Important to learn before learning to surf

Important to learn before learning to surf

Surfing is a safe sport, if you look at the statistics. However, as we teach the sport we know that accidents do happen, and that’s why it’s important to have as much knowledge as possible about all the factors involved in order to minimize risk.

What is appropriate equipment when starting out?

Beginner surfers should use soft (foam) boards, with flexible rubber fins. Using this type of board minimizes the risk of injury in case you get hit by it.

The size of board chosen will depend on the height, fitness level and skill level of the learner. Wetsuits should be of an appropriate thickness for the given time of year (in Portugal, a 4/3 mm one for winter and a 3/2 mm one for summer). Leash strings should be as short as possible to avoid learners getting their fingers stuck in them.

What’s the best time for a surf lesson?

At Carcavelos Surf School, classes are scheduled a day in advance, in accordance with the tides and conditions forecast for the following day.
Several factors are taken into consideration when scheduling classes, such as tides, the direction of swell, size and intensity of waves, and wind, to name a few.

Carcavelos beach has a sandy bottom, which means that the seabed changes drastically from day to day. Tides are a determining factor when it comes to our waves.

What’s the best spot for surf lessons?

Managers of surf schools must have the training and experience necessary to enable them to select an appropriate location in the sea for their students’ level. That’s why it’s really important to be well informed about the students’ fitness and skill levels as well as their prior knowledge of the sport.  

Students should be grouped according to level (beginners in one group, intermediates in another and advanced students in a third), with an average of 5 learners to one instructor. Sadly, all too often we see schools with over 10 learners to one instructor, in groups with a mix of different levels.

The rules of surfing should always be explained and repeated before starting the surf lesson. Most accidents occur when these rules are broken (a topic which we’ll be focusing on in a future post).