British Surfing News
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If you check out their website you will see the following on it. 'Lotus Thai is Newquay's premier Thai restaurant. Established in 2002 we pride ourselves on serving the most authentic food possible. Our Thai cooks use only the finest ingredients, with
Chris bertish told me about the place, it is possibly one of the best Thai restaurants that I have eaten at outside of Australia, those around the table also agreed with me.
The food was fresh and very tasty, we had wine, thai beer and excellent service for four people the price about £75's which was fantastic value.
Chris has headed back to Cape Town now but told me he used to eat there once a week. I will certainly be eating there again next weekend.
This eating place gets a 9/10 for excellent all round quality and service.
Keep up the good work Lotus staff and management see you soon.
It's Friday time to escape from the City?
Well, after my recent trip to Earls Court I can see why so many city dwellers are in a mad rush to load up their 4 by 4's and get out of the city on Fridays for the weekend down time before they start the chaos of city life again on Mondays.
The Kentos loves London and would like to live there so I guess it suits some people, however, standing on the underground during the summer at peak time is an experience that most would probably not want to experience ever. In the light of that experience here are some pictures I took the day before London.
I was working at Fistral Beach on the weekend for a Hen surfing party and these following shots are at a polarity with London life, no wonder places like Nwqy, Watergate, Mumbles are becoming property hotspots..
The funny thing about Nwqy is that there are heaps of great places to eat and drink which does not involve getting to close to the pub crawlers wearing football tops amongst other clothing. Just search and you will find.... p.s it was actually a Tuesday when I escaped from the city
If you can't escape the city until friday, no worries we can cater for your surfing needs just email us to arrange a date for a live, surf, travel weekend
Over the weekend of April 14th and 15th we ran a private group lesson over three days down at Fistral beach, newquay. The guys started on Saturday and finished on Monday the end result all five standing and catching the Atlantic rollers.
The surf picture below shows one of the group riding the wave all the way to Fistral beach. For small groups of 4-6 we are currently offering two days for three costing £100 p.p including all equipment and your own surf coach. The perfect way to learn or improve your skills here in Cornwall. Click here to book our 3 for 2 offer (minimum size surfing groups are for 4 people)
March 28th 2007
Newquay’s status as one of the world’s top surf centres is highlighted in an innovative new website just launched.
The surf section of www.newquaysfinest.co.uk includes local surf conditions and weather forecasts, webcam images refreshed every hour, events calendar and contest results, and a surfing gallery, with local photographers submitting new shots every month and website visitors invited to vote for the best.
The section also comprehensively introduces Cornwall’s specialist surf photographers, local surf schools and shops, surfboard shapers and repairers plus magazines. The website’s visitors also have the chance to win a custom shaped Adams Surfboard.
The new website has been created by James Keith, head of local web design company Quick Hits. Previously a marketing manager with a small Hampshire IT company, he moved to Newquay five years ago, drawn by its surf and Cornwall’s more appealing lifestyle.
A highlight of the website is James’ virtual tour of Newquay, which he claims has few if any equals among European resorts for its depth and quality.
He has combined cutting-edge software with his own photographic talent to create the 15-minute tour covering five miles, hailing “Virtual Newquay” as a revolutionary new way to explore the area.
“‘Virtual Newquay’ provides visitors with the sort of clearer vision of the town that just wasn’t previously possible short of actually visiting the place,” he explains.
“With Newquay’s Finest, not only can you take a virtual tour of the coastline surrounding Newquay, but you can actually go into shops and businesses on the way. Fortunately, we had some good days of sunshine when I was doing the photography earlier this year, so I’ve even laid on guaranteed sunshine for the virtual visitor!”
As you may be aware we also run surfing courses on Gower in Wales below is an article concerning GSD that appeared in the Observer, on July 8th, 2006.
Think 'British climate' and the word 'watersport' rarely springs to mind. Contrary to popular belief, however, surfing is big news in Britain, whatever the weather. Dive in and discover
Just think how many people are in traffic jams right now', says surf instructor Simon Jayham, beaming from ear to ear, as we bob like bottles in the churning water, clutching our boards and waiting for the next wave.
