Learning To Surf In Queensland

Queensland is blessed with a gorgeous coast that’s lined with incredible beaches offering excellent surfing conditions for people of all levels. If you were ever curious about surfing or wanted to give it a try then this is place to do it. Up and down the Sunshine and Gold coast are lots of schools ready to teach you how to ride a wave. Cost doesn’t need to be a barrier; if you pass by the Town 1770 they offer surfing lessons for only 17 AUD for 3 hours.

 

Why You Should Learn To Surf

It’s the ultimate workout: Surfing requires high endurance, strength and stability. Paddling out to catch a wave, learning to jump up and stand on a board is physically demanding. Surfing is a perfect mix of aerobic and anaerobic activities. When I took my first lesson I wasn’t prepared for how sore my body felt after the class. Every single muscle in my body had that morning-after-a-hard-workout burning sensation. I could barely move. But that’s a good thing. No pain no gain. As you progress with your surfing you’ll feel your body start to adapt and get stronger. Or you may find yourself dedicating more time to exercise and eating better so that you’ll have the stamina for surfing. Its the ultimate gateway hobby to healthy living.

Surfing will teach you patience: Most people give up on surfing after the first couple of lessons. It’s a hard sport to take on and it takes time to master the basic skills of standing and maneuvering on the board. There’s no way around it, surfing requires patience and dedication. It’s easy to quit and say you tried. It’s harder to stick with it, that requires patience and perseverance. Those are qualities you can use in all parts of your life.

It’s a great excuse to travel: OK, being a full time traveler I don’t NEED an excuse to travel. But for most people, change is the spice of life. After you’ve gotten good at surfing, you’ll want to experience other beaches and waves. This will give you an added motivation to travel locally or internationally to find fresh surfing grounds. My experience is travel begets more travel. That’s a good thing.

You’ll learn humility and you’ll find courage: Humans are self involved and paranoid animals. We overthink and try to control everything around us. We fear the unknown and lack the courage to try new things. We complicate everything. When you’re on your board alone facing a wave all those thoughts melt away. Regardless of your surfing level and the wave you’re trying to ride, you realize in that moment how small you really are. You learn your place in this world and humility. By the same token, the act of trying to conquer a wave teaches you courage. To push back fear and doubt and to grab onto a wave and ride it for all its worth.

Surfing will make you a happier person: Anything, I mean absolutely anything, that requires you be outdoors and active will make you a happier and more stable person. This has been proven by countless studies. Being in the sun, using your body and surrounding yourself with nature will generate natural endorphins that will lift your spirits. It’s nature’s form of therapy and it’s free. So what are you waiting for. Go, learn to surf and find your piece of happiness.
 


What To Expect On You First Surfing Lessons

Sign a waiver document: The first thing surf schools will have do is sign a waiver form, indicating that you understand that surfing is a dangerous sport and that you may get hurt. During our orientation, our teacher was a little too good in explaining all the things that could go wrong. From injuries from boards, to sharks to getting harpooned by stingrays if we stepped on them. He really made me think twice about continuing further with the class.

You’ll get a longboard: The primary gear that you’ll be given is a surfboard, most surfing schools will use a longboard. These  are massive surfboards that are long and wide. They’re more forgiving and easier to learn on. Once you’ve mastered the basic techniques and can stand, then you can upgrade to smaller boards.

Lessons on the beach: Once everyone has signed in and been given their board, you’ll head to the beach to go through the basics of surfing. Which covers:

  1. How to paddle on the board.
  2. How to stand on the board and to control your speed by leaning in and out
  3. How to safety fall off your board

Lying on your board on the sand, you’ll run through these exercises several times until your instructor feels like you’ve gotten the hang of it. Personally, I was feeling very happy with myself. If this is all that’s required I should be able to rock the waves pretty quick. Kelly Slater move over.

Time to get wet: This is fun bit where you put theory to practice. I strutted into the waters thinking I got this. The next two hours involved me finding new and inventive ways of falling off the board, getting pulled under the (tiny) waves, scrapping my knees on the sand embankment and generally making a fool of myself. Everything that we were taught on the beach went out of my head. The best I got was a half standup towards the end of the class. This is a hard hobby to pick up. Most people don’t stand on the board on the first class (any instructor who tells you otherwise is lying to you). But it was also a lot of fun. The harder I tried, the harder I fell.

PS: leave your GoPro or water cameras at home. I made the mistake of bringing it to the class, and it made things a lot harder. Trying to balance while holding onto the camera was a nightmare. Also, there’s very good chance that you’ll lose it in the surf.

First surfing lesson. Tip: leave your GoPro at home. Very hard to surf and hold camera same time.
First surfing lesson. Tip: leave your GoPro at home. Very hard to surf and hold the camera same time.

 

Best Places To Learn Surfing In Queensland

I found this really cool site that lists all the best beach locations to learn surfing. It called surfunation.com.au.

Personally I really liked the beaches in Noosa. There were areas with small waves and best of all no stingers (jellyfish).

 

Surfers Code Of Conduct

The surfer’s code of conduct are unwritten rules to help ensure safety and avoid conflict with fellow surfers.

  1. Right of way: The surfer closest to the peak of the wave has the right of way. If you’re paddling to the right and a surfer to your left is paddling for it, you must yield.
  2. Don’t drop in: The person closest to the breaking wave has the right to ride it. Wait your turn, if you’re a beginner avoid the lineup until you’ve become confident you can do controlled take offs.
  3. Paddle wide: Don’t paddle out to the line up through the impact zone (where waves are breaking, people are surfing or waiting to surf).
  4. Don’t snake: ‘Snaking’ is when a surfer paddles around another surfer in order to get in position to get the right of way. You’re making a big ‘S’ around the surfer. No one likes a snake.
  5. Hold onto your board: Hold onto your board at all times. Make sure that your leg rope is properly attached. Never throw or let go of your board as it could seriously hurt someone else.
  6. Communicate: When catching a wave let others know which way you’re going.


Here is my video from my first surfing lesson while I was in Noosa. It was not a successful attempt, but I’m planning to try again further down the coast.