What To Expect At Your First Surf Lesson

A surf lesson is the easiest way to get started in the sport, but many new surfers are unsure of what happens in a lesson. If you're signed up for one, here's what to expect at your first surfing lesson.

Safety Lesson on Shore

Before getting started with the surfboard, your instructor will first greet you and go over some safety basics. First-time surf lessons don't venture too far from shore, and your instructor will always be nearby. You won't be at any significant risk. Safety should always be first when you're on the water doing anything, though.

Learn Foot Positioning

After some safety items, expect to spend some time onshore practicing your stance. How you position your body, and especially your feet, will determine whether you stay up once actually surfing. Your instructor will show you the proper stance where it's easier to do so—on sand.

Paddle Out to a Buoy

When the lesson progresses to the water, you'll be responsible for paddling your own board. Most classes set up a buoy a little way offshore, so you know approximately how far out to paddle. Paddling will take some time, but your instructor will show you an efficient way to move the board.

Once you're out at the marker, your instructor will guide you through choosing a wave and standing up. You'll have to continue paddling lightly during this time so your board remains properly positioned.

Stand Up 

When the right wave comes, attempt to stand up and surf. You may only get up on your knees at first, but many people are able to stand relatively quickly because beginner surfboards are quite stable. Your instructor will continue to coach you throughout this period.

After you're standing, the board will surf along your chosen wave. Don't worry about steering on the first try. The wave will take you in toward shore, so long as you're able to maintain your balance.

Surf Again

After your first successful attempt, you'll continue to paddle out toward the marker and surf waves for the duration of your lesson. You may choose to rent a surfboard after your lesson so you can practice what you learned from the instructor.


Expect your muscles to be sore the day after your lesson. Most people aren't used to the paddling motion or balancing that surfing requires, and muscles get a workout during the activity. Give your body a day to recover before taking another lesson.

For more information, contact a company that offers surfing lessons.