Hollywood would have us believe surfing is incredibly easy and straightforward. All you need is a mop of unkempt hair, a bathing suit, and any old surfboard to win the surfing contest, and save the local community center from being bulldozed over to make a golf course. In reality, things are a bit more complicated. Proper surfing requires carefully selected gear and more than a little bit of know-how to really ensure you make the most out of each wave.
Surfing is no different from any other skill – practice makes perfect. You’ll need to log some serious hours before you’ll be on the beach, impressing people with your skills and effortless ability to cruise along the shoreline. To make those hours more bearable and gainful, you should keep in mind what kind of equipment you need to keep things flowing smoothly during each part of your surf.
Here’s what you need to bring out with you whenever you decide to hit the waves:
A Good Wetsuit
The water can take a toll on the human body very quickly. Being able to maintain your body temperature is a huge deciding factor in how long you’ll be able to stay out surfing. A good wetsuit fits you properly and is comfortable, but most importantly, protects you from the elements. Don’t get sidetracked by all of the extra bells and whistles an expensive wetsuit promises. Make sure to try it on and give it your best shot at determining whether or not that suit will get you as much surf time as possible.
The Right Surfboard
It’s obvious you’re going to need a surfboard to go surfing, but what separates the beginners from the experts is the ability to pick the right surfboard. Make sure to explain your level of skill to the surf shop staff and explain where your weaknesses lie so they can help. If you don’t have any surf shops in your area, sites like adventure genesis better explain what to go for in a surfboard. Beginners are most often well-served by larger, wider surfboards that have much more in the way of stability and water-resistance compared to a more narrow one meant for top speed. The size and shape of surfboard matters, so do your homework.
Whatever your level of expertise is, it’s inevitable that you will, at some point, become separated from your surfboard, either by falls or a wave you didn’t anticipate knocking you off kilter. If you’re a weak swimmer and end up sufficiently separated from your board, this could spell disaster. This is why having a surf leash is an absolute essential. Ideally, your surf leash is as long as your board, and is attached to a swivel on the board, as well as your wrist to avoid it getting tangled.
Surfing is a growing sport with a lot of thought put into it over the years. These three pieces of equipment are the absolute bare minimum you’ll need to make the most out of your water time. But then, don’t think there aren’t hundreds of other pieces of equipment that could help accelerate your progress. You should never stop researching and learning how to become a better surfer. The best tips might come from the oddest of places.
Image Credits: Surfboard from SAPhotog/Shutterstock