Do I need to know how to swim to surf? You may ask yourself this question as you watch surfers riding wild waves, unafraid and soaked to the bone.
Perhaps you’re searching for memories in your past; lost opportunities you did not pursue to learn how to swim. But it’s just water, right? It can’t be too hard to navigate.
Surfers are usually on their boards, so you can float the entire time you’re in the ocean. You don’t really need to know how to swim, right? Well, I think you already know what I’m about to tell you.
- Safety First
You absolutely need to know how to swim to surf. I’m sorry if this answer dampers your dream of surfing but swimming skills are critical when you are out in the open ocean for hours at a time. Without swimming skills, you will drown, either quickly from not being able to maintain composure to swim to the surface or exhausting yourself because you’re unable to stay above the water.
When you fall into the water (and you will definitely fall in the water), you must be able to swim to the surface, swim to retrieve your board and swim to go in and out of the water.
Without being able to swim, you are in constant danger of drowning. Diving and avoiding waves When you surf, you will come across strong waves which will pull your body in any direction it goes.
To protect themselves, surfers will dive under the wave and swim down to avoid a wave’s strong pull.
Diving under the wave prevents surfers from being tossed around and injured by a wave when it breaks and rolls onto the shore. Also, strong waves can slam surfers into coral reefs, piers, and docks, causing serious injuries, and even death. If you can’t swim, you are at the mercy of the waves and won’t be able to swim defensively.
- Calmness in the water
Swimming skills will give you peace of mind when you are in the ocean. Nothing will be worse than the water surrounding you and you cannot navigate through it. Although you will use a surfboard to float while you are in the open ocean, you use your legs to raise your body above the waters and direct you towards the waves.
You won’t be able to enjoy surfing, catching waves, watching sunsets, and talking to others in the oceans if you are constantly afraid of falling off your board and drowning.
- Breathing Practice
Swimming allows you to practice holding your breath underwater. Yes, you can practice breath holds on land, but practicing under the ocean is very different. You can feel how the pressure affects your lung capacity. Also, you need to know how to move your body while holding your breath.
- One with nature
For many surfers, surfing and interacting with the ocean is a spiritual experience and not being able to swim would severely inhibit their ability to connect with the sea. A surfer can become one with the waves.
Surfers track the moon’s phases and its tides. They dive into its endless depths; becoming one with its waters, currents, animals, and waves. Many surfers speak to the ocean and feel its energy before they begin surfing, as they want to understand the water they are about to dive into, they understand the ocean is an ever-changing entity, and they must obey its rules and respect its power.
It’s time to learn to swim to start surfing
Though you may feel discouraged because you can’t swim now, there is good news. Swimming skills does not take long to develop. It takes about a month to learn the basics; floating, doggy paddling, the breaststroke, holding your breath, and being calm and comfortable in the water, and around 1-3 months to become comfortable with these skills.
If you start in April, you should be ready to start surfing lessons by June or July. If you are a new swimmer, and you take part in lessons, be sure to inform your surfing instructor on your swimming skills. They might critique you and push you in the right direction to grow stronger and improve your competence in the water.
If you’re embarrassed because you think you’re the only adult who doesn’t know how to swim, you are in luck. Many adults never learned to swim! Many public and private pools have swimming classes for adults. Even colleges and universities teach many adult students how to swim. You are not alone! Sign up to the adult swimming class nearest to you and start your ocean adventure. It’s never too early to learn a new skill.