Before I came to Panama I was sure that surfing is easy, that it’s something that tourists learn during their 1 week vacations, and locals master within 2-3 years. God I was so wrong.
Probably your first board will be rented, I knew I will stay in Panama longer so I decided to buy one as soon as I could. I was surprised already on the beginning by prices. In the shop they asked me for 1000$ and more! I still don’t know were those for professionals or intermediate level surfers, but in many countries I could buy an old car for this price.
First board should be big; or maybe more like H U G E.
Do you remember those small, slim boards from movies? I guess there is a reason why in Spanish it’s called ‘Tabla de surf’ – eng. Surfing Table*
Bigger – better. You won’t have to fight so much with waves just to be on the board.
Did you ever try to ride a bull, even this mechanical one? First steps in surfing are quite similar, however you have no idea what should you do to keep your balance and everybody is giving you a great advices like “keep you legs together”.
Keep your legs together? Is it easier to walk on a sidewalk or balancing on a rope? Oh wait, let me also shake this rope!
Those are often expensive, and there is a reason for it. You can take one or two hours of classes and later there will not be a need for next. They will show you basic moves, tell you when to take the wave and push you few times on the beginning. I haven’t been so smart to take a lesson as it was 40$, however many people learned alone.
How to start
Watch one or two videos on youtube, would be the best if you’ll ask somebody who is going to surf for few tips, and try to surf in the foam. Don’t try to catch a wave like I did, because it’s impossible.
My best advice: go to the swimming pool and try to get on the board until you will succeed, than try to repeat it with a foam, later small waves etc.
How long will it take to learn how to surf
Some says they got it after first hour (if they were alone, they probably lie). Most of autodidacts if they will try everyday, it should take between 3 and 10 days, depends from your experience with skateboards and general talent.
Just stay positive and don’t quit! I heard once you learn it it’s even fun! 😉
*Of course ‘tabla‘ means also board, however table would fit better =)