Commit to One Surf Spot
At this stage in your surfing development, it’s best to eliminate variables so you can increase your ability to read the waves & conditions and react to them. Getting familiar with one spot will help achieve those things.
When selecting “your” spot, consider what we talked about in the introduction regarding waves for your ability level and add these three things:
- Close to your house
- Year-round waves (if possible)
- A place where you can integrate into the crowd over time
Close to your house is important because the convenience of proximity will ensure you get in the water more regularly. If there’s a good longboard spot 10 minutes from your house, and a great longboard spot 50 minutes away, take the closer one. That extra 40 minutes of driving will far too often be enough to keep you from surfing. It’s simple human nature. Have you ever belonged to a gym more than 15 minutes from your house? Then you already know what I mean. That surf spot further away will always be there. Now’s the time to hyper focus.
At this point, the “best” wave is simply the one you ride the most.
Whether you’re fortunate to have year-round waves nearby is somewhat out of your control, but can you do something about it? If you only get consistent waves half the year, is there anywhere, anywhere at all, you can drive during the other half? In your first year, consistency is Everything, and you won’t make it out of the nascent stage for many years if you take 6 months off now. Even once a week can keep you from regressing, if not getting better.
I recognize it’s totally possible there’s nothing you can do about where you live, just commit to doing everything you can to surf. The only thing that ultimately takes you to the next level is consistent reps. And I don’t mean reps over a long period of time, I mean over a short, consistent amount of time. Every capable surfer has that one, formative season when they surf 3-5 times a week (even 7!). It’s the only way to get there, so use your passion now and find creative ways to get in the water!
If you are one of the ones who thought surfing was a Summer activity, I’m sure this is all news to you. And this will be no different. In most of the surf destinations I’ve visited, the best surf doesn’t occur in Summer, but Fall and Winter. To really make surfing a life-long pursuit, you’re going to want to take advantage of the clean conditions and empty beaches of Winter, and, yep, the best waves.
Most surf spots, particularly spots that are attractive to longboarders, will feature a familiar cast of characters. You’ll start to notice the same faces in the water nearly every time you paddle out. Like our coffee shop analogy above, you can drink your coffee alone, but you’ll have a ton more fun when you know everyone. So be kind & likable and try to integrate yourself into the pack. You’ll be amazed what being aware and thoughtful will do for you socially out there. A jovial, “nice wave!” goes a long way, because no matter who we are, we all love a compliment. Even that guy whose face looks like he already doesn’t like you. Give him a break, it might just be his resting face.
Integrating into the crowd at your home break helps your progression as a surfer—in both spoken and unspoken ways. And the better your surfing gets, the easier it is to integrate.
This is an excerpt of Almond's Guide to Your First Year of Surfing, our eBook aimed at helping you make progress as a novice surfer.