Want to learn how to surf? Get a lesson in surviving on the surfboard—and handling wipeouts with ease
On a trip earlier this summer to Hawaii for Roxy’s RunSupYoga event, I had a chance to live out my childhood Blue Crush fantasies with lessons from the Hans Hedemann Surf School. I hit the water feeling timid but hopeful. Hans himself—who competed on the professional World Tour and was ranked #4 in the world in the 80s—and Roxy pro surfers Bruna Schmitz and Lisa Andersen (who happens to be a legendary four-time world surfing champ) joined us. No pressure at all!
In the end, I actually managed to catch a wave or two ('catch' being used rather loosely), but it was far from Kate Bosworth-esque. Alas, I picked up a few tips along the way from the experts (and my own epic screw-ups) for fellow first-time surfers to learn from. (Before getting on a board, sculpt a lean surfer bod with these Surf-Inspired Exercises to Sculpt Lean Muscle.)
1. Practice your "pop up" technique before you get into the water.
2. Always paddle out with a buddy.
3. Wear a bikini that isn't easy to lose.
4. Be familiar with your surroundings (i.e. know if there is a sand bottom or rocks beneath you).
5. As with most things in life, timing is everything.
6. You will wipe out. A lot. It's usually not graceful.
7. So when you see it coming, remain calm. Panicking will only make things worse.
8. But never fall head first! Proper wipeout 101: Lead with the butt.
9. Do not attempt to stand up straight. Keep your knees bent to maintain a lower center of gravity.
10. And remember that good balance takes practice.
11. Surf through your hips.
12. Choose an area without advanced surfers—it can make for a hostile environment.
13. And avoid crowded areas—or prepare for run-ins with other surfers (and their boards).
14. But hitting the waves with a couple of friends definitely makes things a lot more fun.