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What To Expect From Your First Surf Lesson


by Brett BJ Jones [January 29, 2007]

Lots of fun, plenty of exercise, and an experience you won't forget in a hurry.
So, you've decided that it's time to have a shot at this surfing caper. How hard can it be, right? But your pretty short on time, in fact your here for a week on holidays and by the end of your time, you want to surf as good as that Kelly Slater fella.

You've booked in for some surfing lessons and you're getting ready for your first surf lesson. Here's what you can expect from your next couple of hours.

1. Register, sign your waiver form, and grab some surfing gear.

Most surf schools will expect you to sign a waiver form that says you agree that surfing can be a dangerous activity and in the event that you get hurt you promise not to sue the pants off the school, or something to that effect.
The surf school will fit you out with the appropriate gear depending on where you are taking the lesson and in what season. This could include a full wetsuit or just a rash shirt depending on the conditions. Next you will be measured up for an appropriate surf board. Surf schools generally use soft surfboards for lessons. These soft surf boards are a lot safer than regular surfboards due to the fact that they are, well, soft. Covered in foam with plastic fins.

2. Meet your instructor, pick your surf break, and warm up exercises.

If you haven't already, next you will meet your surfing instructor. He or she will be easy to pick, generally they are the local surfer dude, nice sun tan, lean and fit looking with eyes hanging out of their head due to the unforgiving salt water and bright sunlight.

Your instructor will have a nice safe section of the beach picked out for you and your fellow surfers. Once you get to the location the instructor will lead your group through a series of warm up exercises. These exercises are very important. Like any sport you place a lot of stress on the body when you go surfing for the first time. Your first surf lesson will involve lots of knocks, falls and use of muscles you never knew you had. The very least you can do is attempt to wake those muscles up before giving them a hiding.

3. Learn the skills on the dry sand first.

Now the fun starts. Put your surfboard on the sand and lay on it. Now pretend to paddle. Yeah, yeah of cause you look like a goose, but follow your instructor and you will be thankful when you finally get to the water. At this point, the surfing instructor will lead you through simple techniques that will give you the best chance of going home a surfer. Pay close attention, these techniques really are what makes the difference in your surf lesson.

4. Drown!! Well we hope not, anyway.

Its time to get wet, and find out just how easy surfing really is. During your first surf lesson your instructor won't take you out too far. Usually you will stand in about waist depth water and catch the small white water waves. These are the best waves to practice your technique on. If you listen closely to your instructor you should be able to stand up by the end of your first surfing lesson. Now your surfing, look out Kelly.

5. Dry off, return the gear, and head home with grin from ear to ear.

Now that your surf lesson is complete, head back to the surf school with your instructor. Return all your gear and dry off. Hopefully your day has been a ripping success and you will return for another surf lesson soon. Are your arms and shoulders sore? Told you, muscles you never new you had. Good work, hope you had fun.

About the Author
Brett BJ Jones is the owner and Head Coach of a Central Coast surf school called BJ's Surf School. He teaches people to surf all year round at Terrigal Beach in Australia. www.bjsurf.com.au