What to expect when taking your first surf lesson?
Depending on where you take your first surf lesson, you may be greeted with a whole body wet suit or just a short sleeve rashguard. Here in Costa Rica you can always expect to be greeted with second option. While rashguards do help with the cold, the main objective is skin protection on your chest and stomach. Properly outfitted and sun-protected it’s time to get your surfboard and learn how to properly carry it to the beach. On reaching the beach,l set your board on the sand with fins up. Face the deck of the board up to the sky and the sun melts the wax leaving a big mess. Keep your board in the shade or the deck always facing down.
Safety is very important at Sunset Surf School. We make sure everyone is very clear on all safety measures. After our short warm up and stretch, we talk about “rip tides;” how to spot them, how they are formed, and most importantly how to get out if ever caught by one. We teach the parts of a surfboard to keep everyone on the same page during lessons. For example, “hands on the deck, “face the nose to the horizon,” or “make sure your leash is on your back foot,” contain common terms we all need to know. Many surf school instructors forget to go over the surfboard parts because they think its obvious, which is dangerous when trying to communicate while in the ocean.
We always ask, “has anyone snowboarded or skateboarded before;” usually we get some hands in the air and we recommend their same foot will go forward on a surfboard. For the everyone else, we first teach them the proper mechanics to “pop up”, then have them lie down on the sand and “pop” up to their feet. Whichever foot they pop up in front without thinking about it, is their front foot. Having your right foot forward is called “goofy footed” and your left foot forward that is called “regular footed.”
After multiple pop ups on the sand with our coaching staff keeping a close eye making corrections, we then teach you how to manipulate your board safely through the white water. On your first day you will only go into the ocean waist to chest deep and learn how to spin your board, paddle and catch a white water wave on your own, pop up to your feet with proper mechanics and having the correct stance, and you will be able to turn your board a little. Your first surf lesson is all about getting comfortable in the ocean with a surfboard being connected to your ankle and creating good muscle memory while “popping up” to your feet multiple times. It’s amazing how quick you can learn to surf when using the proper techniques.
This makes your next surf lesson, our advanced beginner lesson, a whole lot easier. The training gets into the next realm of surfing: paddling out beyond the breakers, turtle rolling, surf etiquette, choosing a wave, spinning your board, matching board and wave speed and executing the pop up riding down the wave face. The details of the advanced beginner lesson are covered in our next blog. Until then, if you have any questions about surf lessons please feel free to contact us and remember to surf safely.
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