Four years ago, a friend invited me to surf. The only thing I recall is how hard it was for me to lift my body from the surfboard to catch a wave. I watched the other people surf and wondered to myself – they make it look so easy, why can't I do it too?
That was a transformative moment for me. I realized how weak my body was, to the extent that I couldn't enjoy a sport that looked incredibly fun. So, I signed up for the gym and, starting in December 2023, with the help of ChatGPT, I began to take the gym seriously and succeeded in gaining muscle.
Recently, I decided it was time to try surfing again – this time not only for fun but also to learn more about why our customers use the forecast multiple times a day and what impact each value has on the surfing experience.
Where do I start?
A surf course? A 1:1 lesson? Should I bring all the equipment with me beforehand?
I started with a post in a couple of Facebook groups in my area, asking which surf clubs are most recommended for beginners. Most surf clubs offer equipment, such as a surfboard and a surfing wetsuit, for those who want to explore the sport before committing to it financially.
I called a couple of surf clubs and inquired about surf courses. Most of them offer courses that start on specific dates throughout the year, meaning you need to sign up in advance. Some offer a group that you can join, with an instructor's assistance.
I decided to move forward with a 1:1 lesson to make the most out of my first professional experience.
Tips I was given about what to do/not to do before a surfing session:
Don't eat or drink too much before the session.
Apply tons of sunscreen on exposed skin areas.
Check the water quality index, especially after rain, as the water might be polluted.
Ask the surf club about the ideal day to surf. Some days might be perfect, while others might not.
Let's Do It!
My first session was scheduled for Friday, December 29, at 11 am. The surf club called me a couple of hours before the session to let me know that the waves were flat and it wouldn't be ideal to surf, so we postponed it.
I packed extra clothes, a towel, a water bottle. Soap & shampoo are optional if you want to shower at the club. The instructor picked out a wetsuit and a surfing board for me, and we started with practicing the basic moves on the beach. After some practice, we entered the water and practiced the same thing. The key is to lock your eyes on a distant object on the horizon. Wherever you look – that's where your body will take you (a great lesson for life).
For the first lesson, the instructor pushed my surfboard once there was a wave, making it much easier to ride one. He said there's no such thing as failing – it's progress. And once I successfully rode a wave, it was one of the most exciting moments of my life.
No words can describe the moment you stand up on the surfboard and let the wave carry you. It feels like magic.
What I've Learned So Far
Don't hold the surfboard vertically in the water. My fingers were bent at a 90-degree angle when a wave hit the surfboard. I can really feel this now as I'm typing on the keyboard.
Take some space to stay away from other surfers. One of them surfed straight into my foot. I noticed it's pretty common, though, and every time it happens, the one who hit asks the other person if they're okay.
Winter is usually better for surfing.
Start paddling five seconds before a wave approaches you.
Pop up (also called taking off) on your surfboard once you feel the wave is pushing you; it takes a couple of seconds.
Choosing a wetsuit involves multiple factors that must be considered thoughtfully: the size, type, where the zipper is located (most people told me that the chest is the best), and the thickness (less thickness provides better flexibility, while more provides better warmth). I'm still looking for my wetsuit and will write a dedicated post about it.
Using a plastic bag on your feet helps to get into the wetsuit faster and easier.
Surfers typically check the forecast a couple of times per day. Conditions can change drastically overnight, so it's important to stay updated. (Check out the forecast on our app!)
The leash helps to keep the surfboard nearby in the water. Attach it to your leg (left or right, whichever works for you), and make sure the cable points to the back or to the left if the leash is on your left leg, and to the right if it's on your right.
Once you leave the water, rest the surfboard on your stomach and tie it around the blades.
In conclusion, it was fascinating to understand the impact of the information we offer on our app on the surfing experience and the importance of each value.
Special thanks to Avi Tanami for the great tips and guidance before my first surfing session! Check out this great video he shared with me: