How to Teach Kids to Surf
The Scoop on How to Teach Kids to Surf
Surfing can be lots of fun for children and is a great way to keep them active — if it remains safe and enjoyable. Endurance, confidence and agility are all required to master the art of surfing, so teaching kids to surf can be tricky.
Fortunately, youngsters tend to be fearless when faced with a physical challenge. While this fearlessness must be managed, it can be harnessed to make the teaching process fun and effective. How to teach kids to surf involves a few crucial stages:
Get Them Interested
When children are genuinely engaged and excited, they are far more likely to take on a challenge with maximum effort and zeal. Take your surfer-to-be to the shore, and spend a few minutes watching accomplished surfers on the wave. It’s also a good idea to introduce the youngster to a surfboard at this stage — on dry land.
Introduce Them in Warm Water
If your learner has never been in the ocean, these first introductions to surfing might be a little intimidating. Help the youngster to overcome fear by gradually moving into shallow water. Encourage the child to submerge his or her head in the ocean to build up confidence. Wherever possible, choose warm water for these first lessons, as cold water can be energy-sapping. Consider a kid’s wetsuit for extra warmth and protection.
Practice on Land
When you first introduce the child to basic maneuvers, do so on land. Demonstrate how to hold on to the board, and how to rise to a standing position. Ask him or her to copy what you’ve just done, and give both constructive and positive feedback in an encouraging way. Talk in simple terms about positioning and balance, keeping the lessons as fun as possible.
Play it Safe
Once the child can perform the basic surfing maneuvers, it’s time to get in the water. Don’t forget that this might be a little scary for him or her, so play it safe at the beginning. Never venture more than a few yards from dry land, and only enter the water if the waves are relatively gentle.
This first foray into the water should be on a child’s board, or even a boogie board. Give the child a gentle push, and provide a little forward power when needed.
Make Failure Part of the Fun
The child you’re teaching will fall off the board, which is an important part of learning to surf. Dealing with failure is good for building confidence, so allow a little freedom to get things wrong. As long as you’re there to step in, failing and trying again can be fun.
With a little planning, patience and practice, your child can be surfing to a reasonable standard in no time.
Got any more tips on how to teach kids to surf? Let us know in the comments!