The best way for kids to learn to surf
Taking a break from the endless stream of Tik Toks, YouTube and the Insta-world can only be healthy, and what better way to entertain yourself and the kids over summer than to learn to surf!
If you’re planning on hitting the beach this summer, surf lessons can be a great option for kids and the whole family. It’s cheap and something everyone can get involved with at some level, making for loads of fun. If you’re after some tips to help your kids connect with a surfboard this summer instead, check out some tips below from our friends at SURF2SURF.
Teaching kids how to surf
From our experience, the first rule is don’t try to teach them yourself. Unless you’ve had experience teaching others, we suggest heading to your local surf school and let them take control. There are many reasons why this is a great option.
1. Safety is number one.
Surf schools have many years’ experience teaching kids and teens. They gently ease them into the sport in a safe controlled manner. They will specifically choose the parts of the beach with minimal swell and currents to make sure it’s a safe and easier environment for your kids to learn in.
2. Kids listen to instructors.
Ever tried to ask a teenager to clean their room? Enough said.
Surf schools and experienced instructors are highly skilled at working with kids and the kids are responsive to them.
3. They have the correct equipment.
It’s important to teach kids how to surf with the correct gear. Making sure you have the right type of surfboard to learn on is number one. Every new surfer needs a surfboard that is soft, and forgiving, as well as long and stable enough to make learning fun.
Surf schools provide the perfect range surfboard models for learners.
4. They teach confidence and respect for the ocean.
Getting your kids into a lesson and learning to surf will ensure they understand how currents and rips work. Some kids can be fearful of the water or conversely no fear at all, so it’s important they learn how to look after themselves while they are out there.
Surfing is a huge confidence booster for kids and can help them to use the power of the ocean for fun.
5. Surfing is a great connection with nature
Getting into the water and going out surfing is very unique. There is an instant connection with nature, and you come out of the water with a lovely relaxing feeling after surfing.
That’s why it is one of the fastest growing sports in New Zealand right now. From Kids to CEO’s of major companies, it allows individuals to unplug and stop the constant stream of information and thinking that goes with living in the modern world. It can only be good!
Can parents learn too?
No. Unfortunately old people are unable to learn new things (jokes!)
Of course parents can learn too. Surfing is a fantastic sport for all ages. SURF2SURF have customers and users well past into their 70s who are still surfing several times a week. One of the major benefits for surfing is that it is low impact. Falling is part of the fun (i.e. the Wipeout).
The fitness benefits are similar to jogging (measured by various sports studies), and surfing works to build muscle and flexibility. Choosing the size and type of waves you surf will determine the physical difficulty.
Surfing is also a wonderful social activity to share with friends or anyone in the water. Just strike up a conversation and 'share the stoke' (surfing term meaning immense happiness).
If you’re an adult and you’ve never surfed, you can also try a surf school - they are by far the best option. Many adults will buy a board and teach themselves, and this is ok, but it is the long way around. The number one mistake is buying a surfboard that it too short in length and paddling out in surf that is too big. Make sure you get the right advise when purchasing a board and that it is suited to your needs.
How to check the surf
SURF2SURF.com is the key resource in New Zealand for surf with live cams and forecasting. Many of their cams are free and SURF2SURF reports real on-the-beach conditions daily.
There are also many free forecast websites available to give you an idea of swell heights and winds. Whatever the forecast, if conditions don’t look quite right from the beach use the old phrase, 'if in doubt, don’t go out!' Your safety is most important.
Have a great summer and lookout for SURF2SURF!
Thanks to Rebecca, Ray and George at Hibiscus Surf School, Mt Maunganui for helping us out with instruction and surfboards. Find them online here: https://www.surfschool.co.nz/
Thanks for surfers Grace and Sophie.