Paddle, Paddle, Paddle!
Tips for Beginners
Bom Dia traveller! Welcome to Portugal, home to Ronaldo, Pastel de Natas and the best waves in Europe. If it’s your first time surfing, do not worry, we’re here to help. Here’s five simple tips from beginners for beginners.
1. Who needs a gym membership anyway?
If you’ve started surfing to burn calories while having fun, congrats!, you’ve come to the right place. If you haven’t, well too bad, because surfing is tiring, really tiring. You don’t need to be an athlete, but a little bit of preparation goes a long way. Before your session make sure to eat a light breakfast (fruit, porridge, nuts etc...) and drink plenty of water (the drinkable kind, not sea water). As you'll be working every muscle in the body it’s important to stretch, which will allow you to paddle faster, stand up quicker and avoid any strains.
2. Pack the essentials
Quite a simple rule but easy to forget. Remember to bring your towel, some water and snacks for after the surf, and SUNSCREEN.
(Oh and don’t be like us, bring your wetsuits. The Portuguese water is warm, but not that warm…)
3. Know Your Surroundings
Surfing is very popular and the beaches get busy, so be vigilant in the water. It’s best for your own safety, and the person next to you that you know where you are and who’s beside / in front of you when catching waves.
4. Head, Elbows, knees, and Pose!
When surfing, remember to :
A) Protect your head if you fall into the water and to do the same when surfacing.
B) DO NOT PUT YOUR ELBOWS AND KNEES ON THE BOARD WHEN STANDING UP. This mistake is somewhat sacrilege in the surfing world so if you do make it, don’t let the instructors catch you.
C) Correct surfing posture is key. Look at our friend Pedro for example. His back foot is forward and his knees are slightly bent. He’s standing in the centre of the board and his feet are aligned with his shoulders. Looking at what you're doing wrong is the best way to improve technique, thankfully Surf Cascais organises weekly video sessions to do just this!
Look, I hate to tell you, but surfing takes time to master, so if you're expecting to stand up on your first go and do a 360° twirl, think again amigo. Being bad is the first step in becoming a pro, and the sooner you accept this, the better.
Rather than getting annoyed with what you think may be poor progress, here’s what we recommend instead. Enjoy it! Enjoy the journey, because that is what surfing is, a journey. Take it slow at first, and don’t do anything you're not comfortable with. When the moment arrives that you catch your first wave (which you will under the guidance of Surf Cascais’ brilliant instructors), all the frustration will be worth it.
We hope this article helps with your first steps into the surfing world. You’re going to have so much fun and we can’t wait to see you in the water. Good luck, Au revoir, Adeus.
And remember to Paddle, Paddle, Paddle ;)
Matthew & Paul (Volunteers May 2021)