Tips & Info on surfing - The rules and general common sense... Err...Did we say Common?!
It's always a bad idea to just paddle out into the waves without first getting a good idea of what the conditions are like.
Take some time to watch the waves and stretch. Focus on your neck, shoulders, triceps, back, and legs. Swing your arms and get your pulse going. Get into a calm state of mind.
Watch the waves for at least twice as many minutes as the waves are high on the face in feet. On a waist high day, that means watching for about 5 or 6 minutes. On a double-overhead day, that means watching for about 20 minutes. Get a feel for where everyone is sitting in the water, where the waves are breaking, and where they're not breaking. Look for rip currents and rocks and hazards. Watch a few larger set waves roll through. Think about where you can paddle out into the surf, and where you can swim in if you get into trouble.
When getting into the water, walk out through the waves crumbling into the shoreline as far as possible.
Your paddle stroke should be essentially like a crawl swimming stroke. Center yourself on the board, keep your legs straight behind you, with the board nose level with the water surface.
Get a feel for paddling around on the surfboard and the balance of it.
Your First Waves
By now you have found a good place to surf and have gotten used to paddling around on the board without falling off.
Grab your board, and head out into the water until it's up to your chest or so. Hopefully you'll still be where the whitewater is rolling in and not outside the breaker line.
Let some whitewater roll by, getting a feel for the rhythm of the waves.
Wait for what looks like a pretty solid chunk of whitewater, and turn around, facing the shoreline. Get on your board and start to paddle in.
When the whitewater reaches you, it will surge you forward. Stay in control of the board!
As you feel yourself surge forward, stop paddling and grab the rails of the surfboard with your hands.
Do a push-up and quickly 'pop' your feet underneath you. Do not kneel; go straight to your feet. Both feet need to be under you at the same time, one in front of the other, with the toes pointing perpendicular to the centerline of the board.
At about this point you'll need to know whether you want to be a regular-foot or a goofyfoot.
Immediately afterwards, let go of the rails and stand in a stable crouch.
It's right about at this point that you will begin to fall. Try not to land on anyone and anything, particularly your board. Fall shallow so you don't hit the bottom.
Hey, you're surfing! Smile, and go do it again.
Naturally, most surfers do not surf in the whitewater. They like to turn and do maneuvers on the open face. You'll get out there too, once you can stand up in the whitewater reliably. This helps you practice standing up on a fast-moving surfboard without having to worry about where the wave is breaking, other surfers, pearling, going over the falls, or any other hazards. It's how I learned!
The Rules of Surfing
Become familiar with these rules of behavior in the lineup before heading outside of the whitewater. These are well- established rules throughout the world and bring order to what would otherwise be a nightmarish and chaotic sport, with everyone running each other over, lots of dinged-up boards, and lots of waves going by unridden because everyone is getting thrashed in the soup.
The person up and riding first that is closest to the breaking part of the wave has the right of way. You may hear people declaring their right to a wave by whistling, or shouting "Hey," "I got it," "Coming down," or somesuch.
Do not drop in on someone who is already riding a wave. "Dropping in" is taking off on a wave in front of someone who is already riding it, i.e., someone who has the right of way.
When paddling back out over or through a wave that someone else is riding, move to go behind them. This allows them to continue riding the wave without having to dodge you, and means that you will be smashed by the whitewater. That's okay though, because when they do the same for you, you'll be grateful.
Above all, keep a good attitude. Apologize if you make a mistake. If involve in or near a collision, stop what you're doing to make sure that everyone is okay.
Surfing Real Waves
Now that you've mastered the whitewater foamies and are well-versed in the rules of surfing, you're ready to catch some real waves.
The idea is similar to catching the whitewater. Start paddling early as the wave approaches. You should be reaching full speed as the wave comes underneath you and lifts you up. The time to stand is when the board starts to plane on the surface of the water.
Practice, watch others and ask for advice.