In front of us the vast, three-mile beach of Rhossili bay stretches out, entirely empty and framed by an epic gunmetal sky. 'Right now they're in their cars, and we're here, with all this to ourselves.' Then he nods over my shoulder and points out away from the beach to where the green sea is swelling up to meet us: 'Here we go. Here comes another set of big ones.'
It's only been a few hours since I first picked up a surfboard in the empty field that serves as a car park and walked down to the beach. Thanks to Simon's attentive teaching I am now out here catching waves.
I'm wiping out a lot, going head over heels and swallowing a bathtub of the Bristol Channel in the process, but I have stood up and ridden waves a couple of times. Perhaps without the poise and pose of the pros, but it's still an amazing feeling being picked up and hurled towards the beach by the sheer power of the ocean. To be really good at this must be unbelievable. But even if you do only manage a few graceless seconds up on your feet, flailing around like a windmill, it's well worth a lot of tumbles for a few glorious moments up on the board.
The feeling was amplified by the fact that the day hadn't begun with the most auspicious of omens. 'You should have been here last week,' said the bronzed girl in the Swansea petrol station with the bead necklace. So did the bleached-blond guy in the cafe. And even Simon was waxing lyrical about the fine weather and bountiful surf I've just missed when I turned up.
With the rain skidding down the windows of the beachfront sandwich shop where we meet, the sky a fuzzy grey, and the paltry 'Smurf surf ' breaking on the sand as dark and foamy as my coffee, it was easy to think my timing was way, way off.
'We'll find some waves,' reassures Simon, a big man with an easy manner and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the sport. 'We'll get out there. It'll be good.' So begins the serious business of tracking down the surf. With a wi-fi enabled laptop he scans the webcams that stud the beaches all over the Gower peninsula, checking tide and weather reports. 'With this I can track a storm over the Atlantic, and know roughly what we're going to get two or three weeks in advance.'
Understanding the weird alchemy of wind, tide, atmospheric pressure and temperature is understanding the conditions for good waves and finding the right beach. 'Wherever you live, you only really learn to surf when you're 17,' says Simon, 'when you get your driving licence and get out and look for proper surf.'
He settles on Rhossili, and then we're off, snaking down sunken lanes lined with banks of cow parsley and over wind-washed hills glowing with yellow gorse flowers. Here and there among the lonely stone farmhouses and grazing sheep are the signs of the Gower's magnetic draw for surfers: occasional camper vans daubed with stickers, board shops in tiny villages, and posters advertising dub DJ nights in isolated pubs.
Soon the rain is pattering gently on the empty sand around us as we put down the boards and run through safety drills ('don't hold your board parallel to the waves, it'll flip up and you'll get two black eyes'). I learn the different ways of paddling into a wave and, most importantly, standing up when you've caught it. 'The objective is to get you catching those green-faced waves, right out there,' says Simon as he points out beyond the breakers to where the sea peaks before it crumbles into the foamy surf we're going to be riding.
Then we're off, wandering out into the breakers, which must be a good three or four feet high and much better than expected. Once in chest-high water Simon scans the horizon for likely suspects rolling in. When he spots one, I point the board at the beach and paddle like mad to get to a speed that will allow the wave to pick me up.Having caught it and begun racing forward, now comes the tricky bit: moving from lying flat on my belly to standing up and riding the wave in.
While I'm pleased to learn I'm easily strong enough to do 'pop-ups', a kind of sprung press-up that serious surfers use, after a load of tumbles it becomes obvious I don't have the co-ordination yet, and so rely on a slightly easier technique that takes you from your stomach on to your knees and up.
And then suddenly I'm standing, feeling like a god as the wave sweeps me into the beach. Or, rather, I pitch straight over the front, or the side, and suddenly I'm inside a roaring washing machine of foam, sand and salt. But it really doesn't matter. I come up spluttering and smiling, turn around and head straight back out: next time I'll get it right. Before I know it, hours have passed by.
'I reckon I've got the best job in the world,' says Simon proudly. As the seagulls wheel overhead, the sun begins to burn a hole in the clouds and some promising waves loom on the horizon, it's very, very hard to disagree with him.
Simon Jayham, Director of Surfgsd
Once you have had a lesson with an approved BSA school, you can hire surfing equipment and keep improving your own. When you get to the point when you are standing up, contact us and have the next step lesson, which will help you improve your development.
