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  1. #1
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    where would you go to LEARN to surf

    i have never surfed in my life. really just over the last year or so, i have somehow become convinced that i NEED to surf. it just looks like a damn good time, i love water and beaches and palm trees and all that good stuff, and surfing seems like a cool way to travel around to different rad tropical locations.
    so where should i go to try and figure the whole surfing thing out? i'd like to go somewhere nice and cheap. mexico? are fiji or bali cheap?
    do i need to take lessons? do i just go to a not-gnarly spot and try to figure it out myself? do i try to travel with someone who knows their shit? (dont think i know many surfers...)
    how did you learn to surf? did you grow up doing it? have friends who did it? decide you wanted to do it and just figured it out on your own?
    please help a total surf JONG get some ideas on how to enter this intriguing world.
    cheers

  2. #2
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    I would go back in time to a point where I was about 3 or 4 years old. Then it would be no problem.

    Go watch Point Break and listen to Lori Petty.
    Putting the "core" in corporate, one turn at a time.

    Metalmücil 2010 - 2013 "Go Home" album is now a free download

    The Bonin Petrels

  3. #3
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    here's an idea for the century

    why don't you go to the closest beach that has waves near you, rent a board, hire an instructor and try it

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by hop View Post
    I would go back in time to a point where I was about 3 or 4 years old. Then it would be no problem.

    .
    Yeah, no kidding. As someone who is a mediocre surfer it is very tough. My bottom turns are still awkward, and the lip has to be right there for me to hit it. I learned in college, went to UCSB. Unfortunately, for the learning stage you really do want to live near the water. You have to go out, over and over and over again. You fall, and fall and fall.......It really takes months of going out several times a week if you want to learn in your late teens, early 20's or later. I lived on the ocean in college and went out every day. Having surfed for about 15 years I am still solidly mediocre. To get really good, you have to get on it at an early age. Having said that, even being an OK surfer is a whole lot of fun. Flying down the line with a ton of speed is a great feeling, and getting barreled really is as fun as they say. Things have to be set up pretty well for me to get tubed, but when it happens it shoots energy through you, much like skiing powder.

    As far as somewhere to learn.....I guess a place like Waikiki. Long mellow waves, soft boards to rent, surf instructors to show you how it is done....At the learning stage you want everything to be slow and gradual, you don't need a place with waves that are good for good surfers, you need somewhere gentle.

    Part of the trouble with surf instruction is that people usually have difficulty after the instructor leaves. Learning to surf, is really about learning to paddle, judge waves, and pop up. It is not about learning to ride. Having said all of that, I guess Waikiki is your best option.

    If you call up surf camps, be frank and honest with them. Going to a place where people who can actually surf are having fun will do nothing for you. You also need to keep at it. Going and splashing around for a week will not do it if you are going back to Denver(or somewhere inland) when it is all done.

    One of the funny things about this is that many people would assume going to a place like UCLA would be good for learning to surf. UCLA would be OK for someone who grew up doing it, but you really need to be within 5-10 minutes of the beach to actually learn. I'm not saying it is impossible, but surfing is very fickle.

    If you want to actually be a surfer, i.e. get up and ride waves, make turns....You need to move to the beach. If you have 2 months to go somewhere and learn you might be able to get somewhere, like to the advanced beginner stage, but to really do it you have to move to the coast. It is much harder than it looks. I would say it is easier to become a competent skier/snowboarder/skateboarder than to get to the same level with surfing.

    One more thing: You want to learn on a big board. Do not go to a smaller board until you can paddle, stand up, angle, and make little turns. Trying to learn on a board for advanced surfers will stunt your growth. I never saw anyone learn successfully that way. It's not that it cannot be done, it just makes it much harder.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

    "I didn't have a grandfather on the board of some fancy college. Key word being was. Did he touch the Filipino exchange student? Did he not touch the Filipino exchange student? I don't know Brooke, I wasn't there."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by postman22 View Post
    here's an idea for the century

    why don't you go to the closest beach that has waves near you, rent a board, hire an instructor and try it
    hmmm, i hadnt thought of it like that....

    i live in montucky, so there are not really waves nearby. long duc, thanks for the ideas. waikiki sounds interesting. i'm not looking to move somewhere to surf a ton, or even to become a great or even good surfer. really just want to try it. go somewhere and work on it for 2 or 3 weeks. thats really all i could swing at this point. somewhere down the line, i could definitely see myself living by water for at least half a year, but not now.
    hop, i will definitely rewatch point break. its been a while...

  6. #6
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    Tamarindo Costa Rica has a surf school you should check out.

