Total Newbie

Discussion in 'Texas' started by woodrock, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. woodrock

    woodrock New Member

    Jul 27, 2012
    I'm considered an old fart, I guess, trying to learn how to surf. I'm 54, kinda small size (5'6") and just bought a Degree33 Ultimate Mini, 8.6. It's what I would consider the perfect board for me to learn on, but it certainly ain't gonna surf for me. I had my second go at it yesterday, in up to waist high surf, with nothing but failures. I can't even sit on the board without it practically flipping on me, without any warning. I need help trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong. I had about 4 chances at decent waves, but as soon as I feel the push from the wave, and it starts taking me, I try to stand and suddenly there's nothing but water under me :eek:
    I tried watching others for a while to try and learn from them, but couldn't really see what it was I was missing. I think what I may be doing wrong is that when I go to stand I believe that I maybe should be leaning a little forward and try not to stand too straight until I'm stable. Does this sound at all correct. Help a brutha out folks. I'm not going to fail at this, but I also don't want to spend $100 an hour for a lesson, when I'm pretty sure I just need time and practice.
    And as far as the sitting on the board goes, what the heck is happening? I watch others just sitting there all relaxed with no effort. I try doing the same thing, and all of a sudden the board flips on me. I thought that maybe I'm making it worse, by trying to compensate in the wrong way?
    Any help I could get would be real cool y'all.
  2. natkitchen

    natkitchen Well-Known Member

    Mar 29, 2011
    Instead of trying to stand right as the wave takes you push the board down and arch your back, you will feel the difference, then POP up like a squat thrust. Also make sure you are not to far back on the board. As for sitting on it it's so choppy here I still flip over every now and then. Just keep trying. See you out there!

  3. arby

    arby Well-Known Member

    Jul 6, 2012
    you might be trying to stand up too quickly, before you have caught the wave. try riding one or two waves without trying to stand up. you'll be able to feel when you have caught the wave. also, tons of instructional videos to watch online
  4. Zman9398

    Zman9398 Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2012
    I still folllow a rule, take 3 more paddles after you think you have caught the wave then stand up
  5. Erock

    Erock Well-Known Member

    Aug 6, 2011
    If you can't sit on your board, you need to be practicing balance..... a lot!
  6. fl.surfdog

    fl.surfdog Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2010
    practice, practice, practice and a whole lot of patience...i would also consider doing some push-ups and sit-ups and stretching exercices...dont give up, it will come to ya
  7. tonylamont

    tonylamont Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2011
    Maybe you are popping up too soon. Maybe you are leaning too far forward. But first things first. Have you read up on basic surf techniques? Worked on your pop-up? Practiced catching whitewater waves first? If not, here is a list of some basic technique stuff I have found helpful:

    Learning to surf takes a lot of time and practice, moreso the older you are. I started at 40 and it took me six months to just be able to catch waves. Be patient, read up on technique, watch more experienced surfers, have a friend video you if possible, but above all you gotta spend the time in the water, there is no substitute.

    Out of curiosity, where in TX do you surf?
  8. GoodVibes

    GoodVibes Well-Known Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    First find someone that surfs .A few sessions with them will go a long way;.Watch more experienced surfers., Like the above post says watch vids,watch youtube and read books. Surfing takes time and practice. Don't get frustrated. Learn the basics first such as paddling to build your stamina and like you stated just sitting on your board. Never take your eye off the ocean and cover up when you fall. Stay Golden and good luck.
  9. rcarter

    rcarter Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2009
    That is good advice.
  10. MDSurfer

    MDSurfer Well-Known Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    54 is NOT old. Just wait another 10 years and see how you feel. Oh, and just like the East Coast. . . there is no surf in Texas. ""Mai huli 'oe i kokua o ke Kai""
  11. yankee

    yankee Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Stop the madness. It would be do-able to flail around & learn to surf via thousands of reps if you had the time, i.e, you were 24 y.o. But, you're not (and I don't mean that unkindly, just a statement of fact). We all know that there's no magic formula for learning how to surf. It takes time, effort, some blood & a helluva lotta persistence. You need to cut the learning curve with intelligent instruction.

    Having said that, there's a way to cut your learning curve: learn properly.

    So, here are my humble opinions for 2 pathways to success:

    check out the Surf Simply podcasts on Youtube & on Surf SImply's website (as tonylamont has also rec'd);

    and, save up your chips & book a week at Surf Simply....I'm telling you, it's a tremendous deal. They teach everyone from complete newbs in the whitewater to tour pros ripping barrels who are looking to refine their game. It seems expensive, but when you consider that the price includes lodging, all food & all beverages, airport transfers, 3 hours every day of in the water coaching with superb instructors out there with you every minute, an hour of video feedback every day, daily's actually inexpensive. Most precious: you'll learn how to surf properly & without the massive frustration that you're already embroiled in.

