So you’ve decided to give surfing a try—great! Surfing professionals and enthusiasts alike will agree that once you take to the surf, it can fast become your favorite thing to do and you’ll be rearranging your schedule to get out there and ride the waves even more. That said, surfing can be difficult and it may not come easy at first; but it is most certainly worth it. Here are a few tips to help you succeed:

Use the right equipment. Talk with a local surf shop and find the right board size to suit your body style; most often it is better to choose a larger board in the beginning.

Choose the right location. To start, you’ll want a surf spot that has softer and gentler rolling waves, rather than the bigger and crunchier waves. Again, surfing friends and local shops can help you identify the best locations for beginners.

Practice popping up into surf stance on the beach first.  You’ll need to decide if you are “goofy” or “regular” footed. If you are “goofy,” your left foot will be in the front.  If you are “regular,” your right foot will be in the front.  It’s kind of like an explosive push up into a standing position.  Don’t be discouraged if you cannot stand right away, particularly once you are in the water. This is often a stumbling block for beginners and your strength will develop. Be sure you have a large enough board to provide ample surface area and flotation and you’ll make it soon!

Adopt an attitude of self-reliance. Take the time to note where the waves are breaking in relation to landmarks on the beach to track where you are and where you want to go. Following the crowd is not always the best move for beginners.   Taking note of land marks on the beach will help avoid getting sucked too far down the beach by the current.

Take a lesson.  It’s always best to have a qualified instructor take you to an appropriate surf break and provide you with good fundamentals to start you off correctly.

Be patient and take your time to let skills develop; you’ll love surfing soon enough!