Learn To Surf On Maui
It’s no secret that surfing is one of the most popular water sports in the world. And while it looks like a lot of fun, it can also seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before. But don’t worry, with the right instruction and some practice, you’ll be riding waves like a pro in no time (especially with a professional Maui surf lesson!) Here are a few tips to help you learn to surf on Maui.
Please keep in mind that this is a particularly sensitive time on Maui. We appreciate respectful visitors spending their money and using Aloha on our island. Please stay out of West Maui for awhile longer.
1. Picking the right surfboard
Choose the right surfboard for you. There are different boards for different levels of surfers, so make sure you pick the right one. Boards can be bought at surf shops or online, but as a beginner, just rent a soft-top longboard. Something where if you get smashed by it, it won’t cut or break you. If you’re doing a surf lesson, the instructors at the surf school will help you find the right size and shape of board for your skill level and height.
2. Have the right gear
You’ll need a leash (not too old, in case it snaps), a rash guard or wetsuit (the wax on the board paired with salt water can tear up your skin), a bar of wax (apply a fresh coat), booties (if surfing over a sharp reef), reef-safe sunblock.
3. Learn how to stand up on your board
This is the most important step! Before you do anything else, you need to learn how to stand up on your board. There are lots of tutorials online that can teach you how to do this. It may take some practice, but once you’ve got it down, everything else will be much easier. Even though you’ll feel like a newb (you are), practice on land. The faster you can pop up, the better off you’ll be.
4. Find a surf spot
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT paddle out just anywhere. The best thing to do is take a surf lesson, or at least rent a board and paddle out where the surf lessons teach. That way you know the ocean bottom is safe and the swell isn’t too big. The last thing you want to do is paddle out in waves that are too big, over reef that’s too sharp and shallow, with rip currents, no lifeguards, jellyfish, on a rainy, sharky day. Once you start surfing with non-beginners, you’ll want to make sure your surf etiquette is solid. (see below.)
5. Bring a friend or 2
Without a doubt, surfing is more fun with friends. But more importantly, it’s best to have a partner nearby in case you have trouble.
5. Start paddling
99% of surfing is paddling. So make sure you’re in paddle shape. It’s hard, so practice. And the best practice is done to and from little waves. Center your torso on the upper portion of the board, where you feel like you’re not going to fall forward and you don’t see a bunch of the board jutting up in front of you. Then paddle. When you turn to catch a wave, paddle like there’s a shark behind you. You really need speed to get picked up by the wave. At first, you’ll be practicing within whitewater. It’s easier to catch waves like this, though harder to stand up. Once you feel like you can catch waves, try standing up.
5. Ride the wave!
When you see a wave that looks rideable, start paddling toward it. When you reach it, jump up and ride it all the way to the shore, or where it’s safe to jump off. When falling, do your best to fall as a belly flop or feet first. If you’re over a reef, belly flop. You don’t want to cut up your feet.
6. Stay safe while surfing!
Surfing is a popular water sport that people of all ages enjoy. However, it’s important to be aware of the dangers that come with surfing and to take the necessary precautions to stay safe. Here are some tips for staying safe while surfing:
- Check the weather conditions before you go surfing. If the weather is not ideal, it is best to stay on shore. Rain causes runoff and brings sharks. Wind ruins waves. Big incoming swell can catch you unaware.
- Always surf with a friend. This way, if you get into trouble, there is someone there who can help you.
- Use reef-safe sunscreen! The sun can be very harsh, especially when you are in the water. Make sure to put on sunscreen with a high SPF rating so that you don’t get sunburned.
- Drink plenty of water. It is easy to get dehydrated when you are in the water, so make sure to drink plenty of fluids so that you don’t get dehydrated.
- Be aware of your surroundings. There might be rocks or other obstacles in the water that you cannot see from the shore. Be aware of your surroundings and try to avoid these obstacles.
- Don’t go out too far. It can be tempting to go out into deep water, but it is best to stay close to shore where it is shallow.
- Know your limits. If you are a beginner, don’t try to do tricks that are too advanced for you. It is better to stick to the basics until you gain more experience. Also, stick to tiny waves.
- Listen to the lifeguards! They are there for a reason and they know what they are doing! If they say it is time to get out of the water, then it is time to get out of the water!
- Be aware of the rules of Surfing. We’ve listed some of them below.
There are a few unwritten rules that all surfers should know and follow in order to make sure everyone has a good time out on the water. We’ll go over a few of the most important things to keep in mind when paddling out to catch some waves.
1. Don’t Drop In on Other Surfers: One of the cardinal sins of surfing is dropping in on another surfer who is already riding a wave. This not only ruins their wave, but it can also be dangerous if you happen to collide with them. If you’re not sure what dropping in means, it’s essentially when someone catches a wave in front of another surfer who is already riding it. So, if you see someone ahead of you on a wave, give them plenty of space and wait for them to either ride it all the way in or drop off before paddling for it yourself. This also goes for if someone is deeper and closer to the break of the wave than you. Let them have it.
2. Be Mindful of Your Position in the Lineup: The lineup is where all the surfers wait for waves and is generally located just beyond where the waves are breaking. When positioning yourself in the lineup, make sure to leave enough space between you and the other surfers so that everyone has plenty of room to paddle for waves without getting in each other’s way. Also, some lineups are set up like a queue. If it looks like a point break or a wave that breaks consistently in the same direction, some other surfers may have been waiting longer than you. Especially if there are locals there. If locals, these rules get thrown out at some spots. You’ll be dropped in on, and you won’t be able to do anything about it.
4. Don’t Paddle Through Other People’s Waves: When paddling out to the lineup, be careful not to paddle through any waves that other surfers are already riding. Not only will this potentially ruin their wave, but you can get hurt. If you need to paddle through a wave that someone else is riding, make sure to paddle hard and get ahead of them. Otherwise, wait for them to travel in front of you, then paddle through the whitewash.
5. Be Respectful of Local Surf Spots: In addition to being respectful of other surfers, it’s also important to be respectful of the local surf spot itself. This means no littering, no graffiti, and no vandalizing property near the beach. Leaving things better than you found them helps ensure that everyone can enjoy these special places for years to come.
By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience while surfing! Just remember to check the conditions before you go, practice hopping up, have the right gear, surf in the right place, surf with a friend, use sunscreen, drink plenty of fluids, be aware of your surroundings, and listen to the lifeguards! Have fun and enjoy yourself!
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