Is surfing 3 4 meter waves wrong


"Oh how cool - I want to be able to do that too!" is a dream for many. That's why I hear these or similar comments again and again on good wave days when surfers and dancers chase over foaming wave crests. The exclamations mostly come from young vacationers who stand at a surf spot for the first time in their lives and are amazed.

It's no wonder that every year countless newcomers try their hand at wave hunters and dive into the surf in taster courses. Surfing with its mixture of action, adrenaline and meditative elements offers a wonderful change in everyday work and travel, especially for backpackers and web workers who work regardless of location.

After all, who goes on vacation and then just lies down on the beach?

Then why not sweat it out in the waves instead of sweating on the beach!

In addition, the Atlantic waves in France, Spain and Portugal attract especially in the summer months with especially beginner-friendly waves. So it's high time to give you a few tips to take with you on your summer vacation. So that you too can soon start licking blood and discover the most aesthetic of all water sports for yourself!

Table of Contents

Every beginning is hard!

But which wave is the right one? When did the white roller hit you and your board? And when can you dare to swing over the crests of the waves from a lying paddling position? In short: How do you learn this attractive wave sport, for which there seems to be no magic formula for quick learning success?

The phrase every beginning is hard couldn't be more suitable for surfing. This is also because learning to surf is largely self-taught.

Every tip, no matter how well meant, is quickly drowned in the sound of the surf, especially at the beginning. Therefore, in addition to a good portion of bite, you need a great surf instructor who knows exactly what is important at the beginning.

Learn to surf: Find the right surf camp

At the beginning there is the choice of the right surf camp.

To work your first few seconds on the wave, you have a wide selection of German and international surf schools. There are now German-speaking surf instructors in almost every European surfing region.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend a really convincing website that offers a complete overview of the surf school jungle and enables an independent comparison of surf camps. After all, there is a list of surf schools that meet the quality and safety standards of the German Surfing Association (DWV):

In addition, the first German-speaking surf trip planner that I developed here on Surfnomade will surely help you. You will find the best surfing regions in Europe and around the world to match your surfing level and every month of travel. The interactive tool also provides you with one for each surfing region Selection of surf campsthat I have already written a review about myself or that have been recommended to me by other surf travelers.

Another practical online tool for choosing the right surfing region is the Surf Trip Finder. With this you can get a variety of cheap surf schools and surf accommodations display.

You can also get specific recommendations for individual surf camps in my Surf Camp Portugal overview, as well as in mine personal camp reviews of the surfing destinations France, Spain, Fuerteventura and Morocco.

Also very practical: With the following search mask you will find a large selection of surf camps and surf accommodations worldwide.

The previous reviews The other surf travelers and the distances to nearest surf spot can serve as a good orientation for you. It is just as helpful to sort the results in ascending order by room price (Sort by Lowest Prize):


The following portals also give you a good overview of global surf camps and surf trips with German support.

If you are wondering which criteria you should pay particular attention to in your research, Pana from TakeOffandTravel provides you with further useful tips in her post “The ideal surf course - what it should offer and how you can find it!”.

The right surfboard & wetsuit

Especially at the beginning the euphoria is particularly great and with it the reflex to reach for a shortboard that is too small - a mistake that you should absolutely avoid!

On your first surf course you will find the padded beginner foam boards therefore there is no way around it. On the one hand, they have a lot of buoyancy and are stable, on the other hand the surface covered with soft foam in connection with flexible fins protects very effectively against unsightly injuries.

After the first successful surf vacation, you can gradually start looking for a smaller surfboard, such as one Mini Malibu.

To find a surfboard type that suits your body weight and fits your fitness level, I can recommend the practical surfboard guide from Blue Tomato. In it you can get an overview relatively quickly, which different ones Surfboard shapes forBeginners and Intermediates even come into question.

Even in your search for that correct wetsuit there are a few stumbling blocks for surf rookies.

But don't worry…. In my detailed neoprene guide, you can find out which material thickness in millimeters is the right one for your surfing destination, how to find out whether your neoprene really fits and which mistakes you should absolutely avoid.

And then it goes very quickly

Learning to surf doesn't happen overnight. Especially at the beginning you shouldn't approach the thing with too high expectations.In the first few days and weeks it will mainly be about developing a feeling for the right wave and the right moment to get up. The right timing is just so important!

