Kitesurfing vs surfing: which is better? (Part 2)

How hard is it to learn to surf?

Surfing does not seem difficult to learn, just grab a foam surfboard and get into the water catching waves close to the sand, paddle a bit and push on your hands to balance.  All you need to get started is a few tips, practice push-ups and squash on the beach, start by building stronger knees, then find your balance and ride.

Standing up on your board in small waves water is relatively easy if you’re physically fit.  But learning to surf, however, is another story. Here are some of the techniques you have to master:

Paddling to build up muscles groups with endurance and efficiency
Duck and dive to get under the breaking waves technically 

Position yourself and the board in the right place when a wave comes
Paddle correctly into the wave 

Stand and balance on your board as it is about to drop
Immediately direct your board into an appropriate trajectory
Maintain speed to avoid being stuck in the whitewater
Ride around breaking waves and other surfers
Snap/cut back into the power zone to maintain momentum on waves

A lot of these techniques can only be mastered with time and practice.  Obviously you can take lessons – more and more people learn to surf nowadays – but surfing is all about reflection and building muscle memory.  The advice you’ll get on lessons will mostly help you avoid common mistakes.

Most surfing beginners will have to actively practice and get started in waves for dozens of hours before being able to master the techniques and they will soon find themselves riding down a green right or left-hander wave.  Learning to surf is fun, but the truth is it’s a long and tedious process; so be patient.
Another thing to remember is that surfing will make you exhaust and sore all your muscles groups you never knew you had – including shoulders, back, and neck.