I’m biassed obviously, but surfing has got to be THE healthiest sport for kids on the planet.
Fresh air, full body exercise, connection with nature, vitamin D exposure, natural stress reliever…
The list goes on.
But kids don’t care about any of that stuff, they just want to rip and show off to their friends, right?
So in this post I’m going to reveal just that.
Quick word of warning though, the fastest route to progression is not always the route you think.
Trial and error, nurture and challenge.
Read on for more...
TIP 1. FOAMIE VS FIBERGLASS - AND WHEN TO STEP UP?
One of the first things a kid wants to do when learning to surf is upgrade to a fibreglass surfboard.
But when is the right time?
Lets have a little look:
RIDE A FOAMIE IF:
RIDE A FIBERGLASS IF:
Use the above as a guide only, as all kids are different and there’s no hard and fast rules.
Do bear this in mind however, if you’re in the water and you're not catching any waves (and not enjoying yourself as a result) you’re going to progress far slower, and you’re likely to give up the sport entirely.
TIP 2. DON’T RUN BEFORE YOU CAN WALK
Tubes, Tailslides & Airs…
These are the surfing tricks all kids want to learn.
But, if you want to improve the fastest you’ve got to master the basics first before focusing on these advanced manoeuvres.
That means getting the basics right like:
Get these things mastered first - surfing with speed, power, and flow - then go nuts on the flashy tricks.
Your surfing will thank me in the long run I promise.
TIP 3. LEARN FROM THOSE AROUND YOU
Every time you’re in the lineup you can learn from those around you, and it’s not just the obvious stuff either.
Things to look out for:
TIP 4. WARMTH TRUMPS ALL
Do you want to know the number one thing that holds back a kids surfing progression?
Yup, above all else this is the one thing that will turn a kid off surfing the most.
The remedy for this is to invest in a quality wetsuit (and don’t be shy on the thickness either).
A warm kid will surf for hours on end, and love every minute of it. A cold kid will catch two waves and give up.
Warmth trumps all.
TIP 5. SURF BECAUSE YOU LOVE IT, AND THE REST WILL FOLLOW
Wanna know the best way to get better at surfing?
Fall in love with it, that’s how.
And for kids this can be a delicate balance.
Push them too hard and they’ll freak out and want to give up. Apply no pressure and they might never give it a go at all.
For kids, surfing can be a scary prospect at first so let them take things at their own pace, don’t push them too much, and make things fun at all times.
And once they’re hooked, they’ll love it for life.
TIP 6. RULES ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN (BUT NOT THESE ONES...)
For longevity in the sport, kids (and all surfers for that matter) must understand and respect the rules of the lineup, and surf etiquette too.
Well, for starters the rules are there for a reason, to maintain safety and order in the lineup, and adhering to these rules will help to garner respect from the other surfers in the water too.
Get respect from the locals and the other surfers around you, and you’ll get more waves as a result.
TIP 7. DANGERS LIE WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECT IT
The ocean is an unpredictable beast, and safety is paramount at all times.
The obvious things are easy to control: Be careful of rips, don’t surf around rocks, surf within your limits, and all of that good stuff.
The not so obvious, but arguably most dangerous thing in the water (no it’s not sharks) are other surfers, and especially your mates.
So here are a few guiding principles to keep you safe surfing with friends:
Some of the above may sound a little extreme, but that's for good reason.
Staying safe in the water is vital, and the only way to truly stay safe is to take full responsibility of your own safety.
Look after number one, and the rest will be sweet 👊
TIP 8. GET CONSUMED
The best way to improve as a kid?
Live and breath it, and most importantly spend a tonne of time in the water.
There's no substitute for time in the water!
TIP 9. DON'T BE PICKY
Onshore, offshore, cross-shore, windy, high/low tide, rainy, sunny, cloudy, good, bad...
Whatever the surf looks like, just get in there.
Every opportunity you get to surf is a chance to improve, and oftentimes the more junky the conditions the more learning that takes place.
So don't be picky, get in there whatever the conditions.
If you’re a kid and you’ve started surfing before the age of around 12 - you are going to rip.
You might not feel like it right now, but trust me, these formative early years will result in you surfing to a very high level when you’re older.
If you follow along with these surfing tips for kids you’ll be shredding in no time.