package).
Suit up. Depending on your tolerance for cold, pull on a full wetsuit, spring suit, or beachwear & rash guard.
You’ll want to focus on catching waves first. Once you’re solidly locked into the wave, it’s much MUCH easier to stand. Look for waves that are just beginning the show whitewash and position yourself in front of them and start paddling!
Try, Try, and Try Again!
Don’t give up, that’s the key. Well, that and try to enjoy the process. The nice thing about surfing is that worst case, even on an off day you’re still on the water spending time outdoors on a beautiful day, it’s silly to allow yourself to get frustrated while you’re trying to learn.