Ride the waves: surfing for beginners
If you love the water and aren’t afraid to go out and splash in the open waves, surfing might be your ideal pastime.
It’s one of the most iconic watersports in the world, and people of all ages are known to grab a board and give it a try on holiday or just in their spare time.
It’s not as easy as it looks – learning to surf with confidence takes practice. The good news is there are certified instructors in every major surfing hotspot around the globe who can help you stay safe and learn to ride the waves – before you know it, you could be out there hanging ten with the best of them.
If you’re serious about surfing the first thing you’ll need is an ocean. People living near the coast of Cornwall or along the water in the Scottish Borders don’t need to travel far, and in fact, there are great places to get started all over the UK – North Devon is a particularly popular spot, and surfers of all ages and abilities flock to Croyde Bay, Saunton Sands and Woolacombe Beach to have a go at this exciting sport. The waves abroad are no less varied; Hawaii, Australia, Indonesia, and South Africa are all popular choices.
The International Surfers Association (ISA) is a professional body and governing network of surf instructors around the world. Certified instructors should have expert first aid and lifesaving skills and will have the knowledge and patience to make sure you’re using the right gear and are safe and comfortable while you’re learning.
Many resorts will have a surf school attached where you can sign up for beginner lessons a day or week at a time. Closer to home, famous outfits like the Surfs Up Surf Company and Bournemouth Surf School teach surfing as well as stand up paddle boating to anyone that wants to learn.
Gear you’ll need
When you’re ready to head out surfing there’s some essential gear you’ll need to get started:
- Swimwear – First and foremost you’ll need a swimsuit and towel – this is a sport that requires you spend a lot of time in the water.
- Wet suit – Particularly if you’re going to be surfing in cooler waters, you won’t be able to get in the water without a wetsuit. There are a few different types available and often your surf school will provide you with what you need. However, if you plan to do a lot of surfing in a year, it’s a good idea to invest in your own. A full wetsuit or “steamer” covers your arms and legs completely, while a convertible wetsuit has detachable arms and legs.
- Rash vest – This t-shirt shaped vest goes under a wetsuit and protects your skin from irritation. It will provide an extra thermal layer in cold waters, and in very warm waters is sometimes used in lieu of a wetsuit to protect surfers from the sun.
- Surfboard – A surfboard is an essential piece of kit for the sport. They range in size and price greatly; popular shapes are a Shortboard, Longboard and Fish. Most surf schools will provide a board you can rent for the afternoon while you’re out taking lessons so you can find what type suits you best before you go out and make the investment.
Best places to surf
Part of the reason surfing is such a popular hobby is because of the beautiful locations you can choose from to ride the waves. You can discover the top 10 surf spots in the UK – autumn is the best time to give it a try in this part of the world.
Every corner of the globe has a surfing destination. If you want to travel, you can plan a holiday and visit one of the 50 best surfing destinations in the world. If you’d like to head out surfing for several days or weeks at a time, sign up for a tour like the ones offered by Feral Surf Tours in France, or choose a resort that specializes in surf lessons by browsing some notable destinations on the website Wave Hunters.
Have you got a health question?
We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a question of your own, their, "Ask the Expert" service allows you to ask the team of friendly, experienced nurses, pharmacists and midwives about any health topic and they'll get back to you with an answer as soon as they’re able.* So if you have something that’s been bothering you, whether it concerns you or someone close to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Click below to submit your query online.
* Nurses are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Midwives and pharmacists are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm; and Sunday, 8am to 12pm.
Actual response time will depend on the nature of your enquiry and availability of appropriately qualified experts but the team will always aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that our Expert Help services are there to offer health information and support. They do not diagnose or prescribe, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice given in the context of an individual consultation.
Latest posts by Sally - Silversurfer's Editor (see all)
- Quiz: Can you name all these types of pasta? - October 24, 2020
- Look Fabulous Forever – Perfect Make Up for Older Faces - October 23, 2020
- The challenge of Christmas: how to plan your festive food in the face of this uncertainty. - October 22, 2020
- Red onion, carrot and hazelnut tatin recipe - October 21, 2020
- Will you be pumpkin carving or buying Halloween treats this year? - October 20, 2020
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!