Common Surfing Mistakes You Should Know 2021 + Guide

Flo Farmer
Written by
Last update:

8 Common Surfing Mistakes Beginners Make and How to Avoid Them

Surfing is not a very popular sport in the western world, and it's almost exclusively practiced in the coastal areas, which are mostly sunny. Despite these limitations, surfing is still one of the most captivating sports. You can always find a nearby spot to go and catch some waves, unlike other sports that require a lot of equipment and expensive gear or even a lot of time for practicing. The only thing you need to practice surfing is endless patience and dedication. However, in this article, you're going to learn more about surfing and see some of the mistakes that beginner surfers make, but don't worry, we'll also offer you some tips to avoid those mistakes. So, if this is the sport you're interested in and you're ready to learn about it, read further and discover the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

#1. Overlooking Your Swimming Skills

I'm sure you know that surfing is more than just riding a board. But a lot of beginners (and many veterans) still fail to grasp the fundamentals of swimming. Believing that they can rely on their board whenever they fall off the board, they look down on their swimming skills and neglect them.

As a beginner, you should invest time into improving your swimming skills and build a great foundation for your surfing. Even if you're already an all-around surfer, your swimming skills need regular upkeep.

Your most essential swimming skill is your breathing. Swimming and holding your breath should never be a problem. Always keep breathing to breathe, and keep paddling to surf.

Remaining relaxed in the water is the next most important swimming skill. Learn how to relax your body and surf like a dolphin.

Improving your stroke technique and developing a wide array of stroke styles will also aid your surfing. You can ride small waves with a swim-style stroke, while a SUP-style stroke will help with surfing bigger waves.

Implementing your swimming skills into your surf sessions will help you save energy and time, and improve your overall surfing experience!

#2. Not Getting Enough Stamina Training

Visit some local surf breaks and you'll quickly notice how beach and surf breaks are all very different. From one day to the next, the size of the waves will change as will the direction and intensity of the wind. The ocean is a dynamic place, but it's also a very dangerous one. You need to be prepared to surf in any conditions.

Your forearms, shoulders, arms, and back give in to the force of the waves as you kick your way across the ocean. What's more, this is one sport that will require you to use your upper body a lot. Unfortunately, many beginner surfers make the mistake of not conditioning their bodies for this demanding activity. Therefore, if you're a newbie, you need to take a few steps to strengthen your muscles and build up your stamina.

#3. Choosing the Wrong Surfing Conditions

Experienced surfers often ride the waves according to the conditions and the swell. They can precisely tell you the right spots to surf in during low tides and when there is a swell as well.

Sometimes, they can also predict the conditions and where the waves are going to hit and they will go to their favorite spots to catch the waves.

They are smart because they know the best spots to hit according to the climatic conditions and under their experience they can accurately tell whether the swell will be big or small or whether the low tide will reveal a sandbank.

However, if you are a beginner, it is important to first learn how to surf well and then you should follow the other experienced surfers.

If you are an inexperienced surfer, there are high chances that you might make mistakes that may risk your life.

One such mistake is by choosing to surf in wrong conditions for your surfing level.

Incorrect Wave Size

Wave size is most important because a surfer can easily control their body in small waves but they may find it difficult to control themselves in bigger ocean pulled waves.

Wave size is one of the factors that you should be able to assess in order to determine whether you will ride the wave well or not.

But if you are a beginner, you may also feel overwhelmed by the big waves because they are more powerful and you cannot follow the wave before it crashes at the beach.

#4. Surfing with the Wrong Board

Surfing is a fun sport that requires concentration and focus. On the heels of this fact, it is important to have a surfboard that suits you right.

A wrong board will only hinder your experience and will leave a bad impression of the sport. Before you head to the beach, it is crucial that you know your surfboard and how to use it.

So for the beginners, make sure you invest in the right equipment. I always emphasize how important it is to have a good board when you start exploring this amazing sport.