  7. #7
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    Good advice given so far.

    One thing I would say for sure to do if you really want to learn is do something like a week long surf camp, and definitely one that caters to total beginners. Myself, and I'm sure most on here just went out and did it, learning through trial and error, getting beat down over and over, pissing other surfers off, etc. I really think a one week camp would put you ahead of the game, I'm sure one week of instruction being the equivalent of surfing one month or even two on your own.

    You WILL get beat down, but like LDD says, learning to surf is mostly about judging the waves, the pop up, even getting the balance on the board. Learning the surf etiquette and at your stage, learning to stay out of everyone elses way is super important. A surf camp I'm sure will also take you to the breaks best suited to learning depending on conditions which is something that you will not know on your own. Learn on a big board, and stay on the big board longer than you think, like I'm talking spending a few months at least on a bigger board(ie. Mini Mal 8-9' long) before even thinking of attempting a shorter board.

    Also as everyone has said, it is a very slow learning curve and it will take you a LONG time of very regular surfing to get it so if you want to become somewhat proficient at it, you've got to move. If you are in university, an exchange would be an excellent way to go about it, such as Gold Coast or Sydney Australia. Quick vacations just do not give enough time at all.

    I'm from land locked Calgary and first took trips to Oregon when I started. Then I lived in OZ for over a year where I was surfing diligently 4-5 days a week, hours in the water, etc. If I didn't live in OZ, I probably wouldn't be surfing today because it would have been way too long of a process. I am lucky enough now that I have had a job over the last few years that has allowed me to take 3 month long surf vacations every year.

    In Indo this year, I was talking to a Swiss couple at my hotel, and the guy was learning to surf for the first time and doing a week long camp and said he absolutely loved it. Indo is expensive to get to but cheap once you are there. I'm pretty sure this is the camp he was at http://www.rapturecamps.com/bali/surfcamp.

    Anyway, if you want to learn, persevere and keep at it. Spend hours at a time. Everytime I am at a spot where there are beginner surfers, they seem to only go out for a half hour or less and then come back in. You won't learn like that. HOURS!!!!!

    One last note, when looking for a surf camp, I hope I won't get flak for this comment and I could very well be wrong, but try to get one with real english speaking instructors. Again, I've never had instruction or been at a camp, but just watching foreign instructors on the beach in countries like Indo and Costa Rica, there always seems to be a language barrier, instructors don't seem too interested in really teaching the students, instructors seem more interested in trying to pick up the foreign girls in the group(ie. paddling the girls out, head on top of their asses kind of thing, can't blame them, etc. Again, I'm being presumptuous, but this is the feeling I've gathered.
    Last edited by robnow; 09-29-2009 at 04:52 PM.

  8. #8
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    At any break, sit on the beach and watch the line up for an hour. Observe how the pack reacts to the waves and each other, surfing aint easy and it shouldn't be. With that being said, I learned at San Onofre. Good luck man, it can certainly be a humbling experience.
    Whoa, what you gotta say?? Whoa, girls turn 18 every day!!!
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  9. #9
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    both are good suggestions. The hardest thing you will find, and not know, is getting GOOD at paddling, especially into a wave. 99% of this, and 99% that is overlooked, is getting your board on a good plane (as well as timing and overall strength). ok, maybe its 33/33/33%... whatever. To get all of them down, instruction, a well suited board, and practice are your keys. I never really had much instruction, just the will to do it, over, and over, and over again. One thing you want to be sure about before you jump on a board and paddle out is to learn etiquitte. You don't want to go jump in pack of locals and drop in on a local... even on accident, its a huge no-no, and they will fucking flame you, maybe even hurt you. whatever happens, feeling like a dipshit kook will make you timid and off of waves... trust me I know.

    Anyway, i'd go somewhere warm, cheap and easy. Mexico or Costa, panama, etc...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuikR12 View Post
    ...Anyway, i'd go somewhere warm, cheap and easy. Mexico or Costa, Panama, etc...
    Apartment for rent five minutes to the beach at San Carlos, Panama...

  11. #11
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    if you are in the pnw and wish to borrow prindle_16's board, which is located about 20 miles from where I've been beginnering on the olympic peninsula you may feel free to let me know and use the board. This is cold water and waves are somewhat unreliable.

