Surfing a new surfspot: how to survive

Essential skills needed to survive surfing a new surfspot

Written by NOMB Surf


Essential skills needed to survive surfing a new surfspot

Here´s the thing. You are a landlocked surfer, dying to hit the waves again. You finally manage to get some time of work, pick your next surfdestination and then.. well.. the big question: surfcamp or no surfcamp?? 


You have already been to a few surfcamps or surfschools, master the surfing basics and actually really want to go out there by yourself. The problem is that until today you have always been following a surfinstructor, or maybe even a more surfexperienced friend. And now, once in a sudden, you find yourself vantripping direction the French Atlantic coast. Finally, there the ocean and it´s full of waves!! Woohoo! You wax your new board, put on your wetsuit, do a little warm-up and hit the waves!

Next thing you know, the ocean (or maybe even a local) has spit you out and you are back on the beach. Frustration level: suuuper high!! Noone likes to get dropped in by a local, not even head surfcoach Angie in a small wave on Lanzarote 😉

Getting dropped in by a local sucks.

So what to do?? How to survive and enjoy a new surfspot?

Here is a quick checklist for you before entering the water by yourself


 1. CHECK THE FORECAST (i.e. Magicseaweed or Windguru) for local conditions and extra spotinfo

2. GOOGLE THE SURFSPOT and pick out every info about needed swell size, swell directions, currents, localism etc


4. MAKE DETAILED NOTES about the beach environment:

  • Ocean floor (sand, rocks, shallow / deep water)
  • Entrance + exit of the surfspot
  • Dangers (rocks / other surfers / other watercrafts etc)
  • Currents and channels (set yourself reference points on shore)
  • Today´s swell size, swell direction, swell period, swell intensity, number of set waves etc
  • Tides and tidal range
  • Wind direction and intensity
  • Peaks (set yourself reference points on shore)
  • Other surfers (surflevel, who catches waves, locals etc)

5. BE REALISTIC! Does your surflevel fit the break and today´s conditions?


As an example check out the detailed map of the surfspot the NOMB Surfteam surfed yesterday on our surfcoaching trip Galician Galaxy. Noone (including head surfcoach Angie) had surfed the spot before. But yeahhh, the whole team caught excellent waves and didn´t get into any trouble with the locals 😉

If you are new to a surfspot make sure to watch and understand it before entering the water

Ticked off all the above? So what´s next?

Here is a little guide on how to enjoy your first session in a  new surfspot!


Surfing rule number 1: GIVE RESPECT TO GAIN RESPECT!

Be aware of the constant changes around you.

Paddle out using the channel and/or wait for the break in between sets.

Position yourself in fair distance of the peak and take in the energy of the line-up.

Politely greet surfers next to you, a smile often works wonders.

Patiently wait for your turn.

If you are at the peak there is no way back! Your first wave is your signature wave. Other surfers will judge you by your commitment and surfing abilities.

Use the channels to paddle back to the line-up. NEVER paddle against the peak!!

Always follow the rules of surfing. It´s not your local spot and just because you are on well deserved holidays doesn´t mean that you are entitled to waves. You have to earn them by showing respect!


Wow, that sounds like a looot of things to consider.. Maybe some of you weren´t aware of all the important things we as surfers need to think about. But wait, haven´t you been to a surfschool/surfcamp before?  Unfortunately not a lot of surfschools take the time and patience to teach about beach environment, awareness in the water and the basic surfing rules. If you opt for not surfing by yourself but join a surfcamp/surfschool make sure you know how to spot quality surfcoaching and learn about all these important factors.

We here at NOMB Surf train our students to become independent surfers. That´s why well needed surftheory is always a big part of our private surfcoachings on Fuerteventura and an even bigger part of our surfcoaching trips. Feel like you, too, want to learn to surf independently and be able to enjoy (and survive) a new surfspot? Get in touch for more info!


Sea you in the water soon!

Your NOMB Surfteam


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