Generally speaking, the younger you start, the better - my daughter stood up on a wave at three and by the age of 10 she'll be a better surfer than me and most of my surf coaches. The good news is that people can start at any time of life, as long as they can swim 50m and are reasonably fit.
Practice is key, but if you feel like you're just not getting it, get out the water for a few minutes rest. Sit on the beach with the surf calling you back and focus on how you are going to succeed at jumping to your feet. It is all in the mind; get in tune with the beach environment and you'll be surprised the difference it will make. Setting yourself a personal surfing plan is also important. I teach a group of guys on a weekly basis. They started as complete novices and their aim is to be good enough to come to Portugal with me in the autumn, where the waves are more challenging.
Written by Matt Ford
For more info on activity adventure articles this summer check out the link below:
Introduction to Surfing by The British Surfing Association, based in Newquay Cornwall..
To evolve into an experienced surfer takes a lot of dedication year-round, and a great deal of patience is required but it is a truly fantastic sport, accessible to people of all ages and abilities from the first lesson which is the starting point for a great adventure into a new world. People often get a taste and never turn back, fully immersing themselves in the whole lifestyle. A lesson with a qualified coach is a great idea not just for safety but it also will ensure that you begin with good habits to build on and create a nice early style.
For humans to learn effectively the environment has to be safe so that you associate the activity with a positive experience. This safety will be governed by the area you are in and also by your decisions, so you must be aware of the surroundings and accountable for your decision making. If this attitude is combined with fun i.e. rewarding, the result will be to learn and progress no matter what you are doing. It’s scientifically proven!
A coach will make it easier for all these things to happen, plus it gives you added security and peace of mind. Usually ninety percent of beginners will be standing in their first lesson with a trained BSA coach.
REMEMBER: SAFETY + FUN = LEARNING
Waves and the Sea
It helps to understand the environment on which this great sport is based, since in no other sport is the playing field changing so dramatically all the time.
During our time in the sea we are at the full mercy of mother nature and there is no way that a few pounds of flesh no matter how fit, or knowledgeable you are, are going to stop waves from pounding onto coastlines that have travelled hundreds of miles from areas of their generation. These walls of pure energy carry thousands of hundreds of tons of pressure per square metre and it is enough to mould the very earth we walk on. This is what makes the sport so attractive since we are on the edge of maintaining control all the time, being influenced by forces of nature. We have to respect this balance and understand very well how our bodies perform in order to ride a wave. The larger the wave the more experience required.
The waves are generated by large low pressure storms out in open oceans. The lower the pressure of the air the greater the winds and energy involved and hence the bigger the waves formed. These high winds blow against the surface of the water, aggravating the water molecules. For prolonged periods of time this will make ripples grow and spread out across the sea from the point of generation into wave trains, which are lines of large waves that space out and travel towards land. The further they travel the more spaced out they become, forming sets. The distance travelled is called Fetch. Waves with a greater fetch will be consistent and more powerful than others.
It is important to remember that water is not travelling many miles to reach the coast it is in fact just pure energy. As a wave travels the water molecules are only moving up and down within the water column and this movement is transferred to its neighbouring molecule. It’s a bit like flicking a rope and watching the hump travel away from you. Only when the wave breaks do the water molecules move forward on the surface a great deal.
A surf board works by slipping down the face of these ‘hills’ of water at the point where gravity dominates over friction, surface tension looses its grip and the steepness of wave and speed of surf board cause it to break free from the grasp of water and literally freefall down the face. Surfing is all about maintaining that position in the wave where you are accelerating over the top of the molecules of water rather than bogged down by them. Really it is hydroplaning, and it feels sooooooo good!
Waves rear up and eventually break when they ‘feel’ the sea bed shallows in coastal areas. This can be caused by sudden depth changes over rock or reef, sand banks and sea bed changes. Basically all the energy in the water is forced upwards and forwards and has no where to go so the wave shears at the top and becomes unstable, water molecules then break away and fall down the face smashing against one another, not settling until all the energy dissipates into the shoreline.
A wave generally breaks in water two point five times its own height, as measured from peak to trough. I.e. a two foot wave will break in five foot of water, and a four foot wave will break in ten foot of water.
