Featured writer: Darren Carter
Exerting all of your energy while trying to paddle out, falling off of the board, and enduring the constant crash of waves on top of you may not sound like a great day, but the exhilarating feeling of catching your first wave and learning a new sport is California’s most awesome adventure. It wouldn’t be a proper visit to California without surfing. When I heard that my brother, Kevin, was going to visit, I knew the number one thing on his California Bucket List would be a surf lesson. Banzai Surf School is a family run business and one of the few NSSIA accredited surf schools in Huntington Beach. Open year-round, they provide experienced instructors, surfboards, wetsuits, and all the sand you can eat. Our lesson wasn’t without its falls and frustrations but our determination and drive got us up on the board again and again.
The two hour lesson started with basic instructions and beach practice. We listened attentively and asked a few safety questions before heading out to the waves. Our 10 minute instruction covered the basics including:
- Rule 1: Avoid crowds. The biggest danger in surfing is not the waves, the rocks, the sharks, or the marine life. It’s other surfers. Always try to keep at least 20 feet between you and the next surfer, especially important if they are to the outside (toward the ocean) or directly inside/shoreward of your position, where you may get pushed into them.
- Rule 2: Practice in the whitewater first. One of the hardest parts of surfing will always be the take-off. If you start out by catching the whitewater (after the wave has broken), this eliminates a huge timing issue.
- Rule 3: Paddle the board on its trim spot. That trim spot on bigger boards is generally found by keeping your toes on the tail when you paddle. It’s the balance point where the board moves forward with the least resistance. The same trim rule applies when you’re riding the wave: Keep your weight forward and the boards nose just above the water.
- Rule 4: Stand with your feet on the center line. Keeping both feet, one in front of the other, directly across the center line (or ‘stringer’) fixes a lot of problems. When feet are on either side, the board wobbles, flips, and turns where you don’t want it to.
- Rule 5: Have fun (Okay, Rule 5 is not exactly a rule, but I think it’s just as important.)
at first. We took each wipe out like champs and kept on truckin’.Kevin’s entire body exuded confidence and pride when he stood on the board.