It is a legendary sport for all ages. But, just how do you break into surfing? A little hesitant to try?
With December approaching and bringing the surfing season to Bocas del Toro, this is for those who want to learn to surf in the Caribbean this winter. You can be a beginner surfer without standing out for the wrong reasons.
7 things to keep a beginner surfer from looking like a “greenie”
More than a dozen waves in Bocas del Toro, Panama challenge surfers of all levels
1. Apprenticeship Taking a lesson isn’t the same as the mentality of openly investing in the sport as an apprentice with a trustworthy, experienced tutor. They will teach you that this sport is as much about culture as it is about technique, and will hopefully keep you just as much from getting in a fight with other surfers as from getting held in a riptide.
2. Rashguard Don’t dress for the pool or a regular beach day. Men and women wear rash guards with their swimsuits to protect their skin from rubbing on the board. Sun protection is a secondary bonus.
3. Study This is homework you do from the beach. Study the waves before you put your toes in. Watch for patterns, get to know the wave tendencies and plan your route.
4. Respect Respect the locals, respect your realistic ability, and respect the right-of-way to the first person on the wave. If you have a mentor, show respect for them too.
5. Location Call it a “spot.” Prepare with updated surf reports and your mentor, or advice from a local board shop, to find the right current and weather for your experience. You’ll have more success, and fun, with beginner-friendly waves, a beach break, and a lot of space to yourself.
6. Endurance Surfing requires a lot of shoulder and arm strength, core strength and balance, plus the mental stamina to miss the wave or tumble and then paddle back out. Have patient endurance learning to catch a wave before pushing out too far. It’s easier to do this at a secluded beginner spot than getting in the way of other surfers already cruising the wave.
With the right waves and coach, you can learn how to surf in Panama
7. Vocab You probably understand a barrel or tube when it comes to describing a wave, but could you identify a cutback move or a duck dive? While you could ask the locals to explain every other sentence, this is another reason to go with a knowledgeable surfer the first few times you hit the waves.
Enjoy the day, the water, and the company, regardless of how you are able to ride. Everyone can have a good time and promote positive vibes on the water.
And for the rest of you who have to look out for the beginners on the water, any other tips that should be on this list? What do you recommend for the folks learning to surf?
Red Frog Beach Resort has surfing lessons and excursions available with experienced guides. Access more than a dozen waves in breathtaking, untouched areas of the Caribbean in Bocas del Toro.