The fact is, true beginners can make mistakes and go for the wrong surfboards. The unfortunate reality is that you might end up getting the wrong size board. And guess what? It's one of the reasons why people give up surfing.

This happens because they find out that they are not having fun at all. You might have given surfing a try but all you got was a lot of bruises and frustration.

Don't be in that crowd. It's better to choose the safe board from the start. It is not a wise move to equip yourself with an ineffective board.

The wrong board will only have you struggling to catch the waves, and you will probably get scared too while out in the water. So to make things a lot easier for you, let us discuss some of the most common mistakes you can make while choosing the right surfboard.

#5. Not Knowing How and Where to Paddle

Networking is the process of creating alliances and building relationships with people in your industry.

Checking out the shoulders of the wave is crucial. If it’s shoulder high, much of the wave’s power has dissipated, and, thus, you have very little resistance. If it’s head-high, you’ll have more resistance and drag. The arm and core strength required for paddling is less than for moving through gnarly waves.

What’s also important to note is the direction of the current. A current running against your direction requires more strength and makes paddling more of a chore compared to a current that’s with you.

Once you’ve checked out the wave and are ready to paddle, you maintain your position with your legs. If the wave is about to break, grab whatever handholds or structures are near you.

Your body position should be very similar to what it is during paddleboarding. Bend at your knees and maintain a sit-tall position without locking your knees. Bend at the waist while keeping your back straight to keep your core strong. Clench your teeth to stabilize your head. Point your toes toward the wave line.

#6. Badly Doing Your Pop up

If you've frozen learning pop up, you may or may not know this: The pop up done wrong is one of the most common mistakes among surfers.

It's not as critical as some believe. Yet, it can be troublesome for you when the time comes that it's necessary. You want to be standing tall, standing perfectly, and have everything set up for a perfect pop up. You're waiting patiently and then all of a sudden, the wave crashes against you, and then you're buried into the sand, with you're nose sinking deep into the sand.

If you like to surf and learn how to surf, please note that pop up is one of the most important skills to learn. In the ideal world, surfing is one of the most joyful experiences; in fact, I can safely say that I would have not given it up for anything else.

However, learning pop-up is easy as long as you do take some time and practice it. You will find that your pop up will have a better shape and that you will stand up better with more power. It's so important to have your body standing tall and have enough power to push yourself up.

If you have decided the surf and learn how to surf, make sure you get a hold of the correct pop up technique. It's what allows you to stand up reliably and get yourself out of the water.

#7. Popping up on the Wrong Spot of the Board

Surfing is an art and takes years to master. Beginners and even seasoned surfers make mistakes when it comes to choosing the good spot in the wave. You might end up having the worst surfing experience if you’re not careful.

Here are some of the most common surfing mistakes that you should have no mercy on.

Mistake No.1 – Picking the wrong wave

No talk of this real life sport wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the waves. The idea is to stand up fast so you can get hurled down to the water and surf on the same wave. Difficult for beginners to pull off, it is a must-learn for all surfers.

You should take note that picking the wrong wave can ruin your whole day and may cause you injuries. The spot where you end up riding the wave is very crucial. The goal for a beginner is to always stay in the center spot of the board so you can easily ride on the wave and land smoothly. Don’t be in a hurry… wait for the right wave.

#8. Standing with an Incorrect Posture

Like many other sports, surfing is coordination and fitness based. You can be the best in the sport if you have a good physique and good coordination.

However, standing with the right posture is an important aspect that you need to consider.

If you stand in the wrong posture, your body might undergo a lot of pressure and you may end up with injuries.

You might also find that you have a hard time balancing and you may fail to attach the wave.

Standing with the wrong posture might also make you susceptible to sicknesses.

In addition to that, standing incorrectly can make you look boring and you might get ridiculed by others who are good in the sport.

In short, you need to make sure that you stand in the right posture. Otherwise, you might find that surfing is no longer enjoyable for you.