Surfing 101 By Surfista Siargao

Surfing 101 By Surfista Siargao

Welcome to Surfing 101! Whether you're a complete beginner or someone looking to brush up on the basics, this guide will help you get started. From understanding the essential gear to mastering your first wave, let's dive into the world of surfing with Surfista Siargao.


1. What makes Surfista Siargao classes different from all the others?

Elaine Abonal is the founder of Surfista Siargao and is known in the surfing community around the Philippines. She shares her passion for surfing by helping people learn in the most FUN, PROFESSIONAL & SAFE way possible.

Besides just having a local instructor or guide when students go out there, the Surfista experience will always have an ISA (International Surfing Association) Head Coach as well - which is either Elaine Abonal or Oliver Bayer.  Surfista coaches will always be paddling around the student and are trained internationally how to teach, give feedback and coach a student to become independent surfers. Surfista has a goal of elevating the level of surfing instruction not only in Siargao island, but also the Philippines and wants the participants to feel that there is great quality surfing education in the country that Filipinos could and should be proud of.


2. How do I prepare for my first ever surfing ever lesson?

It's great when someone wants to prepare for their first surfing lesson instead of just blindly jumping into it - especially if they want surfing to really become a part of their life. Some ways to prepare for it are:

  • getting physically active and doing some stretching the week before so your body isn't shocked with the strenuous activity
  • eating right - like eating a lot of carbs and protein rich food so that you have a lot of energy before the lesson
  • making sure you had enough rest and sleep the day before (don't come to class hungover / overtired / sick and force it)
  • researching about the best surf school for you, best surfing spot (must be suitable to beginners) and using the right equipment
  • having a POSITIVE ATTITUDE as the most important skill to have. Surfing requires a lot of things from oneself and there's a lot of trial and error before "getting it" and the only way to get there is to keep getting back up every time you wipe out and enjoying the fall as much as the ride. ;)

3. What type of board should I start with?

The best type of board to start with are soft top longboards. Longboards are longer, wider and thicker which make them easier and more stable to balance on and are ideal for small and slow waves. The soft top foam protects the beginners - especially the young ones - from injuries since the first few lessons or tries may involve a lot of wiping out and falling.

4. What are the best conditions for beginner surfers?

The best conditions for beginners would be a sunny day with little to no wind (because rain and wind can add to the challenge and intimidation factor). It is also important to choose a spot close to the beach and with 1-2 foot waves (small). With easier conditions, it's easier to master the basics and would give a student a lot of chance to practice, repeat what they are doing right and to fix any bad habits or mistakes. Beach breaks and sandier bottoms are also preferable for beginners - otherwise if you end up somewhere with reef, it's best to be fully equipped with reef shoes in case you are still not used to it.

5. How do I paddle correctly? 

3 things we always say to our students:

  • Keep your fingers and hands cupped and elbows bent.
  • Make sure your chest and chin are elevated instead of lying down low on the board.
  • Always dig deep and close to the board when you paddle. It's not about how fast you paddle but how deep you dig - and that will make your surfboard move faster.

6. How do I pop up on the board?

  • Paddle and once you feel the wave carrying you, push up with your arms.
  • Slide your legs up beneath your chin, about shoulder's width apart and step on the stringer.
  • Get to your feet quickly, keeping your knees bent.
  • Shifting you weight between your front and back feet will lift up the nose or push it down, giving you different speeds.
  • Pearling is when you start paddling for a wave and the nose of your board gets buried under water. This usually happens when you're too far forward on your board, putting too much weight up front.
  • Remember to LOOK FORWARD and UP, use your hands to balance (throw the shaka in there if you'd like!) and SMILE! You're surfing!!

7. What are some basic surfing safety tips?

  • If it is your first time surfing, do your research and make sure that you choose a professional and qualified surfing instructor surf school that will keep you safe while you learn.
  • Keep in mind your level of ability with the break you choose. It's great to challenge yourself but it's also good to know your limits. Always ask a local about the spot, conditions, weather forecast, etc.
  • Make sure that you learn basic surfing etiquette. When there are a lot of surfers out there, the line up becomes like a high way and there IS a system that keeps everyone safe - which NEEDS TO BE LEARNED.
  • Hang on to your board, don't let it floating around since it becomes a safety hazard. Look out for other surfers.

Surfing is an exhilarating sport that connects you with the ocean in a unique way. While it may seem challenging at first, with patience and practice, you'll soon find yourself gliding across the waves with confidence. So grab your board, hit the beach, and enjoy the ride!


Team Parasol Y Mar

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