As we’ve mentioned, reef surfing is not a beginner’s sport. Before attempting these rides, you should have extensive experience with “regular” surfing. However, even those with this experience can find it difficult to break into this niche surfing style. If you’re planning to surf over the reef for the first time, you’ll likely feel a mixture of nerves and excitement. Here are a few tips for surfing when on a reef break.
Don’t drop in on anyone. Dropping in on its own is dangerous around reefs, but dropping in on a fellow surfer can result in serious injury. Simply wait your turn and go for the next wave. Similarly, if you see someone else on a wave, pull off as soon as you notice.
Surf with someone who knows the wave. It’s always good to surf with someone who knows the lineup. Look for locals who can tell you the best places to paddle in and out. This can also be very comforting when out in the surf, as it’s bound to get a bit rocky—no pun intended.
Try reef boots. If you plan to surf the reef frequently, it may make sense to invest in a pair of reef boots. These are specially designed for warm water and reef breaks. Even if you don’t wear them, it can be a good idea to have them on-hand, just in case.
Buy some extra lycra. Even if it’s warm outside, a mini surf suit or rash top will protect you from some falls.
Fall as flat as possible. If you lose your balance, try your best to fall like a starfish. Spread your weight as you call and try to stay as flat as possible. When you’re ready to come up, gradually move your hands and feet to feel where you are and swim to the top.
Never fall feet-first. Avoid going feet-first and simply jumping off your board if you need to bail. Similarly, don’t kick around too much; if the reef is directly below, you’re likely to sustain some seriously painful cuts.