With summer comes a greater opportunity to try out some more adventurous fitness activities. I often find it hard to be motivated during the winter months and tend to rely on a gym membership. However, this summer I shall be taking on a fitness activity I have been keen on for quite some time: surfing.
Surprisingly, no matter where you are in the country surfing is a widely enjoyed activity and we in the UK have some amazing surfing spots that we should really be taking advantage of. For my first try at surfing I am heading to Newquay in Cornwall, South England.
Despite being keen to give surfing a try I still have my reservations. I can't imagine I am going to be very keen on the coldness of the water and the constant falling over until I get the hang of it, but none the less, surfing is a great cardiovascular exercise and with continued practice gives upper and lower body strength as well as building up your core strength and overall fitness.
As a beginner I am pushed towards using a long board which I am told is an essential for beginners. A long board is easier to paddle, makes it more likely that you will catch a wave to surf, catches the waves earlier giving you a better chance to make you first stand on the board and is the most stable platform for you to do so. My research on surfing has even taught me that using a long board is so advantageous that you can be properly surfing within an hour, I believe this only to be true though if you are a natural.
As well as this for we beginner surfers it is also important that we choose a surfing spot suitable for us. It is vitally important to learn in a safe, beginner-friendly surf spot, where you can gain proper instruction and keep yourself from being subjected to any dangerous situations.
Fistral Beach in Newquay is a great spot for surfing and you can also gain tuition here from coaches at the Quiksilver Surf School. They can take you from amateur surfer to surfing pro and offer all the equipment hire you could need from the necessary surf boards and wet suits, to gloves, wet suit boots and even balaclavas if you choose to try surfing in winter months. Personally I found the water so cold in the summer months that I don't think I would venture out surfing between October and April. However the vigorous exercise gets you heated up in the cold water pretty fast.
A single lesson at Quiksilver Surf School starts at £30 or if it's a weekend surfing break you are after, a weekend special of four lessons starts at £80. I highly recommend this surf school for professionalism and knowledge on activity, if like me you are taking your first steps with surfing.
My first attempt at surfing taught me that I am far from a natural and will need more than a few lessons before I am no longer classed as a beginner. It is a lot harder than it looks, however it is also a lot of fun and you burn hundreds of calories without even realising it.
Once all the surfing is done for the day, another plus side to surfing is that you can almost be guaranteed that your current location is a visual paradise, something which you may not be able to fully appreciate while in the water.
My greatest tip for beginner surfers is: don't be afraid. If you have a qualified instructor and a safe environment you have nothing to fear. Watch others, learn from what they do and most of all learn from their mistakes. Lastly, have a friend (or your instructor after tuition) on the beach filming or taking photos. It may not be the best photos of yourself you've ever seen, soaked to the core and at one with the sea, but it will be a moment you won't want to forget.