So I’ve caught my first few waves in the last couple of weeks, and it’s awesome. When you stand up you can hear R. Kelly belting out “I believe I can fly” and you feel pretty damn weightless.
So what’s the hardest part? Staying up on the board. For me, getting up to a standing position isn’t actually that hard, but once you’re up the chances of coming off and flying through the air like superman become imminent. So longboards are a lot easier to stand up on because they are a lot longer (hence the name) and thicker which mean your balance doesn’t actually need to be exquisite for you to stand up without looking like a total amateur. The shorter the board you use, the harder this becomes. For example; I started on a good, long, 8’2″ board which is a pretty damn long board, and I was standing up one in two or three attempts. On my birthday I got a little too big for my boots and hired out a 7’2″ board and suddenly I’d gone from pro surfer to pro drowned rat as I’d pop my head out of the water to stop myself drowning under the colossal waves that were coming my way. Do it right and stick to a longboard until you know the basics.
One thing you have to be careful of when you’re surfing is the rip. The rip is basically the current, and you can usually feel how strong it is when you’re about knee depth into the water and the waves are about to break. It pretty much feels like you’re being dragged by your legs away from the shore if it’s a strong rip so just be wary of how strong it is, as the stronger it is – the harder it will be to get up.
A friend of mine who is insanely good at surfing told me that a good way to judge when is a good day to go surfing is what the waves actually look like. If there’s sand filling the waves until they’re brown then you’re probably best to leave it, especially if you’re a beginner. Also judge it by how many people are out in the waves. On a good day for surfing it will be jam packed with surfers about 75 metres out sitting on their boards waiting for the waves. On a bad day there will be about 7-8 maniacs sat on their boards and getting wiped out or not managing to catch any decent surf. All of this to me seems pretty obvious so just use that oh-so-logical brain of yours that I sometimes lack.
Please bear in mind that some of the stuff I’ve written in here may not be 100% correct so before all you keyboard warriors start to come out of your caves – pick your balls up off the ground and go get taken out by some waves.
Panoramic shot of the sunset taken near Shelley Beach.