How Long Does It Take to Learn to Surf

How Long Does It Take to Learn to Surf?

By Sophia the SeaMonster on Jan 08, 2023

Psychology says: You can fasten the surf-learning process if you get your learning habits right, stay motivated, attach strong emotions to it, and stay laser-focused. 

Surveys revealed: The amount of time taken to learn surfing can be as little as three hours and as much as two months or more.

By agreeing with the points above firmly and coupling them with some other things - back-breaking research and listening from pro surfers (some of them are coaches at surf schools, BTW) about their journeys - I would release some good news:

“For most beginner surfers, learning the basics and riding their first glassy waves within just a few first learning hours is pretty easy and quick. Then no matter that surfing is the watersport that falls roughly in the middle of the ‘sports difficulty ranking.’”

Now, you decide what’s yours, a few hours, or months? Scroll down to find out how much time surfing requires you to spend, and key elements that can slow down or fasten up the learning curve.

So, let’s do what’s ‘above board’ together, Shall we?

How Long Does it Take to Learn to Surf?

It’s impossible to tell an exact figure. In some incredible cases, newbies found themselves riding their first wave after just an hour of basic training. Others found it a matter of 4-5 hours, while some took a full month before riding their first wave fairly smoothly. Let’s find out the ‘almost’ exact time needed to learn how to surf and the key elements to get you better at it!

The Breakdown of Surfing Steps

  • Lying and Balancing - The first stage could take you between half an hour and two or three hours.
  • Paddle and Catch - Your first paddle to finally catch a wave can take another hour or two, depending on your fitness level.
  • The Pop-up Move - The time spent making these moves will depend on how many times you try them. You’ll surely fall off the surfboard a lot, which can be 50 times or more, and get pounded by closeout waves.
  • Feet Positioning - Newbies should be farther back on the board. Just a few seconds of focusing on your feet and positioning on each move will save you minutes of trying after trying, from paddling to catching another wave.

How Long Does It Take to Get Good at Surfing?

A coach can help you figure out all those things pretty quickly.

There are elements like the quality of the waves, the swimming skills, the knowledge of the ocean, and the appropriate equipment. All of them contribute to making a beginner to an advanced level.

But the main elements which work as important initial milestones are what you need to have a good grasp of when you start surfing for the first time. Without these, all of the others learned by a coach or by experience aren’t useful. These include:

How Fit Are You?

Surfing puts your mental and physical strength, endurance, and flexibility to the test.

The fitter and more flexible you are, the faster you’ll learn and get better at surfing.

Though those few minutes spent in the gym daily will pay you off on the water if that regular workout routine hasn’t been or isn’t going to be your idea, here’s a shortcut to getting there with less effort!

The major muscle groups surfing involves to get you even started are our arms and shoulders. Remember, the first move involves these two muscles - staying balanced on the board and then paddling to catch a wave simultaneously. So, instead of working your whole body out, you can focus on these two muscles while other body muscles will be targeted secondarily. This hack can be helpful initially and will reduce the learning time, but those few minutes daily in the gym are worth spending for faster and better results.

The same goes with your agility and flexibility - You must consistently bend your knees, rotate your hips, shift your feet back and forth, and sometimes lean forwards or backward to adjust your position. All are possible when you’re reasonably flexible. 

Your Mind is Where You Find Success

Now comes the mental part - the sooner and faster you learn to cope with that initial, failure-driven frustration, the faster you’ll catch your first wave! You only need to learn a few hacks on how your mind strongly influences your body. That’s it.

Have Someone to Guide You

Like learning anything in life, the value of a mentor is inevitable. Whether you find one on the web or pay to hire one, they’ll theoretically and practically guide you.

Even before you get hit by the angry ocean, they’ve already told you that the calmer, unbroken waves are easier to ride and maneuver. Also, some ocean knowledge is at play regarding the right conditions. Want to catch a wave and ride it for longer? They’ll teach - and show - you when a wave is coming and where it’ll peak. And much more like these.

Wrapping Up

Learning the basics takes as little as a few hours if you’re physically and mentally fit; get someone to guide you, and put all your surf lessons into practice again and again. Similarly, getting better at it and even advancing to more fun types like bodysurfing requires persistence, discipline, and a passion for standing out from others. Best wishes are yours for riding a wave like a pro!

NextHow to Body Surf? The Best Practices to Read & ‘Ride’ Waves

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