Just thinking about big waves and the fact that I don’t know how to swim (much more to float) are enough reasons to freak me out.
But what about posing with the surf board and enjoying the sea? With these in mind, I had second thoughts. I want to try surfing, and have pictures and take pictures 🙂
And out of the blue, we got a message from one of the traveller friend, Weddy, whom we met (and had fun with) when we went to Mt. Pinatubo last year. This woman really travels a lot. That time, she was looking for people to complete her group going to Baler Surfing Trip. And, thinking about the pictures I could have, we said yes!
We registered to the packaged tour of GAFA – Surf Plus Baler. This is the second of GAFA’s tour that we joined, and it was always safe (first in my list), fun, and with picture-worth memories. Thanks GAFA! For more info, contact GAFA.
Here are some tips for awkward, nervous, but nonetheless excited first-timers like me.
- If went there by yourself and via travel agency, the normal cost of surfing beginner lessons is Php300.00 for an hour, it comes with dedicated instructor who will be with you the whole time, the surf board, and rash guard.
- What to wear: Heeding the advice of my surfer friends, I came prepared with a rash guard and a swimming “leggings” I bought from swimwear brand (since I don’t want to wear shorts). I saw some people in two-piece swimsuit, but better to wear a rash guard if you want to concentrate in your surfing “firsts”. If you don’t have a rash guard, as I mentioned above, the surfing package comes with free use of one, so you don’t need to buy 😉
- Request for a bigger/longer surf board. I found easier to balance in these than the shorter ones.
- Listen to the briefing at the start (before hitting the water). I noticed that most people do their own stuff (posing, taking pictures, joking around, etc) and miss out the good tips and the BASICS from their instructors.
- Practice the moves (especially the recommended way of getting up in the surf board) before hitting the water. I know how exciting (and nervous) it is before the actual surfing, but it helped me that I really practiced the basics first.
- Ask questions to the instructor, as it will help you relax that you know what to do.
- Communicate your concerns or special requests to the instructor. In my case, I don’t know how to swim. And so he promised to give me small waves, and not to bring me in deep waters.
- And when you’re ready, have your “before-surfing” picture with your surfboard, and hit the water!
- On your first encounter with the waves, keep calm. For some beginner lessons (like we the one we took), you don’t have to do paddling on your own to get far off to the waves. The instructor will just ask you to ride the surfboard, and he will push you.
- He will also select the good waves for you. So you don’t have to think about that on your first time.
If there’s one thing to learn in surfing, it is to TRUST: in myself and in my instructor. As for me, it took a while before I let go of my fear of falling into the water. But thinking about it now, it was really funny, the water was just only waist-deep, why was I so scared? But when I started to trust myself (and my instructor), I stood, I surfed, and fell. And again and again. It was a high!
- Understand that your instructor knows what he is doing. When he says to go up, go up! Don’t think too much, just do it!
- Ask someone to take a video while you do it again. It will be inspiring to watch it in the future that you were able to do it, right? 🙂
- Thank your instructor. Aside from yourself, he deserves the credit.
- Don’t be too over excited in sharing your pictures, like I did. I ended up deleting all the pictures (and video!) and have to endure the agony of figuring out how to recover it. Yaiks!
And so there you go. I just wrote here how anyone physically able / fit can try surfing, so if you’re still deciding, or doubting if you can, there’s one thing left for you to do—just do it.
I promise the first-time high is worth it.