You must consider the ocean when you surf since we are not naturally adapted to life in the seas yet! And we still have lungs which do not accept water. So, it is a good idea to be able to swim at least fifty metres in open water and be physically fit. Exercises to help you prepare for surfing might include Yoga, Swimming, Cycling, running and sports that help your flexibility as well as stamina. Previous experience of bathing or sea bound activity will also be advantageous to help you get the feel for the behaviour of waves. When you go surfing try to go with the flow and don’t resist how the wave rolls you, since you won’t be able to and this will save energy.
It’s a good idea to prepare the body for exercise before going for a surf, with a warm up at least. This will help to prepare you physically and especially mentally for your session, enabling peak performance from your body. Take some time to watch the sea as well, and get a feel for the conditions on the day.
Choice of equipment is critical for your progression throughout all levels within your surfing. What you see people doing or riding may not be the sensible choice, besides it can be dangerous to use the wrong equipment as a novice. Surfing is not about looks, it’s about a lifestyle and having fun with likeminded people. Don’t try to be something you are not, lose your ego as soon as you feel the sand between your toes and do what makes you happy with responsibility, awareness for others, and if you’re having fun you are the truest surfer of them all!
There are many boards to dazzle you but the one you should consider as an absolute first timer is the Softboard. These are made out of a rigid foam interior, often with a central strut or stringer down the middle to give strength, coated in a soft foam exterior, some also have semi rigid plastic bases. They come in different sizes according to how big you are, normally from six to nine feet in length. The average adult would get on fine with an eight foot softboard. These are superb fun since they are very buoyant, easy to handle and don’t hurt in a crash! They are limited in bigger waves and don’t turn as fast when you get to more advanced levels.
Spend your time getting to grips with the new sport on this board and when you are fully comfortable standing, turning and even catching small unbroken waves it is time to try something new. Don’t forget there are no time limits to this sport and it may take a while even to get to this level, different people learn at different speeds. Great coaching can boost these stages. Relax and enjoy the ride!
The next stage would be to try something a little faster and more manoeuvrable. A fibreglass board, or custom board, with plenty of buoyancy is the next port of call. There are many available the most common of which is the Mini-Mal or Mini Malibu. These range from seven foot up to nine foot as a rough guide and come in a variety of shapes, widths and thicknesses. Ask a coach or shop assistant for good advice and most of them will guide you in the right direction if you are honest about your ability. At this level it takes some getting used to these boards and you may find that your progression slows a little, this is normal. Get plenty of water time in and work on going out to catch the unbroken waves, and then make your turns similarly at first to those you did back in the white water.
After some time and when you feel like tackling larger waves and ripping fast aggressive turns it is time to consider something a little smaller, or if you are developing a mellow cruisy style maybe you should try a Longboard. Shortboards are generally anything less than seven feet in length and Longboards are all those over nine foot long. Again you should choose according to your physical shape since all these boards can be made with different thicknesses or widths to give more or less buoyancy and perform differently in certain conditions.
As a general rule; Longer boards have greater buoyancy, a more drawn out turn, and paddle faster into waves. They are much harder to get through bigger waves on the way out. Shorter boards sink more in the water, are a little more unstable and slower to paddle, but very manoeuvrable, navigating under the waves on a paddle out with greater ease.
Remember be patient with your adventure into surfing and choose your equipment according to your ability then you will progress quickly.
We have talked about the main types of board you should consider as a novice. Beyond this there are a huge range of materials, shapes and sizes to play on, and nowadays its getting even more experimental. It’s a good idea to try out what works best for you before you commit to any one type. Consider your style and what sort of thing you like to do best in the wave.
Custom boards are made from polyurethane foam blanks which are shaped by hand, then covered in fibreglass cloth and finally coated with an epoxy resin which sets hard and smooth keeping water out, protecting the innards. They can thus be pre-ordered and built to your specifications and taste with different colours, patterns and graphics. These boards are relatively lightweight but can be dented or ‘dinged’ easily. The longer the board the more expensive it is. A new Longboard may cost around five hundred big ones, Shortboards and Minimals about two fifty to three hundred pounds respectively. If you look after your board that puppy should last a good few years.
