When Learning Don't Just Jump into the Best Waves You Can Find

After learning to surf for a few months now I can quite easily say that this is the best piece of advice I can think of and, perhaps too, the most crucial part of efficient surfing progress: Choose Carefully Where and When to Surf.

To push your limits is important, however, to know your limits and not get in the way of better surfers is even more so. I have had my most progressive days in 1-2ft waves now that I'm starting to get up regularly and beginning to trim down the line and thinking more of balance and turning.

The other day I had an hour of total humiliation at Putsborough. Going out in the most fantastic 4-5ft surf I couldn't get my Mini Mal past the whitewater. I thought it might have helped my fitness/muscles/paddling etc but the next day out, in much better conditions for me, my muscles ached, I couldn't get paddling strongly and I ended up pulling a knee ligament because my body was tired and overly strained from the day before. If I had got through the whitewater at Puts there's no doubt I would have just annoyed the better surfers who were testing their limits in the appropriate place for them. I would probably have learned more by watching and waiting for the smaller surf on the following day.

When you are learning, to browse Eyeball Surfcheck, cruise the beaches and choose the biggest and best looking waves with your new found 'surfing eye' is a mistake. To look out for the easiest small waves - the right size for you - is the best thing to do. I have been out on another evening at Putsborough when it was so busy there must have been easily over a hundred surfers out and you could see the frustration as everyone looked around looking for space. I caught two waves and each time was just worried that I was going to fall and crack someone with my board. It would have been better without me in the water on that day too. My biggest worry when surfing is becoming another bit of jetsam for other surfers to have to avoid. There's nothing more depressing than paddling out and finding yourself forcing someone off a wave. If you do (and it is inevitable on occasion in our messy surf) apologise, and just do your best to minimise getting in the way.

Click here to go to surfing handbook dot com for a nice page on surfing etiquette.

So if you come to Devon to learn to surf: make your best surfing decision of the day before you even get in the water.


  1. Great post man... I've seen so many friends give up on surfing because they're trying to learn in the wrong conditions and end up getting beat up by the surf and frowned upon by fellow surfers. It's so much more enjoyable when you're riding the right waves for your skill level. Good luck on your surfing progression!


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