Bettys Beginner Surf Tips for when you arrive at the beach… – Ultimate Surf & Skate
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Bettys Beginner Surf Tips for when you arrive at the beach… Bettys Beginner Surf Tips for when you arrive at the beach…

Posted on by Ultimate SurfnSkate Crew

Bettys Beginner Surf Tips for when you arrive at the beach….

- Pete from Ultimate Surf n Skate / Island Holidays Surf Travel

Ever get so excited that when you turn up to the beach (after speeding to get there? Or maybe that's just me?) that you just run over the dunes and hit the water straight away.

Easy to do especially if the waves are pumping. There're a couple of things we should be doing beforehand instead of jumping right in.

The below is a small list of things we need to consider or look for before paddling out…

The Beach

How do you figure it out and what are the best conditions for beginner surfers? Generally speaking, a mellow beach break with light offshore winds with wave heights ranging from 1-3 feet (Waist to head high) are the ideal conditions for a beginner to learn. Beach breaks are recommended for beginners because the sand is a little more forgiving than rocks or reef. Since you’re likely to fall more often, you’ll save your body and board by sticking to sandy bottom breaks.

The Wind

We all know that the waves are cleaner and more groomed with a nice gentle offshore wind. It makes the wave faces stand up and slow down prior to breaking… hopefully peeling either left or right giving us that nice clean green wave face we all want to ride.

Stretching

Always good to stretch and also be hydrated before a surf. This will definitely help with cramps and help prevent straining a muscle/s when out there. Having a bit of salt or sodium in your diet also helps.

The Tide & Sand Banks

Tides can make a huge difference in how waves break on the sand banks. Too high a tide over a sand bank means there will be a lot of water depth over the bottom .. this will result in “spilling” (see image below) fuller fatish waves with less power. 

If the tide is too low there will be less water over the sand bottom meaning it's shallow and possibly the waves will be forming fast , have a more “top to bottom” (plunging waves- see below image) steep wave face and breaking or dumping faster. Meaning the waves will “jack-up” and the take off’s will be very quick and you're liable to get thrown over with the lip.

So when looking at the beach and breaking waves… wherever you see waves breaking and white water that means there is a sand bank there. So the waves will break in the same place.

If you're looking at the sea and there aren't many or no waves breaking in a certain spot then there is likely to be a deep hole there. Deep holes with no waves breaking there indicate that there is a rip there.

However, waves change dramatically at beach breaks since the sand is always moving. 

Rips/Currents

It's always important to scan for these before paddling out. They can help you in some cases, and also be difficult in other cases.

Rips will always occur at beach breaks as the waves and water coming into the shore will need to have places to run back out again. The water funnels into deeper holes and the current is much stronger here and generally heads back out to sea.

These can help us - if we want to get out the back easier then we jump into the rip and paddle out with it saving our energy. Rips and currents also make it difficult if we want to stay in one spot to surf, or to paddle back into shallower water.

To get out of these rips don't paddle directly against them. Paddle off to the side (see below images).

Currents are rips, but extend for a much longer distance. You might have noticed when say surfing at Muriwai beach that the current is always taking you further up the beach away from the rocks (or vica versa). Currents are caused by the tides and the amount of water moving about. We have larger tides when we are close to a full moon. As you girls know, the moon has a profound effect on life. The larger the tides the more current we are likely to have. This can mean more paddling around in the ocean.

Rip current sand bar
rip surfing
Rip surfing current

 

When you're out there, always be aware of your surroundings.               

Where are the other surfers? Keep an eye on the horizon to see if there are any sets coming. Also too keep an eye on the beach. if you're on a peak look back at shore and make a couple of mental notes and mark where you are. Ie; line up with a tree or sand dune against the hill in the background. Waves come in “sets”. Usually between 3 -5 waves in a set. Try not to take the first wave of the set. See how it breaks and where. Line yourself up in the perfect spot for the next ones.

Surf Etiquette/ Rules when surfing with other surfers

  • Right of Way. The fundamental rule in surfing tells us that the surfer closest to the peak or who takes off first always gets priority. ...
  • Don't “Drop In”. …(take off on a wave when someone is already riding it)
  • Don't “Snake”. … (paddle to the front of the queue)

Don't get despondent out there if things aren't going well. We all have good and bad days where some days everything will gel; we wont fall, we pick the right waves, we have our feet in the right spots and we pick and take off on the perfect waves. Some days things just don't go our way and we feel we just aren't improving. WRONG! Even if nothing else we gain paddle fitness- which is really important. Dont give up. You’ll find yourself improving, then maybe will plateau for a while, then we progress again.