To surf a custom board requires wax on the deck to enable your feet to stick, or you can buy stomp pads to stick on. Rub the wax on a cold deck in circular motions where your feet like to hang out, and build up the layers until humps start to visibly form, lovely! Refresh your wax job when it starts to get hard and dirty by leaving it in the sun, then scrape it off with a wax comb to get a clean surface ready for re-coating.
Moulded Surfboards are made in a mould and easier to produce en-mass. Although in general they are heavier, nowadays a revolution is occurring in that they are getting more buoyant than some custom boards and not as heavy as they used to be with the use of modern plastics. These boards are thought to be more resilient since being made from stronger materials. Basic pop outs can be made low tech and have a durable life for a relatively low cost of around one hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds. The high end boards are less durable and more expensive but have exciting characteristics, often floating higher in the water, giving them a looser feeling.
Buying your board
The moment you have been waiting for, getting a shinning new stick! Consider your budget and also the standard you are at. Try not to buy a softboard as a beginner as you will out-grow it very quickly. Spend some time on a softboard and get comfortable making turns, taking long rides before you consider buying anything. Also remember to try different boards before you buy, if possible! Think about this; you need to catch lots of waves to progress, so get a board you know you can stand up on, often! Get advice from experienced, approachable people who you trust.
As a novice get something fairly wide, at least nineteen inches across the belly of it, and around two point five inches thick at least. Try not to go for anything shorter than you until you rip! No seriously, as a novice head for something about a foot taller than you as a rough guide.
Fins may baffle you but don’t worry too much, just mind out for them because they are very sharp and fragile! Whether you like one big one or three little ones is up to you, they all stabilise the board and provide the drive as you pressure your back foot and tip over in order to make a turn happen. Three fins were developed to get as many turns in the wave as possible during surfing.
Having three fins loosens up the turn in a wave and makes it ‘snappier’. Try to avoid two fins as a novice since these are very loose, a little unstable, and generally used in smaller conditions as a sliding platform with less hold.
Don’t forget a vital safety component, The Leash!
Always wear one since it protects you and others from the board and also keeps the board near you, which is an important buoyancy aid. Never get lazy, relying on your leash by letting go of the board, this is very dangerous to others behind you in the line-up. If you have to let go of your board to get through a wave you should not be in conditions of that size, since it probably means you can’t handle it. Hold on!
Get a leash at least six foot in length, any shorter and your board may hit you in a wipe out. As a rough rule get a leash the same length as your board but no less than six feet long. A must is also a rail saver which is a piece of flat nylon that attaches on the part of your leash linking onto the board. This stops the cord from ripping through you spanking new rails. Always keep your leash in a good state and look out for damage or cracks, replacing it immediately if you suspect damage.
To buy or not to buy a second hand board?
If you do fancy getting a second-hand board on a budget be sure to look it over, making sure that it is in good condition. Look for dents in the surface, base and rails, or small hair line fractures in the resin, since these may be letting water in and are the signs of impact that may have weakened the board. If the board is yellowing and heavy, steer clear since it is likely letting in water and a reaction is occurring that is destroying the foam from the inside out, plus it will be like trying to surf a barge down the Thames. Make sure the fin and leash footings are all solid. Bear in mind it will never be perfect, just go for the best condition possible and ask advice from someone other than the person trying to sell it to you.
Look after your stick and never leave it lying around in the sun, for grommets to grovel on, or in the car on a hot day. Heat and direct sunlight will attack the foam’s molecules, weakening it, even delaminating in extreme cases.
Remember that none of us ever stop learning no matter what level we are at or what equipment we choose. Surfing is a lifelong progression, not just for Christmas! Enjoy the ride……..
In this country wetsuits are pretty much a necessity. If you stay warm in the water you will be a lot more comfortable and hence able to perform and coordinate your movement’s at the most efficient level for longer periods of time.
Wetsuits are made from neoprene and nylon, sometimes even mixed with rubber in some areas, designed either to protect from wear, or to repel water which cools the exterior of a suit taking important heat away from the core.
