The Hardest Part of Surfing

Samson Donick

March 10, 2023


Surfing is a great sport that can improve your physical and mental health. The activity stimulates the brain and releases endorphins, lowering stress levels and producing euphoric feelings.

However, like any other sport, it does take time and dedication to learn the skills needed to become a good surfer. This is why it’s essential to understand the most challenging part of surfing, so you know when you’re getting close.

Getting out of the water

Getting out of the water is one of the most challenging parts of surfing. Even seasoned surfers need help with this part of the sport.

In addition, paddling out is a killer workout for the arms, especially on days when strong waves are coming between wave sets.

You need to be able to paddle out as quickly as possible before the next wave comes in. This can be challenging for new surfers, and it can take a lot of practice to get good at it.

Practising out of the water is also a great way to build up stamina and avoid becoming overtired from all the exercise. It can also help you to develop a more observant eye when you are in the water.

Finding a good wave

Finding a wave can be the most challenging part of surfing, no matter how good a surfer you are. It takes time, practice and courage to learn to read waves and assess what they will break like before you paddle out in the water.

The first step is to look out at the horizon for approaching waves. This gives you a chance to rest, reposition yourself and assess the tide is coming.

You’ll also want to look at the way the wave breaks – left or right. Typically, each wave will have a peak that forms first and then the shoulder line (the side of the ridge with the steepest angle down to the water level).

This is where you can decide which wave will give you a great ride and which will close out (break entirely at once, not surfable). A good rule of thumb for assessing whether a wave will peel is to check whether the shoulder line drops gradually or abruptly.

Staying on your board

The hardest thing about surfing is staying on your board, which can be especially difficult when a wave comes in fast. This is because the water can get quite slippery, and the force of a wave crashing behind you can make it hard to stay on your board.

To keep yourself on your board, paying attention to the position of your feet and knees is essential. Your front foot should be slightly wider than your shoulder, and your back foot should be positioned near the tail of your board 10 to 20 inches ahead of it.

Using these tips, you should be able to stay on your board and enjoy the ride. However, falls will still occur, and knowing how to avoid them is crucial.

Waiting for a wave

Surfers spend roughly 25% of their time in the water sitting on their boards, waiting for waves to arrive.

Waiting for a wave is the hardest part of surfing but also one of the most rewarding parts. It is a time to connect with nature and become aware of our surroundings.

When you wait for a wave, it is essential to be patient and calm. Understanding a lineup’s dynamics and how to position yourself to catch a wave properly can take time.

Experienced surfers know how to catch waves through knowledge, focus and ability. They know the ideal spot on a lock to start paddling and where to lie in the lineup to get priority.

They also know how to read the ocean and get out of the way of other surfer’s lines to make their priority. This can be challenging for beginner-intermediate surfers, but it is a skill that should be learned and developed.