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How to Choose a Beginner Surf Spot

Learning how to stand up on a surfboard is hard enough – make it easier on yourself by choosing the right type of beach for your neophyte needs.


  • Step 1: Find a beach break Look for a beach break, or a wave that breaks over a sandy bottom, as opposed to one that breaks over a reef or a rock bottom. Sharp reefs and rock bottoms pose serious risks to beginners. A beach break generally has gentler waves, more room, and fewer hazards.
  • Step 2: Look for mushy waves Look for "mushy" waves, waves that roll slowly toward the beach with lots of white water. Finding an open area of space at the beach where you can ride the white water will help you improve quickly.
  • Step 3: Talk to the lifeguards Talk to the local lifeguards at your beach and ask them where it's safe for you to surf. Many beaches have designated surfing areas that you must stay in. Also ask about hazards in the water, such as rocks, rip currents, and dangerous sea life.
  • TIP: Talking to people at local surf shops can be a good way to learn about spots that are best for beginners.
  • Step 4: Stay away from experienced surfers Steer clear of experienced locals as a beginner. Walking down the beach a few hundred yards away from the main peak will give you more space to learn and reduce the chance of a collision on the water.
  • FACT: In 2007, professional surfer Mike Parsons rode a wave over 70 feet tall that broke more than 100 miles off the coast of California.

You Will Need

  • A beach break
  • A surf shop (optional)

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