They are designed to let a small amount of water in, holding it next to your body, which heats up from the natural energy produced by you during exercise. The water gets flushed through during surfing especially when waves break on you. If this warm water escapes alot you will get cold, since new cold water will enter and you will use energy heating it again. It is important to minimise this flushing by choosing a well fitted suit without any baggy bits around your limbs. It should not be uncomfortable or restrict your circulation. Do not compromise in choosing your wetsuit as it will hamper your enjoyment if you get cold. Second hand suits are not really a good idea if you want to be surfing regularly, since they have formed around someone else’s body, and you have only to look how many different shapes and sizes humans come in. New suits come in a wide variety of sizes for men, women and kids, and don’t be afraid to try them on until one fits you perfectly. Different companies do have slightly different sizing so remember to check. Look to get a full length suit in England, of at least 3:2 ml thickness to start with.
Thickness of suits obviously varies according to how cold the water will be i.e. how much insulation is offered by the neoprene. The thicker the suit the less flexible and light it will be but the greater its capacity is to maintain heat. In Southern Britain the summer from June to October warrants a 3:2 millimetre thickness suit or 3:2 for short. This has neoprene panels in the core areas that are three millimetres thick and two millimetres thick in the leg and arm pieces. A spring suit will normally cover you either end of the season and throughout the winter if it’s combined with the use of boots, gloves and even a hood in extreme cases, which must all fit well so they do not fill with water. A spring suit is 4:3 in thickness.
Beyond this there are winter suits available in 5:4:3 ratios for extreme cold. Short arm and leg varieties are also on the market but these are really personal preferences depending on how much one feels the cold, or travels.
A great deal of suits are available some of which will dazzle you with technology. Remember that the seams which join each panel to one another are the important bits, since these and the zip which closes the suit are the key areas prone to splitting or water loss/entry.
Overlocked stitching is an exposed seam where the panels join and water penetrates these areas. Wetsuits with this type of seam are cheap, and flexible, but much colder due to extensive flushing.
Flatlock stitching is when the two pieces of neoprene are lapped together, forming a flat comfortable join. A band of interlocked thread is used on both sides of the suit. It does let some water in, but not as much as an overlocked seam will do. Summer suits are often made with this system.
Blind and glued stitching is the most effective form of seal, although not a durable it offers the best insulation. Panels are glued and butted together, sealing in stitches that do not penetrate the outside of the neoprene. This prevents any water entry, is the most comfortable and of course the warmest.
Rash vests are used underneath a suit to prevent rubbing of the neoprene against the skin which can cause chaffing in joint areas. Insulated vests are also available which can help retain warmth if used in conjunction with a correctly fitting suit. If your ears are susceptible to infections purchase some ear plugs that are designed for water use, but bear in mind that this will hamper your awareness.
The cost of wetsuits varies from a basic level of fifty pounds up to winter suits and technical suits of two hundred pounds.
To keep your wetsuit in good condition it is necessary to peel it off inside out without overstretching, rinse it thoroughly in fresh water then hang it up to dry away from direct sunlight preferably on a hanger. Try to avoid folding a wetsuit as it will crease easily, roll it up instead.
Advice to new Surfers Before entering
Use your head! Check the area and make sure you are not alone if in a remote area or even on a guarded beach. Take a buddy with you, besides its more fun. Look for any restrictions on the beach and adhere to them. If you are a beginner stick to beach breaks with a sandy beach at all states of the tide.
Make sure the top of your board is waxed up or has some form of grip as previously described, and check your leash is in good condition.
Watch the area before you go in to see where a good place to paddle out is and
On a busy lifeguarded beach, look for the black and white chequered flags. These are placed especially for surfers to hang out in between. This will prevent people with boards crashing down on bathers.
Remember your warm up before entering, spend about five minutes raising your heart rate and warming your muscles, however you like to do that.
When you carry your board hold it under arm with the fin on the inside and in clear view. Put your leash on at the waters edge, not in the car park! Try not to trail the leash in the sand behind as you walk to the sea, pick it up.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions to more experienced surfers or lifeguards if you are unsure of ANYTHING, before entering the water.
Paddling and Trim
Paddling out should only be attempted with the right conditions as a novice, simply because it is not possible until you get sufficient experience handling the board in white water first.