    Otherwise, you spend money on the wrong boards, you listen to people who supposedly know how to teach surfing but who actually only have uninformed opinions, you waste money buying the wrong boards, you waste money on lessons where some slick is pushing you into a wave yelling 'feel the ocean' ....
    And you are all the while losing the most precious commodity: time.

    No, I'm not a shill for Surf Simply. Simply a huge fan of Ru & his crew. If you do go, or if you find another good way to learn surfing, keep us posted on progress. Don't give up!
  12. tonylamont

    tonylamont Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2011
    Yes, if you can afford it, and really want to jumpstart your learning curve, GO. Just got back from a trip myself, and it helped a LOT. I wish I had gone much sooner.
  13. idsmashh

    idsmashh Well-Known Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    This is the most common problem I normally see in the water. It's hard to tell you what your doing wrong. It's also very hard to teach anything when it comes to surfing. The reasoning behind this is that surfing is a feeling and not a direct action. I can't tell you what I do to hack a top turn because honestly I don't know.. I just wait untill theres a wall of water in front of me and then I hack it. Trying to understand the how's and why's of this sport is pointless.. You have to log your water time.

    As far as sitting on the board.. Same answer as above. You'll pick that up quick tho. I started the same way, falling off after every bump. Balance is not something that can be taught. It must be earned. Eventually you'll wonder how you ever had such a hard time with it.

    P.S. I try to pick a lot of role models in this sport. Watch how the pros do it, and try to reflect them. It will help you understand what motions to make... (paddling, popping up, bottom turning, cutbacks, ect...)
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  14. yankee

    yankee Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    "This is the most common problem I normally see in the water. It's hard to tell you what your doing wrong. It's also very hard to teach anything when it comes to surfing. The reasoning behind this is that surfing is a feeling and not a direct action. I can't tell you what I do to hack a top turn because honestly I don't know.. I just wait untill theres a wall of water in front of me and then I hack it. Trying to understand the how's and why's of this sport is pointless.. You have to log your water time."
    -- idsmashh

    No offense to idsmashh, but this is what I'm talking about in my earlier post.

    The fact is that surfing definitely CAN be taught. And it is not hard. If you have the proper instructor, it is actually easy. Yep. I said it. Easy. That's not saying you'll be shredding @ Jeffreys Bay or punching aerials anytime soon. Those are degrees of complexity within the sport. I'm saying that with proper instruction, you can certainly quickly learn standing, turning & other aspects of the basics of the sport.

    You CAN be taught the how's & why's of the correct functional stance, you CAN be taught the mechanics of the carving turn & the backside rail grab & all of the rest of it. The point is that surfing IS a feeling, but that's just part & parcel of the sport, as it is in any sport. If you learn the correct mechanics in surfing, as in any sport, then how good you become at it is a function of innate ability, practice, commitment & desire to succeed.

    No offense, idsmash, but I've seen the Surf Simply instructors take many complete newbs from whitewater splashdown status to paddling out the back & cruising down 6 foot waves inside of 3 days of teaching.
  15. woodrock

    woodrock New Member

    Jul 27, 2012
    Surfside is where I go. It's funny how many years I wasted living on South Padre, and in Santa Barbara Ca., and now suddenly at 54 I'm doin it. Never too late, right? I plan on being there as often as I can. I watch the surf cams daily, and follow the surf forecasts. On my latest attempt, the last wave I caught, I decided to just ride it laying down. Seemed too easy, even when I realized there were two young girls directly in front of me. I steered around them like a sports car would take a twisty turn. So easy. The board responded without almost any effort.
    I've just completed 7 weeks of my own little exercise program, and diet change, and it is really showing, so although close to being in the right shape, but not there yet. The reason I know this, is how I feel after Thursday's session. It's now early Saturday morning, and my shoulder and back are kinda shot. I skipped workout yesterday cuz of it, but gonna get back after it this morning. Was planning to hit the beach again tomorrow, but the forecasts aren't looking too good.
  16. 40something

    40something Member

    Apr 26, 2009
    Get into yoga....find a good instructor, one that has body knowledge and a noncompetitive class. Something like this is essential to keeping the older (and younger) body limber and strong for something as demanding as surfing. Shoulders and neck muscles tend to take a lot of abuse, especially for the beginner. Also, as we age, balance deteriorates. As little as 15 minutes a day.....after you have learned properly....and maybe a weekly will take time and patience but is definitely worth the effort. Strengthening the core, improving balance.....keys for us old folks. Good Luck!
  17. clintopher

    clintopher Well-Known Member

    Jul 12, 2011
    I started last year and had a friend help me with the process. First thing we did was a lesson in the pool. It went like this...

