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1 – The Surfing Philosophy – Fun!

Chapter 1: When you learn to surf, it’s all about the FUN!

It’s challenging to learn to surf and can take years to master. When you take up surfing you should have realistic expectations. Many beginners get discouraged that they’re not carving backside 360’s on their first attempt. Without trying to sound too philosophical, surfing is all about the journey, whether you are just starting out or have been doing it for years.

It’s great to have a goal of being able to do advanced maneuvers, but set small goals along the way. I guarantee you, those “first times” will get you so stoked! From the first time you stand up, to the first time you steer the board even a little, to the first time you ride the green unbroken face…it’s truly an experience. Celebrate the small steps. You WILL learn to surf.

Before you begin, decide that you won’t get too frustrated. Surfing is supposed to be fun! It can be fun to just sit on your board and enjoy the beauty of the ocean without catching a single wave. If you’re not having fun, take a break. The last thing you want to do is get so upset that you vow never to return to the water again. Ask any surfer and they’ll tell you it is NOT an easy sport to learn. It can take a long time to develop the experience needed to do certain moves and read weather and wave patterns. Surfing generally favors those with a “try try again” attitude, so try to adopt this mentality. The only way to get better is to keep practicing!

The younger you are the easier it is to pick up any sport, and that includes surfing. Rest assured, however, people from all ages can successfully learn to surf! I started to learn to surf at age 18, and I was also afraid of the ocean. If I can do it, so can you! People also surf well into their 80’s, so don’t think that you’re “too old” to surf. Some of the best surfers in the water are the older folks.

Now that you’ve got the right mindset, let’s keep going!


  1. …just wanted to say I love this website. I’ve read through several of your articles but figured I’d post my shout out to you in this one as it resonated with me the most. I surfed (read: attempted to surf) on the East Coast a little in my youth, and through every fall I enjoyed it all the same. Then “the adult life” (or so I thought) caught up and kicked into high gear without me stepping onto a board for two plus decades. The years passed as fast as they came and there I was (now on the West Coast) staring 41 years in the face. Fortunately, an opportune moment and a little spontaneity landed me with 2 wide open weekends to grab this bull again, so after I banished any mental hesitations from holding me back, a quick run by the O’Neill shop for a wetsuit and then by Costco for a $99 foamy, I was once again perched upon the ocean. I’m not a young man anymore, but I’m not a dead one either, and this article sums up the feeling that I not only once had, but that I’ve been lucky enough to come back to: “fun…and enjoy(ing) the beauty of the ocean”. I’ve also met some really great folks in the lineups; guys in their mid-60’s who’ve been surfing all their life and make it look easy, but who are also great mentors and locals welcoming of a newbie who’s just looking to have some fun again. The ocean is alive and it’ll share her energy with you if you allow it…just get out there and be open to letting it happen. Thanks for this great site full of good information!

  2. I’m from Toronto, Canada celebrating my 51st birthday in Maui with my family. My two sons, Matthew 23 and Justin 21, wanted to learn to surf. We booked a two hours lesson with Maui Wave Riders. Only the three of us were assigned to Akima, a surf instructor at MWR. On the beach, he taught us all the motions we needed to go through and made sure we practiced a few times before we hit the waves. In the water, we already knew what we had to do and were not afraid to try it. Akima continued to guide us in the water and on my first wave, I surfed to about 10 feet from the beach.It was an awesome experience. I was completely stiff the next day with aching muscles that I never knew I had but definitely looking forward continue surfing. Thanks Akima and MWR.

  3. I just took my first surfing lesson yesterday on Maui! What a rush! I thought I was going to be scared, but when I got out there at 8am in the beautiful warm water, with Carlos from Maui Beach Boys, it just felt natural. The lesson was awesome and I was able to stand up and ride right away! I feel totally changed and can’t wait to do it again! By the way, I’ll be 47 years old next week. In my opinion it’s all about fun and it’s never too late to try something new! 🙂

  4. thanks for the tips on this site. i am 25 yrar old who wanted to learn to surf but, haven had the chance to. i was looking for info in florida tanpa bay surfing because i ‘ll be moving there soon. i’ll be looking forward on appling this tips when i get there and take a few lessons.

  5. thank you 😀 im 18 and ive been dabbling renting boards for a year, but now that i can go down to the beach by myself, i intend on picking it up heavily year round. i got my own board for my birthday! 😀

  6. Great stuff. New to your site and have to say the openness of style and the great, coherent, sensible information offered is just so cool. I am a complete new, wannabe at age 58. To have so much right here in one place is just a gas and I salute you for your generous spirit and obvious love of the ocean, sport and fellow surfers. I was run off from the sport in my youth, by locals id’ing “valley kooks” before we could even get in the water, so, I really appreciate the real surfing ambassadors I have encountered since. Anyway, thanks for your site and all you have put into it.


  7. Thank you for the info on the surf attitude. Im 17 and want to learn to surf (my dad surfed for 3 years but almost forgot since its been 10 years) and i live an hour and a half from the beach. So every time i get out there i get so frustrated when i cant stand up but now i know to appreciate even just the journey of learning to surf !

  8. Yep, I had my first 2 lessons this week at the beginig of nov09 at the age of 37.

    Had 2 different instructors at sennan cove Cornwall, both we excelleant And both taught me that journey is as much fun.

    Managed to stand for 5 seconds first time after and hour and half of strong winds and 15 foot swells. Awesome feeling to stand. The second lessons actually stood for 8 seconds with similar conditions.

    The brief joy of standing has me hooked.

    1. I surfed all over California and parts of Mexico, Baja for close to 30 years and I have never seen anyone even act like they were thinking about going out in 15 foot surf their first time on a board. Flat out I’m calling you a liar!

      1. I was thinking the same exact thing. Fake story. 1st time out and caught 15 foot waves?
        If you believe that, let me tell you about a bridge that I am selling.

        Actually, all the post comments seem fake. All above comments about surfing instructors sound like shameless plugs about surfing schools in Maui. I call BS on those reviews.

  9. Hello,
    I am 36 and I just started surfing. Oh, and I am female too. On my second lesson my fantastic instructor from San Clemente just sat in the water with me on our boards and appreciated the ocean and beauty. It made me so comfortable and at ease in the ocean. I am still a little scared because I had a bad experience and almost drowned years earlier but his patients and commitment made it all the better and I am indeed having fun. I think I’ll stick with surfing the rest of my life. I think a great instructor or friend to surf with and a positive attitude is paramount. Thanks for your beautiful words. Woushi

  10. dude thank you I like the philosophy part and the part reminding you that it should be fun. often it just feels like so much paddle and not that much surfing when you’re just starting, but each of those lil moments are what count when they add up to a lot of fun and successes

    1. I have been surfing for 10 years now and i still love getting in the water. Even if the waves are bad, it is still worth it to be a part of nature.

      Ventura, ca

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