Learn to Surf

Learn to Surf

Are you a goofy-foot or a natural? This is something you may not have needed to know up until now but you will find out quickly if you make an inspired choice for your next fitness activity and decide to learn to surf.
Surfing is a great all-round fitness sport: paddling to get out to the waves improves upper body and abdominal strength, breathing and endurance; jumping up on the board teaches co-ordination and balance; catching and riding a wave teaches you one of life’s precious lessons – that you’re a winner!
Goofy-footers jump up on their board with their left foot at the back of the board, and naturals with their right. You will be amazed when you try to jump up on a surfboard for the first time that your body will make its own decision about which way to go. Nine times out of ten your feet will choose natural.
Surf classes begin on the sand and involve learning to position yourself on the board, learning to paddle, and to hold your body so that you are not placing stress on your back. You will also learn, usually amidst lots of laughter, to push yourself up into a crouched, and then standing, position ready to catch a wave.
In the old days, most people learned to surf on somebody else’s old fibreglass board, usually with a few dings and scratchy bits on the side. Surfing today is a sport of comfort. Most surf schools use long, wide boards with a soft foam, rather than fibreglass, cover. These boards are heavy to carry down the beach but they are stable, comfortable and soft if you crash into them or they crash into you.
Like most sports, the best way to learn to surf is to do it. Launching yourself into the waves for the first time will probably be awkward and funny as you try to control your board, get on it, and stay on it.
Most schools will encourage you to surf in the white water for the first lesson, graduating to the unbroken, green waves once you have learned to stand up – hopefully in your first class!
Riding a surfboard is not the only way to surf – just ask a dolphin or a seal! Other options are bodysurfing, boogie boards, or good old-fashioned inflatable surf mats – fast coming back into fashion. All of these incorporate the basic action which gets you fit in surfing (swimming or paddling through the waves) and the basic thrill (riding a wave all the way into the shore).
The majority of injuries surfers experience are from cuts or bruises from the noses or fins of their own boards. Boogie boards and surf mats are softer than surfboards and less likely to cause injury. If you get dumped on a wave they have more bounce and there is less impact to your body.
If you don’t hanker after standing up on a wave, a boogie board or a surf mat will provide hours of fun, worry-free surfing, and get you fit. But you won’t be able to hang ten – that’s for boardriders only, and means riding a wave with all your toes curled over the nose of your board.

CJ – Fitness

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