when you write a whole social philosophy paper based on the structures of surf culture.
Often people come up to me and say, “teach me how to surf” as if they were just asking, “pass me the salt.” Unfortunately, learning how to surf is nothing like being handed salt. It takes a lot more than a day of lessons and a push on a wave. It takes a lifetime to learn and it takes over your life.
So if your little heart is set on becoming the next Kelly Slater, here’s a few things you might want to know first:
Get in the water. Before learning how to surf you have to get to know the ocean. It’s like dating. If you go all in at once, it probably won’t last long. You have to get to know each other first. Take it slow. Swim, play, hang out, before you make the big commitment or you wont know what you are getting yourself into. Figure out what she likes, how she moves, go at her pace. Get to know her without any boardly distractions. If you have never swam in the ocean, trust me, having a giant piece of fiberglass isn’t going to make it any easier.
Watch Endless Summer. This movie is the most fundamental step in getting to know the world of surfing. Surf films in general are great ways to keep learning while stuck indoors. Brush up on your surf history.
Have someone help you pick out a board. Difference in board varies drastically depending of location, price, person, style, etc. It is best to barrow one first, then you can then move on to your own board when you know what you like. You don’t want to get stuck with the wrong stick.
Research. Make sure you know what’s up. Know where to go and what to do. Again it is beyond helpful to have an insiders opinion. You want to know which spots are good to start out in; it makes all the difference. The wave-type and crowd-friendless can make or brake a session, especially when starting out.
Be humble and respectful. It is easy to get in other peoples way. Look out for other surfers, especially the ones who have a sense of unearned privilege. Surfing is a lot more fun when you don’t get yelled at.
Don’t quit. If I haven’t talked you out of surfing by now, you must be determined. If you want to really learn you have to keep being that way. It takes a lot of time. It’s not just a “teach me” and I know it, kind of thing. It’s a keep falling, keep eating sand, keep waking up too early, keep freezing your butt off, keep embarrassing yourself, keep learning, kind of thing.
Keep learning. There is always more to know.
Best of luck.
Hello. This happens to be my first post. I think we are going to be good friends.
Photo credit: Randy Ruby