 

The biggest bit of advice i can offer is simple… HAVE FUN and ENJOY YOURSELF

 

Bettys Beginner Surf Tips for when you arrive at the beach….

- Pete from Ultimate Surf n Skate / Island Holidays Surf Travel

Ever get so excited that when you turn up to the beach (after speeding to get there? Or maybe that's just me?) that you just run over the dunes and hit the water straight away.

Easy to do especially if the waves are pumping. There're a couple of things we should be doing beforehand instead of jumping right in.

The below is a small list of things we need to consider or look for before paddling out…

The Beach

How do you figure it out and what are the best conditions for beginner surfers? Generally speaking, a mellow beach break with light offshore winds with wave heights ranging from 1-3 feet (Waist to head high) are the ideal conditions for a beginner to learn. Beach breaks are recommended for beginners because the sand is a little more forgiving than rocks or reef. Since you’re likely to fall more often, you’ll save your body and board by sticking to sandy bottom breaks.

The Wind

We all know that the waves are cleaner and more groomed with a nice gentle offshore wind. It makes the wave faces stand up and slow down prior to breaking… hopefully peeling either left or right giving us that nice clean green wave face we all want to ride.

Stretching

Always good to stretch and also be hydrated before a surf. This will definitely help with cramps and help prevent straining a muscle/s when out there. Having a bit of salt or sodium in your diet also helps.

The Tide & Sand Banks

Tides can make a huge difference in how waves break on the sand banks. Too high a tide over a sand bank means there will be a lot of water depth over the bottom .. this will result in “spilling” (see image below) fuller fatish waves with less power. 

If the tide is too low there will be less water over the sand bottom meaning it's shallow and possibly the waves will be forming fast , have a more “top to bottom” (plunging waves- see below image) steep wave face and breaking or dumping faster. Meaning the waves will “jack-up” and the take off’s will be very quick and you're liable to get thrown over with the lip.

So when looking at the beach and breaking waves… wherever you see waves breaking and white water that means there is a sand bank there. So the waves will break in the same place.

If you're looking at the sea and there aren't many or no waves breaking in a certain spot then there is likely to be a deep hole there. Deep holes with no waves breaking there indicate that there is a rip there.

However, waves change dramatically at beach breaks since the sand is always moving. 

Rips/Currents

It's always important to scan for these before paddling out. They can help you in some cases, and also be difficult in other cases.

Rips will always occur at beach breaks as the waves and water coming into the shore will need to have places to run back out again. The water funnels into deeper holes and the current is much stronger here and generally heads back out to sea.

These can help us - if we want to get out the back easier then we jump into the rip and paddle out with it saving our energy. Rips and currents also make it difficult if we want to stay in one spot to surf, or to paddle back into shallower water.

To get out of these rips don't paddle directly against them. Paddle off to the side (see below images).

Currents are rips, but extend for a much longer distance. You might have noticed when say surfing at Muriwai beach that the current is always taking you further up the beach away from the rocks (or vica versa). Currents are caused by the tides and the amount of water moving about. We have larger tides when we are close to a full moon. As you girls know, the moon has a profound effect on life. The larger the tides the more current we are likely to have. This can mean more paddling around in the ocean.

Rip current sand bar
rip surfing
Rip surfing current

 

When you're out there, always be aware of your surroundings.               

Where are the other surfers? Keep an eye on the horizon to see if there are any sets coming. Also too keep an eye on the beach. if you're on a peak look back at shore and make a couple of mental notes and mark where you are. Ie; line up with a tree or sand dune against the hill in the background. Waves come in “sets”. Usually between 3 -5 waves in a set. Try not to take the first wave of the set. See how it breaks and where. Line yourself up in the perfect spot for the next ones.

Surf Etiquette/ Rules when surfing with other surfers

  • Right of Way. The fundamental rule in surfing tells us that the surfer closest to the peak or who takes off first always gets priority. ...
  • Don't “Drop In”. …(take off on a wave when someone is already riding it)
  • Don't “Snake”. … (paddle to the front of the queue)

Don't get despondent out there if things aren't going well. We all have good and bad days where some days everything will gel; we wont fall, we pick the right waves, we have our feet in the right spots and we pick and take off on the perfect waves. Some days things just don't go our way and we feel we just aren't improving. WRONG! Even if nothing else we gain paddle fitness- which is really important. Dont give up. You’ll find yourself improving, then maybe will plateau for a while, then we progress again.

 

The biggest bit of advice i can offer is simple… HAVE FUN and ENJOY YOURSELF

 

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