5 Mistakes All Beginner Surfers Make

So you’ve been taking surfing lessons and you’re ready to hit the water. That’s great! Surfing is one of the best ocean activities to do in Hawaii but it takes years to master. Therefore, you’re bound to make a few mistakes as a beginner surfer.

Want to learn what some of the most common mistakes are for new surfers just dipping their toes in the water? If so, keep reading below!

Top 5 mistakes to avoid

There are plenty of mistakes to be made when beginning to surf. Don’t worry, though. They’re expected and are all part of the learning process. Below are the top 5 mistakes that all beginner surfers make:


Surfing is a versatile sport and there are tons of varieties in surf boards. They can range from long to short, fiber glass to foam and light weight epoxy . Therefore, it’s no surprise that most new surfers go for the shorty, lighter, sporty-looking boards. This is a common mistake many people make at the beginning of their surfing journey. It may look really fun, but shorter and thinner boards provide let buoyancy and less paddling power to catch waves in the water and this will impede your learning process. 

Thus, take the time to understand the differences in surfboards and find the proper size and shape for your ability. Maybe even rent a while before buying a board. This will save you a lot of money and frustration as you learn the ropes. 


Along with a wide variety of surfboards comes loads of options for surfing gear. There are leashes, rash guards, wetsuits, wax, sunscreen etc. There are tons of options but you really just need the basic essentials as a beginner surfer. Wax is a must to keep you from slipping off the board and sunscreen to protect your skin from the damaging UV rays of the sun.

Don’t make the mistake of buying the fanciest of gear when you’re starting out. Purchase a rashguard to protect your skin, rent or borrow a board and wax, and learn more about the gear as you go. Once you learn more about the sport and what works best you can choose the right gear for your needs and abilities. 


You may think that surfing is as easy as grabbing a board and hitting the waves. That’s the farthest from the truth! There is a lot of prep work that needs to be done before hitting the water.

You need to take plenty of surfing lessons from a qualified surf instructor. The surf instructor will teach you the basics of how to paddle out to the line up and how to pop up to your feet,. The instructor will also teach you how to read the swells as they approach the line up and understanding the timing of when to start paddling for a wave. Additionally, spend plenty of time stretching and watching the forecast before heading for the water. The more time you spend preparing out of the water, the more prepared you’ll be in it.


Did you know that catching a wave and standing on the surfboard requires more thought than just, well, standing up? Timing is critical and positioning is key. Stand up too far back on the board and you will fall of the back of the board. Stand too far up on the nose of the board and you’ll nose dive. Learning proper form and position on a surfboard is vital to your success in the ocean.


Lastly, most beginning surfers make the mistake of assuming they understand the rules. Before hitting the water, make sure to research and fully understand surfing rules like right of way. These will save you a lot of apologizing later on. Want to learn more about the rules of surfing? Read our blog post here!

Ask us more

Want to learn more about surfing? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Surf N Sea has been serving the North Shore of Oahu for decades with surf lessons, gear, and plenty more. 

Give us a call or stop by our shop. We’d be happy to help you on your surfing journey!