Chapter 6: Finding a good beginner break to learn to surf

Finding a good spot to learn to surf is an important ingredient when you're just starting out. Small, gentle waves and a sandy beach are the keys. You wouldn’t want to begin your surfing career at Pipeline!

Key ingredients to a good beginners surf spot:

  • Relatively uncrowded—you want a few people around for safety, but you don’t want to be in a crowd, either.

  • Sand bottom—much easier on feet and boards, especially for beginners.

  • Calm, crumbling waves—don’t try to learn to surf where the waves are very steep and hollow. In certain areas, it’s hard to find a crumbling wave, but it’s worth a little investigation.

  • Big sandbar—it’s important to be able to wade out and catch the lines of whitewater at first, so try to find a nice big sandbar with knee to waist-high water.

Things to watch out for when selecting a surf spot:

  • Don’t go where the more experienced surfers are. You’ll only get in the way, create dangerous situations, and annoy everyone.

  • When you’re just starting to learn to surf, find a peak to yourself if possible.

  • If you’re very new, make sure there’s at least some people around. Sometimes you can surf near a lifeguard, but don’t surf between the lifeguard’s flags.

  • Watch out for surfing restrictions in certain areas. Some places will not let you surf during certain hours of the day.

  • Make sure you have the right parking permits! A parking ticket will kill your day and your stoke.

  • Don’t surf in the shorebreak. This is very dangerous! Shorebreak is when the waves break right onto the sand at the edge of the waterline.

Now that you've got the right beach picked out, let's move on to Chapter 7: Practicing on land

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