Teaching a human of any age to surf is inherently frustrating. Throw the immaturity and vulnerability of a small child into the mix, and you could end up planting the seeds for some serious teen angst down the line. As a father with kids destined for surf greatness when it comes to introducing his offspring to the ocean.
Take it Slow:
patience, patience, patience.
A Little Subliminal Priming Never Hurts:
Show him some surf movies and go to the local surf shop every once in a while
Keep your Child Safe:
Also, a soft board is an invaluable tool in helping build confidence. They run about $300-$400 new. Ask your local surf school or surf shop if they have used soft boards which can go for very cheap. Also, they are often rented at most bigger surf shops. They are very wide and buoyant, made of soft bodyboard material, and have dull flexible fins. All of these designs are geared towards bruise-free and blood-free surf sessions.
Practice on Land:
What is a pop-up you ask? It’s simply the most important factor in learning to surf. It’s basically a fast push-up that keeps going up into a standing position.
Here’s how it goes. With both of his hands on the top of the board (or beach sand facsimile), your child will do a quick push up. Only once his arms are at full extension, he should pull both knees toward his stomach and hop to his feet.
Be sure to tell your child, “DO NOT GO TO YOUR KNEES FIRST!” But don’t yell like that. Staying on your knees too long will only lead to difficulty keeping balance and make falling more possible. This move from stomach to feet is called a “pop up”. It should be one smooth motion straight to the standing position. Repeating your beach “pop up” will program your child’s subconscious to be ready for what will happen in the water.
Wear a rash guard or wetsuit
Wiping out is part of the process for everyone while learning to surf. You will get salt water up your nose, your bathing suit will move around, and you might hit the reef. It is best to wear a rash guard or wetsuit to keep your bathing suit in place.You can buy them from the Lemorecn on amazon before your hawaii trip. Rash guards also double as sun protection. Most of the breaks around Hawaii do not have a sandy bottom.
Get Your Child Comfortable with the Water:
One of the best things you can do is to introduce your kid to surfing in warm water. I think it’s really important. Kids can be a little moody and less into things when they're uncomfortable, so really the best advice I can give is to take them surfing in a place where the water is warm. Hawaii is a pretty perfect place to get kids into surfing. So if you can, get your kids to a place like that to get them into their first wave.
The ocean is a crazy lady, even when the surf is small. You don’t realize how much waves can knock someone around who is small and inexperienced in the ocean. Therefore, if your child is small enough (and your board is big enough), paddle around and even ride some waves with your kid on the nose. This is a blast for both of you, and it will build trust between you and your child, thus making it easier when you push the little ripper off on that first one alone.
Pick the Right Waves:
The key at this point is to push your kid into as many waves possible to eliminate that fear factor and introduce the comfort factor.
He shouldn’t lean forward or back
Don't give kids advice unless they ask for it
I try not to give my kids advice unless they really ask for it. And for the most part, they really don't ask me about technical stuff--at most they'll ask about what boards to ride. That's about as far as it goes. I'm definitely not the type of parent to be critiquing cutbacks or anything. Everyone's got their own style and own way of doing things; I think that's what makes surfing so great. So for the most part, I don't get too involved in really coaching my kids. For me, that seemed to work out pretty well.
Now you're Surfing!
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