  12. #12
    Hugh Conway Guest
    a couple of weeks will let you say you've been surfing and that's about it. you'll never be a passable surfer starting old and living inland so pick somewhere mellow and fun.

    fiji and bali are not for the beginner surfer. fast hollow barrels are not for beginner or intermediate surfers despite the asshole eurotrash clogging the lineup. pick somewhere warm and mellow

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    a couple of weeks will let you say you've been surfing and that's about it. you'll never be a passable surfer starting old and living inland so pick somewhere mellow and fun.
    mellow + fun = Moonlight Beach, Encinitas California.


    yup.


    if you want to start slow, and then take it a bit easier and funner, Kahuna Bob's shop has some great instructors and floaty happy boards...
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuikR12 View Post
    Anyway, i'd go somewhere warm, cheap and easy.
    definitely what i'm thinking. any thoughts on puerto escondido?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nateski View Post
    ...any thoughts on puerto escondido?
    If you're looking for an ass-kicking, that's the place.

  16. #16
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    by the waves or locals? or both?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nateski View Post
    definitely what i'm thinking. any thoughts on puerto escondido?
    Dood, puerto escondido is an epic surfer destination that I have not had the opportunity to go to... yet. I do hear the break is pretty intense though, and can get you hurt pretty easily.

    check out some of these photos... go to : http://magicseaweed.com/Puerto-Escon...rf-Report/340/

    scroll through them and you'll see they have a good reliable break year-round. It can get really big and gnarly, and much more than you'll be ready for as a kook.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by boltonoutlaw View Post
    If you're looking for an ass-kicking, that's the place.
    I'm guessing waves... its an int'l destination, so there are really few true locals there (assumption), but you will get your ass kicked if you fuck up on ettiquite or do something stupid that could get someone else hurt.

    To add to puerto's appeal, it isn't a "tourist" destination, so its even cheaper than your other cities in mx.

  19. #19
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    Can't believe i forgot about this... another place to learn to surf is at your closest lake, behind a boat... No, you won't learn the most important parts (paddling, timing, wave position, or 'the pop'), and you are aided by a rope, but it does help your board balance a lot. and is a ton of fun.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuikR12 View Post
    I'm guessing waves... its an int'l destination, so there are really few true locals there (assumption), but you will get your ass kicked if you fuck up on ettiquite or do something stupid that could get someone else hurt.

    To add to puerto's appeal, it isn't a "tourist" destination, so its even cheaper than your other cities in mx.
    Um, it's not International-Land, it's in Mexico, and there are a bunch of badass MX locals. The famous break itself is called "Mexican Pipeline" because it does a pretty decent beachbreak imitation of that other "pipeline" wave.

    I believe SURF/ER/ING just did an article on PE locals in a recent issue (I read it in the airport a week ago).

    Here's a pictoral guide to what the OP is looking for:
    Instead of this (Puerto Escondido since we're on the subject):


    The OP is looking for this:
    Putting the "core" in corporate, one turn at a time.

    Metalmücil 2010 - 2013 "Go Home" album is now a free download

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by nateski View Post
    definitely what i'm thinking. any thoughts on puerto escondido?

    Arguably the heaviest beachbreak in the world. Very powerful. Puerto Escondido is not what you need at this point. There are other places in Mexico that would fit your needs better. I don't really know enough to help with specifics, but I would stay away from heavy tubes.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

    "I didn't have a grandfather on the board of some fancy college. Key word being was. Did he touch the Filipino exchange student? Did he not touch the Filipino exchange student? I don't know Brooke, I wasn't there."

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by boltonoutlaw View Post
    Apartment for rent five minutes to the beach at San Carlos, Panama...
    is this your place?

  23. #23
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    Si, cholo.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by YetiMan View Post
    if you are in the pnw and wish to borrow prindle_16's board, which is located about 20 miles from where I've been beginnering on the olympic peninsula you may feel free to let me know and use the board. This is cold water and waves are somewhat unreliable.
    Broheme, its fall, you can count on good surf in the PNW. It hasn't been under 7 ft in weeks. Cold water, sure, but its hot as fuck inside a 5/4 suit = water temp no longer a problem. and its also been over 60 for some time, so even duck dives don't give you the shivers.

    On Escondido, yeah, haven't been... mentioned that already, so don't know about how fierce the locals can be.

    Long duc is (possibly) right though, the place pumps a consistent barrel, from 7-30 ft, and IS a beach break.

  25. #25
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    Hop's picture there suggests the place is constantly firing 30 footers. I was on the Or coast two weeks ago riding a 17ft break that I usually take my first time buddies to for little 4 ft rollers... any place can fire a big wave if the swell and ground condition are right, so hop, i just find your pic a bit misleading... check out the link i posted for MSW, you'll see a range of 8-15 ft for most of the year, with some bigger than swells coming in. Where are you anyway, POP? your pic looks like the OR coast man.

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