Reef surfing isn’t like, beach or point break surfing, the other two major types of surfing. With a reef, rocks and coral and other reef elements dictate the breaking waves, creating more predictable surf but also creating landmine-like penalties when you wipe out. Reef breaks also tend to produce steeper, more powerful waves.
Despite the more predictable surf, reef surfing is not for beginners. The seemingly predictable waves breed overconfidence. And more predictable isn’t the same thing as predictable. The tide and swell direction will still influence reef surf, and if you’re surfing when this changeover occurs, you’ll instantly be reminded that the ocean is an inherently unpredictable phenomenon.
Naturally, there are always a couple buffoons out there who will try reef surfing, the first time out or just too soon. This never turns out well, even when the person is able to avoid major injury. It’s true that even conscientious surfers trying to take their passion to the next level can get seriously hurt. It’s also true that skilled, experienced surfers who were taking nothing more than a calculated risk can end up getting badly injured.
Now, this is a general characterization of reef surfing. Certain reef surf spots are famous as being “good for beginners,” and this is definitely an advantage for those with local access or the means and opportunity to travel. Visiting this small handful of spots around the globe isn’t the only way to do it. Even then, you still have to make the transition to other kinds of reef surfing.
The Reef Surf School is dedicated to that next level of surfing education and lessons. We’re not elitists or anything like that. In fact, we’ll gladly help beginners find surfing lessons and instructors. Rather, it’s just that our primary focus is on reef surfing and exploring better learning strategies to introduce intermediate and experienced surfer to this type of surf.