It?s perfectly acceptable and, actually, highly recommended to take a surfing lesson when you?re just picking up the sport. You might think surfing is logical and that you will have the natural ability to pick it up right away, but the reality is that surfing is a very awkward sport when you first start out and there are tons of little tips that you can acquire only from a surf instructing professional.
Surf lessons can be private or in groups and last for about an hour. You will likely ride on a completely foam board that is nearly 10 feet long and very lightweight, which catches waves easily and gives you a lot of float. Most surf schools guarantee that you will stand up on a wave. If you don?t, you can usually come back for another lesson for free until you do. It might appear unnecessary and dorky, but a beginning surf lesson will likely accelerate your surfing ability more than the trial and error of learning on your own. If you go it alone, your learning curve will likely be slower, more painful, and in some cases more dangerous.
Another thing you must keep in mind is that friends who surf are not the same as surf instructors. Some of your friends may have been surfing for years, but if you ask them to go surfing with you to help you learn, they could well be worse than your least favorite middle school teacher. You and your experienced surfing friends might paddle out together, but your friends might leave you treading water at the lineup while they?re catching all the waves.
That?s why you are much better off shelling out the $50 or so for a first lesson. Surf instructors get paid to answer questions and push you into a wave. Their main goal is for you to have a good time while riding your first wave. To take full advantage of the time you have with your instructor, it is advisable to prepare a list of questions you can ask. There?s no limit to the silly or stupid questions you can ask a surf instructor, so fire away.
Surf instructors take their students to beginner surf breaks that are usually a bit crowded. This will be a most humbling experience, but you will be among others who are in the same boat as you. One thing is for certain: Wherever it is you go with your instructor, he or she won?t paddle you out to a break that you can?t handle, so you know you will be safe and taken care of. For this reason, surf lessons ensure that you will paddle back out another day wanting more. Goodness knows you don?t want to be in over your head or get injured and be too scared to try the sport again. So start off on the right foot by taking one surf lesson. Once you get that initial lesson out of the way, you?ll feel far more confident going it alone thereafter.