You are sitting on a beach on a sunny summer night while enjoying the warming rays of the sun in the company of a refreshing cocktail. Peering over the horizon you notice waves approaching. You can even see some small dots vibrating in front of them. Sometimes they are present then suddenly disappear. What can those be? After some thinking it comes to your mind: surfers! Most people would want to avoid those crests but not them!
Chasing the waves of their lives is their passion. These daredevils are not afraid of being consumed by those intimidating waves. But you don’t have to be at that level to call yourself a surfer. Most of you reading this could become a surfer, you just got to start somewhere, in which this guide lends you a hand. Read on and find out everything you need to know about surf lessons in Pensacola Beach. You can skip to Pensacola Surf Lessons Directory if you can’t wait to start your surf lessons in Pensacola.
Table of Contents
What is Surfing
Surfing is the sport of riding a wave while standing or lying on a surfboard. The wave rider (better known as the surfer) rides on the forward part of a moving wave, which usually carries them towards the shore. When we talk about surfing, we usually refer to a surfer riding a wave standing on a surfboard, which is called stand-up surfing. Other types of surfing include body boarding, knee boarding, surf matting (riding inflatable mats) and body surfing, where the surfer uses their body (not a board) to surf a wave.
Who Can Go Surfing in Pensacola
In general, to take surf lessons in Pensacola, you must be at least 6 years old and a strong swimmer. You can learn how to surf at any age (if you can swim and are in a good shape), however, the younger you start, the easier it is. It is common for kids between ages of 8 and 14 to learn surfing but being middle-aged is not an excuse for not getting started. Although it is harder for them, even seniors can learn how to surf. You just have to be patient, keep practicing, and use a board that will maximize your ability.
Why Should I go Surfing
- Surfing is great exercise for both body and mind
Surfing is an active sport and requires a fair amount of stamina as it uses nearly every part of the body. You will need all your muscles to work for you, even the ones you never knew you had! Surfing provides muscle toning and strength, and is also an aerobic activity, causing the heart and lungs to work harder as well. On top of that, it’s one of the activities that doesn’t feel like exercise. Surfing not only trains the body but the mind as well! Intensive concentration and being alone with the ocean feels like meditation and therapy.
- Surfing is a whole lot of fun
Surfing is so much fun! This is one of the main reasons you probably won’t realize you’re exercising. Learning to surf can be frustrating at times, but those moments are overshadowed by the miraculous feeling of catching and riding a great wave and starting to see results of your persistent work.
- Surfing strengthens connections
Taking surf lessons in Pensacola is an enjoyable way to spend time with your loved ones and friends. It is a good pastime in itself as well, however, if combine it with fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing or biking, you’ll get the perfect active vacation! Check out our other guides to find out everything you need for a perfect vacation in Pensacola!
- Surfing is environmentally friendly
Surfing is a silent or low-impact activity, meaning it doesn’t cause any noise – except for the surfers themselves yelling 🙂 – and unnecessary harm for the environment. It doesn’t require gas, electricity or a special infrastructure – it’s just you, your gear, and the ocean. Once you have your gear and board, no more harm is done. You will also start to feel your connection with Mother Nature and pay attention to things you haven’t before. As the ocean becomes more and more important to you, you will make efforts to protect it. Thanks to this, you will likely become more environment friendly.
How to Surf
Before starting out, it is strongly recommended to contact a professional to help you (you can find one under Pensacola Surf Lessons Directory). In order to stay safe and master the proper technique, you will have to take surf lessons in Pensacola Beach. You will not only learn about surfing but much more, including winds, waves, and the ocean itself.
Surfing in 7 easy steps
I know you are eager to start your surf lessons in Pensacola, so let me show you how to surf.
Step 1: At home or on the beach, practice popping up. The surfing popup is an explosive push-up. This is how you get to your feet on a surfboard. Make sure to practice several popups on dry land every day. This will build up strength and give you some muscle memory, resulting in easier popups while surfing.
Step 2: Paddle out to the lineup and be respectful of locals.
Step 3: When you see a wave you would like to catch, turn around. Face the nose of your board towards the shore, then lay down and begin paddling. Pay attention to the nose of your board – it should not be underwater or too high in the air – it should just graze the surface. You’ll slowly get some momentum by the wave. It’s important to conserve energy for getting in position, and lining up the wave. This will require about 30 to 50 percent of your paddle power. When the wave rolls under you, starts to draw on your tail and lift the back of your board, kick it up to 80 percent. Then save the last few strokes for 100 percent effort.
