As a team of surf lovers and ocean fanatics – we are passionate about getting people into the water and learning to surf! We ensure that all our surf students feel safe and comfortable on a surfboard and provide the opportunity to gain surfing confidence through specific training and guidance with our experienced surf instructors.
Check out our guides here. We have all been surfing Irish and international waters for for more than two decades, and our love for the sport continues to grow!
We hear time and time again from people who want to learn how to surf but do not know where to start, and are afraid that they won’t be any good and are intimidated by the water. We completely understand and – believe us – we have all been there!
Honestly, there is nothing quite like the feeling of riding your first wave! That’s a feeling that does not diminish as the years go by, we still get the goosebumps and euphoria after more than twenty years of riding Irish waves and surfing all over the world.We love it. We want you to love it. We want to give everyone the chance to experience it for themselves.
Here are some of our top tips if you are hoping to give surfing a try this year:
1.Learn with a surf teacher or experienced friend
A good instructor will teach you the basic techniques to start with and the best practices to stay safe in the water and avoid injuries. They will also bring you to the best locations for learning.
As you progress you can learn how to read the tides, understand the weather and swell forecasts and select surf spots suitable to your level. Other key tips to learn are the best way to position yourself on your board and to respect your fellow surfers and learn the wave etiquette (for example: don’t drop in on those already surfing, paddling surfers yield to those on the wave, those closest to the wave peak have right of way).
Thankfully, we have so many experienced surfers and surf schools in Ireland. Taking a lesson, or a few lessons, is a good place to start. If you want to learn to surf with us on the west coast (Galway’s only surf school) come take a look here.
Before investing in surf gear, lessons with a knowledgeable teacher will be valuable to get advice on what is the best gear to start with. You can test out the feel of a surfboard, ask questions, find out the best board for beginners (usually a longer, wider board) and get a feel for the sport. We have all the gear you need and that will be included in your surf lesson.
2. Be prepared to wipe out (fall off) when learning to surf!
Falling off your board or wiping out is a big part of surfing, it is all part of the fun (but we promise you, it is also great craic and so empowering!).
3. Supplement your surf practice
The best way to progress with surfing is to surf as much as you can. This isn’t always possible and the following are some our go-to ways to supplement our surf skill progression.
- Work-out; Running, cycling, weight-training, yoga and swimming – these are all great ways to supplement your road to success as a surfer. Riding waves is a work-out and there is no better way than to tackle it head on and be as fit as can be.
- Get those legs strong – you will be using them a lot as you aim for bent knees to keep you balanced when standing on the board. You will be using your arms to swim (and move your surfboard) beyond the waves to be able to catch them before they break, and of course a good strong core is key for balance and a good way to avoid lower back pain!
- Watch surf movies and videos. There may be a certain level of surfing many of us will not reach in our lifetime, but it is really inspiring and motivational to watch others showing the beauty of this sport– and who knows, maybe we will be riding Aileens by the end of the year!
Video credit: Onit Media
There are hundreds of incredible surf documentaries (from Ireland and worldwide) that are the perfect way to wind down after a day at the beach and to remind ourselves why we took on this hobby.
Or better yet, go to a popular surf spot and bring a flask of hot tea. warm clothes and see can you notice any techniques that the surfers use.
- Take swimming lessons. It is quite common for people to never have had any formal swimming lessons. Taking some lessons with a qualified instructor can be a good way to increase swimming strength and confidence and this will translate well into your surfing journey.
*Visit Water Safety Ireland for more tips on how to stay safe in Irish waters.
4.Have fun and be patient
Surfing is one of the most rewarding sports to learn – the road of learning to surf may be a bit longer than others, but we assure you it is worth every step.
Remember, be patient and know that it may not seem like you are improving sometimes – but you are. Surfing is as much physical as it is mental, so having a relaxed and lighthearted attitude is always going to help.
Catching waves and spending time out in nature is an incredible feeling but meeting and being part of the surfing community here in Ireland is a huge draw for us too.
5.Don’t bite of more than you can chew.
The ocean can provide you with so many great experiences but also has inherent risks and shouldn’t be taken for granted – especially when you are a beginner learning to surf!
- Never surf alone
- Know your limits
- Don’t surf when it’s getting dark
- If you’re going to a new spot, do your research. Either ask a local or look it up for yourself regarding currents and tides
Sandy beaches with manageable sized waves are the ideal spot for learning and also the safest. Even better if there are lifeguards on duty.
We are so lucky to have some world class waves and surfers in Ireland – we hope you feel inspired to give it a try, learning to surf is a whole lot of fun! We are all passionate (maybe obsessed) with surfing and its power to make you feel great – physically and mentally. We believe that surfing should be accessible for all and you don’t have to have grown up next to the ocean to be able to enjoy and learn to ride the waves!
Get in touch if you have any questions or would like to know more about our surf lessons!