In the very beginning stick to waist depth of water and get used to catching broken waves prone. I.e. lying down in a trim position on the board, that is to say in balance and in full control, making directional changes. Trim is an important word so let’s define it. When a surfboard is in trim it is cruising along with the speed of the wave supporting it, if it sinks and slows down it is out of trim. It can come out of trim under the influence of a rider or the wave depending on the position you hold on the board or the wave face. If you are too far forward on the board and the nose digs in this is called a Pearl and it means you are out of trim. You can accelerate a board up to a certain point by putting weight forward or pushing down the nose, in the extreme this will turn into a pearl unless
adjustment is made. At the opposite end of the scale if your weight is too far back the board will stall and loose speed, this is also out of trim. So to conclude being in trim is about maintaining your balance and speed at equilibrium, and your body will be centred on the equipment. In general, when lying down, try to keep the tip of your board just above the surface of the water by about one to two inches, this will be very close to the ideal trim on any board. Practise paddling with a front crawl stroke either side of the board before the wave hits and then cruising down the wave face in control towards the beach.
TIPS; Try not to wiggle around too much when paddling as this will upset the balance and stability of the board. Paddle close to the rails with long, deep strokes.
Raise your head up and arch your back as you feel the wave come underneath you, this will help you catch the wave and reduce amount of friction between the board and the surface of the water, enabling you to slip down the face of the wave.
The more speed you have the more stable the board will be, since the fin will act as a stabiliser with increased forward momentum.
The Take Off and Pop Up
It takes time to understand the timing of waves so be patient, observe, and feel the rhythms. Position yourself towards the beach in preparation for a take off, making sure that no one is in your line of riding. Get used to looking over your shoulder for a wave and paddling in anticipation as the wave approaches a point about four to five metres behind you. As you develop you will be able to adapt this start and learn to accelerate quicker.
Once the wave lifts up the board’s tail you must really drive deep and get a final boost with three ‘power’ strokes and then bring your hands in to hold the rails in a position just below your shoulders, in line with your chest. Enjoy the ride!
TIPS; Control the direction and speed with adjustments to your
Do this a few times to get comfortable with things. Now you are ready to attempt jumping up to your feet or ‘popping up’. Paddle to catch a wave as before, except this time, as the board starts to accelerate down the wave, after your power strokes, the moment your hands grab the rails spring out of your toes thrusting your bum skywards aiming to plant your front foot in a central position on the board, half way up the deck and over the stringer at a slight angle, toes pointing slightly forward. The back foot does not travel as far, resting near the fins on the rear portion of the board, shoulder width behind the front, at right angles to the stringer or centre line. As soon as your feet hit the deck release your hands from the rails and raise them to chest level. Keep the tip of the board up, don’t sink that tail too much and ride ‘em cowboy! Yeeeehaaaaaaaa.
It will be fantastic getting up for the first time, even if for a few seconds it will be like walking on the face of the moon! Try to stand for as long as possible, and just before the board hits the sand or you finish a ride, slow it down and weight the tail into a stall then dismount. Bring your hands to the rails then slide off to one side of the board, keeping hold of it. Don’t just jump off, as you can hurt yourself and the board may hit others.
TIPS! Stance; When you get up to your feet try to drop your centre of mass towards the board. This will help to stabilise you, making for an easier platform from which to make balance adjustments. People tend to stand straight legged to start with because they feel unbalanced, this will make it harder and often throw the rider straight off. Keep a straight back, looking forward with the head, legs flexed, bum tucked in. Raise your lead arm to chest level and use it as an aim or focal point for your ride trajectory. The back arm naturally can stay loose trailing behind the body making fine balance adjustments, this will encourage your shoulders to generally follow the tip to tail line of the surfboard if travelling in a straight line. All these things should keep your centre properly aligned over the middle of the board, where you can start to command it by small adjustments in weight distribution.
Once comfortable and in control, make directional changes by tipping in the direction of choice, turning the lead arm into the new trajectory line. As this is done pressure up the back foot a little to release the nose of the board, allowing it to pivot about the fins with your body’s rotation into the new line of travel. Then apply some more weight to the front of the board to accelerate.
Paddling beyond the white water
When you get comfortable riding and making some directional changes choose a day, when the conditions allow for paddling out to an area where you can catch unbroken waves. This can be done on a foam board for the first time, or a suitable custom board that you have practised on. For the first paddle out you should look for clean one to two foot conditions. Anything bigger and it will be too hard to learn anything or even get out there. Take someone more experienced with you or use an instructor’s guidance in a lesson.
