It’s been a while since we’ve done a beginner surf lesson at Babel Fish – October 2019, to be precise – so we thought it would be cool to run through the basics on this week’s blog, so you can see what to expect when we can open up again later this year.
Despite not doing any Babel Fish surf lessons, Alex has still been instructing for some local surf schools including The Wave Project and Big Green Surf School at Crantock Beach, so is keeping his feet wet and skin salty.
Let’s start with the equipment: when you start surfing, you obviously want to catch plenty of waves…but this is easier said than done if you’re on a board that is too small. Most people start on 8’ boards (244cm) which is long enough, wide enough and flat enough to enable easy wave catching and importantly – stability. We have a range of boards that we start people on: our favourite makes are Alder and Vision.
Next, you’ll need a wetsuit made from neoprene to keep you warm in the Atlantic Ocean. Our suits are 5mm thick which is warm enough for all year round surfing. The wetsuit needs to be a tight fit so that it keeps you as warm as possible. We provide neoprene boots and gloves in the winter months. Yes – some students come and surf in the winter!
With your wetsuit on and your board in hand, it’s time to learn the basics.
Basics on the Beach
First of all, we talk about the beach environment and any potential hazards / things to look out for – this might be the tide, the waves, other surfers or rip currents. We give you a few hand signals so that we can communicate some basic instructions in the water, then we go through the ‘prone position’ (which just means laying down) and how / when to start paddling for a wave. Once we’ve tried this on the beach, we head into the water (to about waist to chest depth)… and catch some waves!
This is a fun introduction to being in the water with a board and there is no pressure to do anything other than ride a few waves in a laying down position.
“Alex was super encouraging in class and then it was so good to have the same positivity when we went surfing!”
Elena, 17, Spain
Once everyone on the lesson has caught a few waves and got the hang of paddling and their position, it’s time to go back on the beach and work on standing on the board. First of all, your instructor will show you the correct position and posture and then go through a few different techniques of how to get into the standing position. We give it a few goes on the beach, putting the whole thing together – position on the board, paddling for a wave and standing up. When everybody is happy with the timing and the movements, we head back into the sea and spend the rest of the session – hopefully – standing up on the waves!
Each day, we go through reminders of safety and what to do in the water. As your skills improve over your course, we introduce turning and surfing on green / unbroken waves as well as trying more intermediate equipment.
Alex will guide you each step of the way making sure you learn at your own pace and get the most out of your Surf & Study course with us.
We’re excited that we’re only months away from re-opening: if you’re keen to join our school, learn to speak English and surf it up here in Cornwall…