Unfortunately, there is no general answer to the question of how long you need to learn this intuition. In any case, you shouldn't rush anything. It takes a few weeks to gain safety on the surfboard. So plan enough time: Travel slow learn fast is the motto.

When you take your first safe turns in the green wave is very individual and depends on several factors:

In addition to surfing conditions, your sportiness, the right equipment and your personal attitude are important.

Small groups are sure to help. No surf instructor in the world can take care of more than five students at the same time.

But good surfing conditions can also push you! Waves rolling gently onto the beach, always breaking in the same place and coming at you at regular intervals, are a gift and offer you the best starting conditions.

Also important: with the right attitude, you can prevent frustration when learning to surf. If you catch the waves calmly and with fun, the first sense of achievement will not be long in coming.

And even if you don't classify yourself in the category sports cannon, you can assume that after your first week in the surf camp you will be on the first broken wave. If you are a sporty type, learning to surf is even faster and you will most likely be riding your first unbroken wave in the second week (in surfer jargon: green Wave).

The good thing is: You can learn to surf at any age!

The element of water forgives you many mistakes, especially at the beginning. 'Cause when you fall you fall soft

The best aloha time to learn to surf

The best time to start surfing in Europe is definitely from Beginning of June to mid-September. Because in summer there are the best conditions for learning to surf on the entire European Atlantic coast.

The shallow summer waves are nowhere near as powerful as the mighty breakers of the winter storms. Meter-high waves in summer are an exception. Therefore, beginners can dare to try their first standing during this time without any great danger.

Other advantages are pleasant water temperatures and low currents. In the Biscay, the large bay between the southern French and northern Spanish mainland, water temperatures of 22 degrees are not uncommon in August.

A shorty is sufficient as protection against the cold - a thin wetsuit with short sleeves and legs.

This saves you unnecessary weight and you need a lot less strength to hop on your board.

Safety first: That's how it works the first time

Even if everyone tells you the opposite: Your first day of surfing can be really fun if you follow a few rules of conduct.

The be-all and end-all: when you walk from the beach into the shallow water of the surf zone, always hold your surfboard next to your body firmly in both hands. The point of the board points out to sea in the direction of the waves. To get over the surf waves in waist-deep water, always hold your board with slightly stretched arms between your body and the rushing rollers.

And another tip: To prevent injuries, never hold the board by yours when you run out Leash (the leash on your board). You don't need them until you have finished riding the waves to pull the board back towards you.

Paddling effectively: this is how you get real speed

Even if you imagined your first wave days differently: You will spend most of your time lying on your board and paddling.

But paddling is not the same as paddling.

And paddling sounds boring at first, but it's half the battle for your first surf ride. If you paddle out wrong and uncontrolled, you won't last long. And if you exhaust yourself too quickly, you lack the necessary freshness and concentration for the take off at the crucial moment.

Therefore, remember the following rule of thumb:

The right position counts. Lie on your board so that the Board point at the front about 10 cm protrudes from the water. Always keep your body under tension while paddling, from the calves over the bottom to the chest, which is slightly raised from the surfboard towards the front. The legs should be as closed as possible, i.e. close together. It's best to put one foot over the other and paddles with crossed lower legs. So you don't get tempted to paddle through the lineup with your legs apart.

It's best to paddle like you would with the crawl movement in a swimming pool: Long, S-shaped trains parallel to the outer edge of the surfboard. Always keep your fingers together. This gives you enough speed to keep up with the speed of the waves.

You can also find more detailed tips on proper paddling at travelonboards.

Simply take off: This is how it works with Take Off

For your first take off, you should pick out a broken wave that still has enough power to push you in front of you. To do this, align your board with the tip towards the beach, lie down on it and start the controlled paddling movement.

Very important: As soon as you feel the thrust of the wave from behind, stay calm.

A typical mistake is to jump up frantically right away.

Instead, you take about two to three paddles at your own pace. Then you place your hands flat on the board below your chest. Now you push yourself up like a push-up. At the same time, pull both feet slowly and slightly offset from the back of the board forwards under your center of gravity. And whoops, you're already standing on the wave!

Only now do you release your hands from the board and stay in this slight crouching position. The feet remain offset about in the middle of the surfboard. With regulars, the right foot stays at the rear of the surfboard, with goofis it is the left one.