Start to paddle at a rate of roughly one stroke every one and a half seconds, head up off the board looking out to sea, toes clear and up out of the water. As a wave approaches place your hands on the rails, level with your chest, in order to push up and let the wave wash below your body and over the deck of the board. This will stop you getting pushed back by a wave.
If the white water is too big ask yourself if you are ready for these conditions? If you are, take a big breath, navigate oncoming white water using a turtle roll. I.e. keep hold of the rails tightly so that the base is now out of the water and you are underwater on your back, thrust the nose into the wave and frog kick to help you through. As the wave passes roll back over and mount the board to continue the paddle out.
On smaller boards and with lots of practise which may amount to many seasons, the most effective way to get through a wave is to duck-dive. This is a very tricky technique to get to grips with and you will need some guidance. In simple terms the nose of the board is forced down under the wave then the tail is pushed through after it by your feet, resurfacing the other side of the passing wave, nose first.
It is entirely possible to get out the back without using duck diving, instead timing, and choosing the correct area to paddle out.
Once you make it beyond the breaking waves sit up on the middle of your board legs dangling in the water either side. This will be hard at first. Use your feet in a treading water motion to stabilise you, as well as your hands if need be. Now you can catch your breath and look for a wave to catch.
Practise turning the board while sitting down, since it takes longer turning when lying down. Pull the board round from your viewing position, to point towards the beach when you see a wave approach at fifteen to twenty foot behind you.
Build up a deep paddling stroke to get speed. As the wave comes around the tail of the board lift up your chin and feet, arching your back, whilst really driving the water back with your hands as hard as you can. Only when you feel the board start to slide down the face of the wave should you grab the rails and jump as quick as you can to your feet. Don’t hesitate just do it! Go into automatic. Your muscles will remember how from all the practice you have put in, on the inside. If you take too long the board will be heading straight down and the wave will devour you!
TIPS!; When lying down learn to use the muscles in your stomach and upper legs to correct any balance adjustments. The nearer you can place your hands to your ribs the easier it will be to jump up.
Wow, so you’re up and surfing hey!
As soon as you start catching unbroken waves you will have to get used to turning to avoid the white water, staying ahead of the curl. Turn as described before but look at which way the wave is peeling first. Remember to get a good idea of what the wave tends to do at that spot before you go in and if you are in the right spot on the peak you will know which way to go. The closer you can get to the white water without being taken out, the more radical your surfing is considered to be. The ultimate is actually being under the lip or in a tube!!!!
Leaving the wave
If you run out of wave, ride all the way to shore, or want to slow down for avoidance, you must stall the board by loading the tail with more pressure, then pivot back over the wave by dipping the rails into the water. As the board sinks hold onto it to prevent it from popping back out. In shallows on a white water wave stall the tail until the wave overtakes your board, then dismount appropriately.
Be in control of your stick at all times. If you start letting the board dictate to you things will get dangerous. Keep her on a leash! Surfing with finesse is what makes a good surfer. This finesse comes from great control and smooth muscle movements on execution of manoeuvres. To attain these qualities; practise in stages, building yourself up with achievable goals for your level of riding.
The road to enlightenment
Refinements can always be made in surfing and likewise all the techniques can be mastered with the aid of a BSA accredited coach quicker than without one. Get stuck in, read some surfing books and watch videos to help get a nice perspective on this great sport. Good Luck.
It’s a good idea to cover yourself in the seas with Third Party Insurance Cover. Public Liability Insurance is included with membership to the BSA, covering you for claims of up to two million pounds anywhere in the world.
- When paddling out; keep clear of other surfers who are riding waves and other water users.
- If a surfer is coming towards you in a wave as you are paddling out and you are unsure which direction to head for safety, head towards the white water out of his path, even if it means you get tumbled by the wave.
- Never ditch your board on a paddle out in order to swim through a wave.
When taking off; stay clear of
Ensure that no other surfer is already up and riding towards you on a wave. If you were to try and ‘drop in’ on his wave you are in the wrong. This is the ‘right of way’ rule for waves. First surfer up on the wave has right of way.
Look after all your equipment and have responsibility for it and yourself in the oceans or on the beach.
If ever in doubt ask advice or assistance from Lifeguards or more experienced surfers.
It’s a good idea to have insurance cover in this day and age.
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British Surfing Association