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Beginners Surf Guide

Have you always wanted to surf but don't know where to start? This beginners guide will help you take the right first steps.

private and group surf lessons in Malibu with Malibu surfing school. Learn how to surf in malibu with a private instructor


During October-April, it is best to wear a 4/3 mm thickness suit in the ocean. In the summertime, from May-September, you will need a 3/2 mm wetsuit. The first number is the neoprene thickness in the body and the second number is the thickness in the arms. You will also need a foam surfboard. For persons under 135lbs, 8ft is best. All persons over that should have a 9-10 ft board. The board comes with a cord that connects from the back of the board to your ankle known as a leash.


Next we teach paddling and positioning techniques. We practice by laying down on your board in the sand. It is best to visualize being in the water to prep you before actually entering the ocean. To be positioned correctly, you should have your toes touching the back edge, or tail, of the surfboard. This is to prevent the front tip, or nose, of the surfboard from nose diving when catching a wave. From the laying down position you will practice paddling. Pretend we are paddling out past the break away from the shore and a wave is approaching you. Paddle forward at the oncoming wave and the seconds before it crashes, begin to place your hands flat by your chest, push up and arch your spine like a half push up. This allows you to effectively push through the wave. Either you paddle fully past where the waves break and sit on your board or remain on your stomach and turn around to face the shore where the big and small waves break and turn into white water. Our instructors then help you catch your first wave.


It is important to know which foot you put forward on your board when you’re riding a wave. The dominant leg is positioned towards the back of the board similar to how you would stand on a skateboard or snowboard. Mastering a good pop up comes from the springing action of your body, where you jump your feet into place. This is simply a modified burpee where you rotate 90 degrees. If this is difficult, you can try getting to your knees first and then to a standing position. Our instructors first teach this on the sand before trying it in the water. They give you pointers and make small adjustments to help you perfect your form. Pop ups are to be practiced several times in order to build a connection with the board.