    Duct tape a small rope to the front of the board.

    Tie the leash off to the ladder.

    Instructor goes to opposite end of pool from ladder with rope in hand. (Now the board can be kept from flailing this way or that.)

    Quick intro in board trim which consisted of, "with your chin on the board, find your position on the board that makes the nose just barely stick out of the water. Memorize it. That's where you want to be."

    Start popping up on the board and try landing with your feet a touch wider than shoulder width, perpendicular to the stringer, and centered over the stringer.

    If the nose drives down you landed to far forward. If it flies up you landed to far back. If the board goes to the left or right you weren't centered over the stringer.

    Do that until you can consistently pop up in the proper position.

    Once you get your pop up down and can balance on the board for a bit don't let it sink to the bottom of the pool to prevent any damage.

    Why do all this in a pool? You can pop up over and over in a pool until you get tired or the person holding the rope gets bored. As a complete beginner, in the ocean you might get 5 opportunities in an hour.

    A few days after that we went to the beach and he pushed me into a few waves. After that, I was paddling into them on my own with his instruction on which wave to go for and when to start paddling.

    As stated above, it really does help to have someone experienced with you when learning. I tried this surfing thing by myself 15 years ago for a few months and never got it. I was up and riding on my own the first day when I went out with a buddy.

    One more thing I'll add...board trim is everything. If you can't get the board trimmed properly you won't be surfing. Plain and simple. Remember when I said you want the nose of the board just out of the water? That's key. When taking off on a wave if the nose starts to pearl then arch your back. If you feel like you've almost got the wave but it might pass you by then dig your chin into the board. For me, I've found the best trim when going down the face of the wave by flirting with pearling. In small waves it's no big deal to pearl and go ass over tea kettle if the wave pitches you over. On bigger waves it can hurt a little, or a lot, so keep that in mind.

    But, like I said, if you're pearling then arch your back. If on subsequent waves you're arching your back and still pearling then scoot back on the board a 1/2 inch. If your board has a decal near where your face is when your paddling it acts as a good reference point. If it doesn't than make a noticeable mark around where your face will be with wax.

    I've only been at this thing for a year so take it for what it's worth, but that's what has helped me.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
  18. chad05gt

    chad05gt Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2011
    ^ too true!

    Im 39, and just started a little over a year ego.

    One one day lesson, and alot of board rental failures... I finally booked a week long
    surf trip. That one week of intense surfing...just surfing and lessons was what I needed. Your story sounds very familiar to what was rattling in my head last summer!

    Book a week long surf trip, you will be able to enjoy surfing. :cool:

    best wishes to you.
  19. oldenglish

    oldenglish Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2012
    I agree with the videos, they help teach some concepts that could have taken forever to learn wothout any help. I can't comment on classes besides taking a class that didn't help too much besides get me a bit more comfortable in the ocean, it definitely was not 100/ hr though.

    Water time helps a lot of issues too though, even if the conditions aren't great go get some. Balance for sitting comes easy and its way easier to sit on a longboard than an 8 ft board, the same goes for paddling. Though an 8ft board is ok for a beginer, given your age I would have opted for taking any crutch you could get which would mean to me going thicker, more wide, and longer. I have a 10ft barge that pretty much catches a ripple, it has allowed me to progress pretty quickly with my limited water time and I often rent shorter minimals and long boards when surfing with friends so they can use my 10ft board. Guess what? I find myself doing way better on a shorter board now that I have some of the fundamentals down. Maybe you could consider renting some bigger boards to get the hang of sitting, paddling, popping up and then return to the 8ft.

    Texas is pretty inconsistent and if you live fairly far away from the coast its even more difficult to learn to surf. I imagine even if you couldn't make it to a surf camp type of resort that taking a week vacation to surf at a consistent break with beginer friendly waves you would learn more than a few months of surfing in Texas. My biggest improvements have been when a weekend surf trip matched up with good conditions.

    Seems like Texas is a Mecca for beginer surfers, we should set up a meet and go kook up some jettys.
  20. ridedasurf

    ridedasurf Active Member

    Feb 21, 2012
    maybe u don't got enough wax on ur board? stick at it u'll learn