Blogging

Tips for Surfing Reef Breaks

Posted by Norman Kelly on

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.

Blogging

Reef Surf School

Posted by Norman Kelly on

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.