Surfing: Some Common Mistakes You Should Avoid

Surfing in Sri Lanka
Image: Sri Lanka Tours & Travels

Pasikuda is regarded as an attractive venue for water sports and draws numerous water sport enthusiasts who visit the area at all times of the year. It is particularly well-known as a delightful location for surfing, and you will see a mass of surfers at the beach taking advantage of the encouraging conditions for the sport. Visitors will be able to observe a mass of surfers indulging in their sport, displaying spectacular moves and actions. Regardless of whether you are a master surfer or a novice , you will find splendid surfing opportunities at Pasikuda.

Stay at Amaya Beach, one of our Pasikudah Hotels, and get the chance to experience surfing in Sri Lanka

The thrill and excitement of riding a huge wave is beyond compare… Surfing is an immensely popular sport but it is a sport that requires quickness, skill and most importantly, the correct technique.

Most beginners, caught up in the excitement to ride the big waves, make some common surfing mistakes. Getting the wrong board, not paddling correctly or not caring about size of the waves and currents are some of the common mistakes that most beginners tend to make. Unfortunately, the ocean can be a hard enemy, as it is unpredictable and often filled with dangers. So, it is best to be equipped with some knowledge of how to avoid these common surfing mistakes before you start.

Choosing the Wrong Size of Boards

One of the most common mistakes that beginners make is choosing the wrong size of surfboard. When learning to surf, you need a bigger board which needs to be as stable and as possible. This cannot be achieved with smaller and narrower surfboards that may be fast and easy-to turn but require experience to handle. As opposed to this, longboards which are 8½ feet long are easier for paddling and wave catching but often very slow. Fun boards are a cross between the longboard and short boards. They are easy to maneuver as compared to a longboard and more buoyant than a short board. As a beginner a funboards are great options.

Attempting to Surf in Wrong Conditions

Most of the time beginners tend to rush into the ocean without checking the condition of the sea. If the waves are too big and the conditions are extremely brittle then, as a beginner, you are sure to get mashed up. Furthermore, , it is important to watch out for rocks and reefs too, when surfing. The best way to avoid this, is by learning to surf on softer, gentler waves that are not higher than three feet. Veteran surfers refer to these fat-breaking waves as “mushy” or “crumbly.” However, for a beginner it is best to test and make mistakes on smaller waves, then venture out onto the big waves.

Paddling Problems

Paddling is one of the most important aspects of surfing that a beginner absolutely needs to get right. Unfortunately, it is a little tricky to get this right. While paddling if you find your nose diving under the water along with your board, then chances are that you are lying too far forward on the board. Shuffle back a little but ensure that you do not go back a long way, else the wave will pass underneath you when you are lying too far back on the board. Another common mistake that surfing beginners make while paddling, is not paddling fast enough, paddling too early, or too soon, or stopping too soon. This can make you miss out the wave completely. While paddling, it is important to match the wave’s speed by increasing the power in the stroke. Pull firmly through the water, while still keeping the stroke as long as possible. Keep the body as immobilized as possible. After this, increase the stroke rate. Paddling at the right time is also important. If you are too early then you will miss the wave, and if you are too late then you will get hit by the wave sooner than you are ready.

Incorrect Posture

“Bend your legs and not your back.” Even after hearing your instructor yell it out to you a thousand times, you are bound to do it. Balance is the key to surfing, and to achieve balance the center of gravity needs to be lowered. Unfortunately, poor pop-up technique can cause the back to be bent while keeping the knees straight. Sometimes, if the pop-up is correct, surfers make the mistake of not lifting their shoulders and head fast enough, thus causing an over balance. Bending the knees causes the center of gravity to be lowered. Bring your feet underneath the body while trying to stand up. This is a more stable position.

Looking Down While Surfing

As a beginner, we instinctively look down at our feet , or at the board. While surfing, it is essential to look at the wave or where you want to go. This is because the head is heavy and when we look down instead of straight ahead, the center of gravity will be altered. This is a common mistake that even advanced surfing learners are bound to make. The trick is to condition yourself to focus on the wave and where you are going instead of looking down.