Step 4: After a few strokes, look back over your shoulder but continue paddling forward. This will help you gauge where the wave is. The most important part is to be in the right position, not too far in front of the wave and not too far outside either. Don’t worry, this comes with practice and experience. Looking back also ensures the tail of your board is perpendicular to the wave as you paddle towards the shore.
Step 5: Look forward, and use your peripherals to sense where the wave is. When you feel a burst of speed and momentum, you know it’s time to stand up.
Step 6: Make sure to hop up in one motion (like you practiced it at home or on the beach) as hesitation creates instability. Always keep your eyes up and forward. Never look down at your feet, at the nose of your board, or back at the wave.
Step 7: Keep your knees bent, with slightly more weight on your back foot. Hold your arms out to your sides to balance.
Now look at yourself! You’re SURFING! I told you it’s not that hard, didn’t I?
How do surf lessons in Pensacola go?
Most surf lessons begin with instruction and a safety briefing on land. After that the instructors help students into waves on longboards or softboards. The softboard is considered the ideal surfboard for learning as it is safer, and has more paddling speed and stability than shorter boards. Funboards are also a good alternative for beginners as they combine the volume and stability of the longboard with the size of a smaller surfboard. Surf lessons are best performed one-on-one, but small groups can work as well. The ideal conditions for learning are small waves that crumble and break softly. When available, a sandy seabed is generally safer.
What Equipment Will I Need to Surf?
In short: a board, a swimsuit, a rash guard or a wetsuit, a leash and wax.
When choosing a board, you have various options: surfboards, longboards, stand up paddle boards (SUPs), kneeboards, bodyboards, skimboards, wave skis, surf mats and macca’s trays.
You will of course need your swimsuits.
For women, this comfortable and sexy swimsuit can be a perfect match:
For men, we suggest these plain and cool looking swim trunks:
Depending on the climate, you can either put rash guards or wetsuits on top of those. This will protect you from sunburn while wetsuits keep you warm in colder waters.
Rash guards For men
Rash guards For women
Wetsuits for men
You will also need a leash that’s the length of your board. This keeps your board from drifting, providing maximum safety for you and your fellow surfers as well. Put it on the back ankle of your riding stance and you are good to go.
You can find our recommendation here:
Finally, you will need to cover your board with wax. The wax keeps you from slipping.
Best Places to go Surfing in Pensacola
Putting the city of Pensacola on the map of surfers is the credit of surf legend Yancy Spencer III. Spencer won the first professional surf competition on the East Coast and was known as “the father of Gulf Coast surfing”. Unfortunately, he died of heart attack at the age of 61 while surfing. It was a tragic loss, however, at least, he did what he loved most when his life came to an end. The city of Pensacola erected a statue in his honor on Pensacola Beach. The best places you can go surfing in Pensacola are the Wall and the Pier.
10 Tips for Beginner Surfers
- Have lessons and learn from a professional.
- Do not go surfing if you can’t swim.
- Always let somebody on land know when you go surfing.
- Check the weather and tides.
- Learn to observe the ocean so you can identify threats.
- Always make sure your equipment is in good order.
- Wear a bright-colored wetsuit or have a bright-colored surfboard.
- When you fall off your board, always protect your head with your arms.
- Always be aware of other surfers around and stay with your board.
- If you see a surfer in difficulty in the water, help them.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT SURFBOARD?
There are typically four common types of surfboards: shortboard, fish board, evaluation board and longboard. All four types are suitable for beginners, but the size is what matters, so be sure to get a board that is meant for your height and weight. NOTE: You may ask for advice of your surf lesson provider when choosing a board.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT WET SUIT FOR SURFING?
Every kind of wet suit acts the same way, so all you need to worry about is the size of your suit. You’ll know your suit fits properly if you can move freely in it and it won’t feel baggy around your stomach, legs, hips, and thighs.
WHAT ARE SOME BASIC SURFING RULES?
You’ll need to avoid the following while surfing: snaking, which is repeatedly circling another surfer to catch their wave, and hogging, which is taking all the good waves. You got to respect the locals as well. Watch and learn from them, they know more about the place and can help you get started.
IS SURFING SAFE?
Surfing is a safe sport as long as you are careful, so you shouldn’t worry too much. Though, there are threats you should pay attention to: marine life (snakes, stingrays, seals, not to mention sharks), drowning, huge waves, other surfers and seabed.
HOW MUCH DO SURF LESSONS IN PENSACOLA COST?
Private lessons start from $50/hour. Semi private and group lessons are in the range of $35-45/hour.
Pensacola Surf Lessons Directory