10 Mistakes Beginner Surfers Make & How To Fix Them

Imagine padding into the sapphire blue ocean on a warm sunny afternoon and feeling the euphoric rush of catching the perfect wave on your surfboard. At Kalon Surf, we can make that dream come true. The surf coaches at our luxury, all-inclusive surf resort will teach you how to surf on some of the best beaches in Costa Rica

We understand learning how to surf requires tons of patience and dedication, but we assure you the payout lives up to the hype. To get you started, our surf experts outline some beginner surf mistakes to avoid and teach you how to fix these surfing mistakes.

1. Misplacing weight 

A common beginner surf mistake is misplacing weight on the board. If you have no surfing experience, getting up on the board for the first time might feel like balancing on a tightrope — the struggle can be real. Here’s a tip that might get your head around why positioning is of prime importance — your surfboard is like a see-saw, and you’re the pivotal axis that keeps the board balanced. If you’re too far up or down, the board will naturally tip like a pendulum in the direction of where you’re sitting. The trick is to locate the spot where your balance is on point and then use visual cues, i.e., the graphics on your board, to orient yourself each time you catch a wave.

2. Using the wrong board

You might have seen the surf pros shredding through high-head waves on their short, sleek boards, and you might have found yourself wanting to get one. The kicker is you’re a surfing newbie, and since we’re here to tell you how to fix surfing mistakes, we suggest it’s best to leave that six-foot board behind. Why? Because a wide board is excellent for learning how to balance, and as a beginner, you won’t be riding those massive hollow waves. You need to start on small waves and a small board — so dimensions ranging from eight to nine feet are the way to go.

3. Not training on dry land

Working and running through your pop-ups on dry land goes a long way in building muscle memory. As with all forms of sport, the more intuitive a movement is, the greater the proficiency. Simulating the act of surfing helps you learn how to maintain your balance. You might feel a little silly at first, but if you don’t make this beginner surf mistake, you’ll soon master the moves that keep you firmly on your board while in the water. 

4. Not knowing which way to paddle out

Whitewater can be tricky to maneuver. A beginner surf mistake is attempting to paddle right through it instead of circumventing it from the side. Place yourself approximately five meters from where the waves are starting to lift — that’s the sweet spot. If you’re having trouble, the surf coaches at Kalon Surf will always ensure you paddle the right way.

5. Not watching for other surfers

The water has its own set of rules and surfer etiquette to follow. Each surfer has to find their place in the line-up, and you don’t want to get in their way. Surfers take turns riding waves, so be aware of your surroundings at all times and keep track of where the other surfers are paddling. Don’t turn into a kook snaking on someone else’s wave.

6. Popping up to early or late

When you’re learning how to fix surfing mistakes, a pop-up should be timed to perfection. Unlike seasoned pros, beginners are still learning the rhythms of the wave, so you could pop up too late or a little too early. You need to get accustomed to the feel of the wave’s momentum — and as soon as it starts to rise, that’s when you paddle in.

7. Dropping to a knee during a pop-up 

The other beginner surf mistake is dropping to one of the knees during a pop-up which leads to a wipe-out. The best way to tackle this problem is to stay low while getting up on the board with your feet slightly wider than your shoulder span. Under the guidance of our surf experts, you’ll have this move in the bag in no time.

8. Grabbing rails during pop-ups

To stabilize themselves, beginners often end up grabbing rails during pop-ups. Although this might seem like an intuitive move to make, most wipeouts can be traced back to this beginner surf mistake. The easiest way to fix this error is by mimicking the motions of a push-up and jumping up on both feet.

9. Not looking down the line 

Not looking down the line is also on our list because many beginners don’t realize that the board moves in the direction you face. If you’re looking at the beach, the board will ride towards the shore. The best way to correct this issue is to look down the line so you’re moving across the wave rather than in front of it.

10. Bending At The Waist

A frequent beginner surf mistake is adopting the wrong stance, such as bending at the waist. Although this position allows you to feel balanced, it can limit mobility. Bending the knees allows for greater control and prevents the board from slipping while you’re riding the line. Initially, learning how to surf might be a little overwhelming, but our surf coaches will make sure you get it right.

Other things surfing beginners should consider: 

  • How often you should surf to improve 

So, how long does it take for you to learn how to surf? The more often you surf, the better you get. On average, learning basic maneuvers such as paddling on your board without falling off can take around 30 hours. Catching green waves involves a minimum of 160 hours of practice time. 

If you want to fast-track your surfing skills and go from beginner to intermediate, you must hit the water for a good few hours a day. And at our surf resort, you’ll learn invaluable tips, tricks, and techniques from our surf coaches. If you keep them in mind, you’ll be surfing confidently in no time! 

  • How can a beginner get better at surfing? 

If you want to improve your technique, start off by practicing in the water as much as possible. Never push yourself beyond your limits and only surf in spots suited to your skill set — beach breaks are best for beginners. Next, perfect the basics, learn how to fix surfing mistakes, avoid beginner surf mistakes and take lessons from our surf instructors!

Learn how to catch the perfect wave with the seasoned surf pros at Kalon Surf 

Our all-inclusive Costa Rican surf resort gives you the pleasure of enjoying paradise while being taught how to surf by our passionate coaches. At Kalon Surf, you can enjoy relaxing massages, feast on delicious organic meals, view gorgeous sunsets, or take a swim in our infinity pools between surfing lessons. 

Our all-inclusive resort offers daily personalized coaching for all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, our surf experts will take you surfing on the best pristine beaches lined with lush rainforests. 

All our guests rave about how our resort leaves them feeling recharged and relaxed. Our luxurious packages are designed to pamper you in an unforgettable way. If you’re ready to sign up for a surf vacation in paradise, contact us today!

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