How To Surf – Your First Surfboard
Surfing is a sport marveled by people worldwide. The big waves, the beach, the sun, the bikinis, and the coolness of the sport makes it the perfect challenge and a natural draw for The Rugged Male. It’s also a sport that requires tremendous athletic ability and skill. Mother Nature will give you plenty of beat downs but when you ride your first wave, you will be hooked for life. Surfing meets five of the recreational needs most rugged men crave – Nature, Endurance, Spiritual, Challenging & Speed. That is why we have mapped out a strategy for The Rugged Male who needs to feed this burning curiosity and learn how to surf.
It is much more difficult than you might think, especially if you haven’t spent a lot of time swimming in the ocean and understand how waves break. There are so many things to consider, paddling strength, timing, balance & reading the wave. But guess what? It all starts with your first surfboard. Your board, a burning passion to learn and a humble attitude is all that is required to begin surfing. (Oh.. an ocean with a break helps too).
The best scenario for you is to find a friend who is a good surfer and ask him to take you to the surf shop. He will get you set up. Many of you may not have that luxury, so if you don’t have any surfing bros, make sure you go to a local and well respected surf shop. This doesn’t mean Play It Again Sports or Dick’s or buying online. You will need to speak with an experienced surfer at the shop. Tell him you are a beginner and where you plan to surf. If you think you have an idea of what you want, trust us you don’t. Follow the advice of the surf shop. They do this for a living and are into long term relationships so they will not misguide you.
We are assuming you have some decent athletic skills and can swim. Your surf shop will most likely suggest that you start with an 8-foot spoon nose board. If you are bigger dude, they may suggest larger. This type of board is referred to as a mini long board and is a good beginner board. There is no need to go much bigger, you cant handle it and will hurt yourself, or others. Stay away from the soft tops with boogie board type material. You will be laughed at and you might as well learn on the real deal, a fiberglass, hand-shaped surfboard.
A new surfboard will cost you around $600. If you are on a budget then you can save $2-300 buying a used surfboard. Either route is OK. If you pay with cash, a surf shop will typically comp the tax, which helps. The shorter boards 6′ 0″ – 6′ 5″s are for high performance, rippers only. That’s not you. You can always go down in size once you get better. Don’t even think about buying a board with a fancy airbrush. Get a simple design. Remember you don’t want to draw attention to yourself when you’re flopping around out there going over the falls. Fancy colored airbrush and bright colors went away in the nineties. Less is more, especially when you’re a beginner.
This perhaps is the most important advice. You want to stay away from crowds so you’re not in the way of more experienced surfers. Its a free for all when the waves come, there is no ‘waiting your turn’. If you are in a somewhat crowded area, there is a pecking order. You need to understand it and respect it. Stay inside and take the waves the experienced surfers let go by.
Thank You For Reading!
TRM provided backup vocals on this article written by our resident surf expert The Bug Man. Bug is a long time surfer, a gentleman and inspiration to all Rugged Males.
The killer photos were provided by our good friend Ken Pagliaro, a California based travel and surf photog. See Kenny’s work at www.kenpagliaro.com