It’s one of the most frequently asked questions we get — exactly how long does it take to learn to surf? While surfing isn’t the most physically demanding or detail-oriented sport, there’s still stuff you’ve got to know before you start riding the waves.
So our answer is, most beginners should be out there on the waves after just a few lessons. Let’s dive into what it takes to learn to surf.
Back to the basics
Before you even think about hitting the water, you have to know the basics. We’re talking about learning how to:
- Know where to look while paddling and popping up
- Focus your center of gravity
- Find the perfect footing
- Execute a great pop-up
- Find the best positions on the board
- Find your balance on the board
- Paddle correctly
- And whatever else our instructors think you should know
Most of the basics will take place on land, and, depending on your attitude and aptitude, you could be out on your first wave in as little as half an hour.
Up your game: Intermediate and advanced surfing
So the basics have been learned — what next? If you think that just getting out into the water means you’ve learned to surf, then congrats, you’re done. But if you’re a serious surfer, you know that there’s so much more waiting for you past the whitewater.
Picking up surfing basics is a pretty fast process, but the rest of it? Not so much. Reaching the intermediate stage of surfing is going to require some serious dedication. We’re talking weeks and months of consistent learning. We’re talking hours and hours of practicing your pop-ups, turtle rolls, duck dives, paddling techniques, and learning how to spot and catch the perfect wave without an instructor by your side.
The difference between an intermediate and advanced surfer is hundreds, maybe thousands of hours of practice. Most of us won’t get to the point where we’re ripping down the waves performing aerials, and you know what? That’s okay! Just know that if the pro level is your goal, you’d better be ready to commit years of dedicated practice to the sea.
Some help from the crew
Those months and years of practice might seem a little daunting. So, we’ve got some tips for making things go a little faster.
- Hopefully, you’re a confident swimmer before you pick up a board, but if not, now is the time to hone your skills.
- Take some time for strength training and yoga — you’ll benefit from the extra flexibility and power.
- Age matters less than physical fitness does, so if you want the learning process to be quick, stay in shape!
- Advanced and even intermediate maneuvers can take hundreds of hours to learn — don’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed right away.
- The more you surf, the faster you’ll learn. Get out there on the water every chance you get!
Our final answer
So, how long does it take to surf? That’s up to you.
The majority of beginners will feel comfortable riding whitewater after anywhere from 5-20 hours, but it all depends on your fitness, equipment, weather conditions, instructors, and effort.
Patience and persistence can make you a good surfer, but only motivation can make you a great one. If you’re ready to learn to surf like the pros, visit our site today for more must-know surfing tips, tricks, and advice or to learn more about our Costa Rica surfing adventures.