Free ride: this is how you master your first green wave

This step is arguably the most complicated for aspiring surfers. First and foremost, it is about finding the right wave and the right angle for the alignment of your surfboard.

You need experience to choose the right wave. It always helped me to watch for hours how advanced surfers behave in the lineup. Which wave are they all fighting for, which ones are they just ignoring? Look carefully and develop a fine sense of the shape of the waves and the right place to attack.

There are also a few theoretical tips for paddling direction:

If you paddle directly towards the beach in front of the breaking wave, you will get so much momentum with somewhat steeper waves that the tip of your board plunges directly into the valley of the wave. This means your surf ride is over before it really starts. In addition, there is a high probability that you will roll over and lay down a body or belly smack in front of your board. Surfers call this happening a wipeout. It can be very fun - at least for the audience.

Much more promising are attempts to paddle the waves at about a 45 degree angle to the beach. So your surfboard is neither parallel to the wave nor pointing directly towards land.

As a rule of thumb, the steeper the breaking wave, the more parallel you have to paddle towards it.

The actual take off then works in a very similar way to that described in the previous section. Above all, remember that you must never jump on your board. Unfortunately this is always wrongly explained.

Instead, the standing up movement is a slow, controlled pushing of the feet forward until the front foot is between the supporting hands. The rest of the work almost runs by itself!

Go now

And do you now believe that you have a little surfer living in you who is just waiting to get started?

What should at least be clear to you now: Learning to surf cannot be done overnight. At the same time, surfing is a wonderful experience that I can really recommend to everyone. If you are looking for nature experiences and love the sea, surfing can make a lifelong dream come true!

In the beginning you will have to struggle with currents and the suction of the waves, but as soon as you get to know the sea a little better, this apparent danger becomes more and more predictable.

Learning to surf: tips for at home

If you can't wait for your next surf lesson, there are many ways to prepare for your next surfing adventure right at home.

Training with the balance board is considered a particularly surf-based preparation for your first surf holiday. It doesn't just strengthen your leg muscles. The wobbly board is also a great way to train your balance in the waves.

There are also books and special instructional DVDs. They are the means of choice to acquire the theoretical tools before the trip.

A particularly good and practical textbook for the time between surf trips is the new WAVE CULTURE - Surfcoach. I have written my own review for this very extensive manual about learning to surf, which you can read here.

Because learning to surf is all about exact movement sequences, unfortunately not all maneuvers can be conveyed in text form. In order to really understand the movements when surfing, you need moving pictures. Instructional DVDs are particularly suitable for basic maneuvers and advanced turns. As the best German-language instructional DVD currently on the market, I can recommend surfing by Frithjoff Gauss.

The instructional film, shot entirely on Fuerteventura, explains all the important basics and technical tips for improved surfing skills: from the beginnings in white water to the correct execution of take-offs and diving maneuvers to riding green waves and the first radical turns. If you are planning a surf vacation in the surf camp, “surfing” is a very good preparation.

You can also find more detailed online resources to teach you how to surf on your own at Learn Surfing.


Learning to surf is almost a life's work. Standing on the board for the first time is something that many manage on the first day of the course. For the next level - how Parallel ride and first real turns in the green wave - A week's surf vacation is not enough in most cases.

The goal of many surfing beginners is anyway to swap the unwieldy training boards as quickly as possible for the at least what feels much cooler and more agile shortboards. In order for this to work, it is best to plan a break of several months by the sea.

You will get a few concrete suggestions on how you can easily put a longer surf break into practice in mine.

In it I will also show you how you desperately wanted it Work & Travel Visafor Australia and which universities are so close to the sea that your surfing skills can't help but improve quickly between lectures.

If you don't want to travel halfway around the globe for your next surfing vacation, you will find a lot more useful information about surfing in Europe here.

And if at some point after 300 surfing days your surf skills no longer make progress because you are not supported enough in a normal surf camp, I can also offer you individual surf coaching with video analysis and carveboarding training or the Advanced Surf Week at The Surf Experience recommend in Portugal.Until then, it’s first time to surf, surf, surf ...

And how are your experiences while learning to surf? I look forward to your anticipation, fears, doubts and questions.

Well then, let's go: Just put it in the comments!

Categories surfing