We would like introduce you to a person that you may already know. He goes by the name Tim Jones, also known as the “the most veteran surf instructor in Europe”. He’s not young, but he’s definitely not old. Tim is a legend, a sort of super-legend, almost part of folklore! From the crispy Welsh coasts, to the pumping waves of the Canaries and now to the warm waters of Sri Lanka….
After our little session, we took advantage of that tall pile of experience, carried behind clear blue eyes and asked him to share some tips for novices and experts alike to remember before getting in the water off whatever coast they might ride.
The main advice he had was actually to get advice. Always listen to suggestions from Locals and take tips from people that have visited a spot. The best place to find this knowledge including wave size, tides and even localism is from surf shops and local instructors. A great place to get info if no local knowledge is available to you is from The Stormrider Guides and for a good place to find a local guide check out ridewithlocal.com
1 – Never surf alone if it’s your first time at a spot. The water hides plenty of surprises.
2 – Get a real local guide. Even great surfers lack the knowledge and understanding of the intricacies of a spot they have never surfed so make sure your instructor is a real local with experience not just a sweet tan.
3 – Don’t go straight in the water. The bigger the waves, the more time you should take to contemplate and understand the spot. No two spots are the same so don’t assume anything.
4 – The right board for the right waves. Make sure you are using boards that suit the size and shape of the wave you are riding. Pay attention to your fin choice as well. The wrong combination will have you struggling.
5 – Observe the spot and what’s going on in the water. Observe the entry and exit points carefully. Examine where you will enter the water and what is going on under the water whether there are rocks, reef or sand. The point of your trip is not to come home with a sweet scar.
6 – Find out the depth of the waves you are about to surf. Powerful waves often break over shallow water so watch your exit point. Never assume that a beach break is safer than a reef a break. A beach break drives just as hard!
7 – Understand the rips and currents at a break. Sit, watch and observe. Pay attention to experienced surfers that are already in the water. Time spent watching from the beach will save you time in the water.
8 – Pay attention to tides to realize the depth of the water. Check the report, watch the time, and ask a Local!
9 – Know your tide movements. There are a few spots worldwide that are good to surf at all tides. Different dangers arise at different stages of the tide. This goes for beaches & reefs. To get the full story, watch this video.
10 – A spot may be empty for reason If riders are leaving a spot, it could be due to conditions. Politely ask people coming out of the water if you are not sure. Don’t worry, they won’t bite, hopefully.
11 – Check water quality. Get informed about pollution warnings in certain zones. Be cautious after rainfall which increases runoff into the sea. Information can be found in the Stormrider Guides if not sure.
12 – Never paddle out in a crowd. 2 at a time is ideal. 3 is crowd. 4 is an insult to people already surfing the spot. You can endanger others and your crew by over-populating the spot. Wait your turn to come in.
13 – Don’t Be Shark Bait In high risk shark areas do not surf at dawn or dusk. Pee before you go in if possible. If you are bleeding get out the water. Don’t wear shiny objects. Check for seal population because you don’t want to surf next to their buffet!
14 – Dull your board. A razor sharp pointing nose is not necessary. Sand it down or install a small nose guard. Super sharp fins can be dangerous, a little sandpaper will help reduce the danger. Always brace in anticipation when falling. Cover your face above and under water.
15 – Check leashes. Make sure it’s in good condition so it doesn’t snap from a strong yank or pull of a wave. You don’t want to spend your time and energy chasing down your board.
16 – Don’t forget the sunscreen. Your most likely injury is a mean sunburn. Use quality sunscreen and re-apply. Shirt or rash guards are recommended. You can tan your tits later.
17 – Sea urchins are not fun. Keep your feet off the sea floor if over rocks unless you want to spend your evening with tweezers picking out needles.
18 – Don’t surf where you can’t. Localism is a bitch, but if a local says not to surf somewhere it’s probably for your own good. Just sit back and enjoy the show.
19 – Ask a Local! ridewithlocal.com