11 Sep What to expect of the surf lessons ?
Don’t we all dream of elegantly flowing along 3ft waves? Maybe some of us dream of charging 6ft barrels? Whether you have just started, booked your first surf trip or have been surfing for years, at some point you will wonder how long exactly it will take to master those skills. Honestly, there is no straightforward answer. As in any sport, a lot of progression depends on how much time you have to commit and of course, there is an aspect of physical ability and talent involved.
What we can tell you is what you can expect of the Chicks on Waves surf weeks and how we see the surf level of our guests generally progress over the weeks.
Before going into the details, there is one important factor that will have a very positive effect on your learning curve. While most seasoned surfers will tell you surfing is not a sport, but a lifestyle. You might want to treat it as a sport when you start.
You will have to expect some physical effort. Not just for paddling, which uses specific muscle groups, and sitting on your board (core muscles!) but you also have to take the power of the ocean into account. Swimming is a great confidence booster and yoga can help to strengthen your core. Whatever you do, a certain level of fitness will give you a head start!
What can you expect of your first week surfing with Chicks on Waves?
You’ll learn all about the basics before hitting the water. All about your surfboard and important rules to keep you safe in the water. Surfing etiquette is very important knowledge if you want to keep everyone around you happy, whatever your surfing level! This is something you’ll have to keep in mind whenever you hit the waves and wherever you are in the world. You’ll learn how to safely transport your board. Oh yes, this is harder than you think, certainly on a windy day.
Then, your instructor will tell you about specific hazards to look out for. Every beach has its own and the instructors will share their local knowledge with you, but there are a few clues that can help you anywhere. Before you try to catch your first wave, your instructor might let you experience the power of the ocean through bodysurfing. Once you have experienced how powerful the waves can be, you’ll be practicing lying on the board to gain balance and feel the speed of the waves once they catch you. On dry land, you’ll learn the techniques of standing up.
Now comes the tricky, but most fun, part. You’ll get to practice standing up in the white-water of the waves. You’ll experience when is the right time to paddle and when to stand up. If you’re a quick learner, your instructor will teach you how to turn the board so you might even start gliding along the white-water waves.
It’s time to keep practicing. Surfing takes time, but if you commit to spending as much time in the waves as you can, you’ll progress! Before you know it, you’ll be nailing every pop up and you’ll be ready for the green (unbroken) waves!
I’ve been surfing once before, what can I expect of my second week?
Of course, your surfing level will depend on how long ago you surfed last and how much progress you made during that first week. Your instructor will probably take you out into the waves to evaluate your level at the start of your second week.
Once the instructor is happy that you have mastered the pop up and can turn your board, they’ll go over surf priorities and etiquette again. Just in case you’d forgotten, remember, I said this is very important! We all want to be happy and safe in the waves.
You’ll learn a little more about the waves and how they break, if they are lefts or rights.
The instructor will talk about timing the pop-up and turns, and how to accelerate and brake.
Sounds quite odd at the start, but yes it is possible on a surfboard.
This week you’ll be aiming to progress to catching green waves, these are unbroken waves, so you will no longer be trying to catch white-water. I hear you thinking, how do I get out the back? This is where you will learn how to either duck dive, or if you have a board with more volume, turtle roll. Once you made it out beyond the breaking waves, it’s time to start practicing catching those green waves, popping up and trimming along. This is where the real stoke will hit you!
I can catch green waves, what else can you teach me?
When you reach this level, generally around 3 weeks or more of intensive surfing and practicing. Don’t worry if it takes you a little longer. As I said before, it all depends how much time you can commit. If you live close to the beach and have the chance to surf whenever it’s good, then it goes without saying, you’ll progress quicker than landlocked surfers who get a week or a few weeks a year at most. So, don’t beat yourself up too much if your progression is a little slower, just remember to have lots of fun in the water.
Ideally, at this level you’ll aim to book yourself a stay during spring or autumn for the best chance on waves suitable for your level.
As always, this week is a chance to solidify your abilities on green waves. From duckdiving / turtle roll, to positioning in the line-up, timing of paddling, take off and turning. You’ll progress to trimming; snake lining along the open face of the wave (get those turns in!) and, not to be forgotten, exiting the wave safely. Practice, practice, practice! (And smile!)
We hope this has given you a rough idea of what to expect when booking multiple weeks or returning to Chicks on Waves after your first or second week. We can’t stress enough that, as with any sport, progress is very personal. Your instructor will keep a close eye on you and help you wherever needed. They’ll give you personal tips and maybe even some challenges to help you progress quicker.
But remember, the best surfer is the one having the most fun!