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How To Gain Your Confidence In Surfing

There are a lot of challenges to overcome in your surfing journey and something is hard to gain and easy to lost, may just be your confidence.

I have been coaching people how to surf for over a decade now and I would often get the same question. But one question that I frequently get asked about and is also something that has a deeper and some level of darkness hidden within it is the question – How to overcome frustration, discouragement, and loss of confidence as a surfer.

As a learner surfer failing your first tries and your first lesson may not be as successful or as redeeming as what you’d initially hoped for. But you have to remember of two important things.


At times you’d be lucky to get on the water to catch your first small white wave. Once you do, it usually feels ecstatic. After you fail, it’s easy to feel discouraged and at most times after this comes frustration. If you allow yourself to get overpowered by these emotions losing your confidence as a learner surfer would be easy. It’s fine it’s normal and our second reminder is connected.


There are plenty of things you can do to help continue with your surfing journey as a learner surfer. As a coach, I’ve seen plenty of people and how they cope with feeling discouraged, frustrated, and overall lose all of their confidence. Base on my experience both as a previous learner surfer to a surf lover, and now as a surf coach, here are three things you can do to regain your confidence when you get discouraged.



If you want to regain your confidence back, this tip works like magic. As a learner surfer, it may be easy to get overwhelmed or to try and do things you imagine a surfer does. However, basics help you, it forms you, and after failing it can help rebuild you.

Even as a surf coach I’m not a perfect surfer and there have been plenty of times when I had to use this tip/reminder. Also, when I see my clients start to get frustrated in the water when they start to get scared or discouraged, I only have one phrase to say. I’ll go and tell them, “You know what you have to do, go back to what you know.”

Take a step back. There’s no shame in going back in your comfort zone, recalling the previous steps, and build your confidence back up from there. If you fail to ride a specific wave, try and go for a simpler and smaller wave, and regain your confidence from there. If you’re used to the bigger board and are having a hard time transition to the smaller one, go back to what you know. Because if you get frustrated it only goes downwave from there.

You can try and work on your paddling again. Why? Because when transitioning from a bigger board to a smaller one, you need to know that it takes more energy to paddle in a smaller board than a bigger one. Try doing certain exercises to improve your fitness for surfing that you can find on our blog at

Build your confidence from here. Most importantly remind yourself the first reminder as a learner surfer, you can do this.


Every time we surf we are prone to accidents and injuries, similar to other sports or physical activity. I’ve seen people that lost their courage to carry on with their surfing journey as a surfer after an injury. Some even find the water as a waste of time or don’t want anything to do with it. But it happened, now what you have to do is ask yourself. How did that happen?

But what about when it was out of your control? What if the injury was because you were playing in Mother Nature’s backyard, what then? As we said earlier, surfing is like other sport. BUT! Unlike other sport, surfers are faced with plenty of factors that are influenced by something unpredictable and uncontrollable.

These types of injuries only happen rarely, hence the but… a big but. Yet it happens, even to the best of us, so here’s what you can do. Turn it into a positive learning experience. Ask yourself still the question, “Did I do something wrong?” If not then remind yourself that you did your best and there’s no reason to lose your confidence over something you can’t control. But in any case that you did, take that as a lesson to catch your next wave safer and more confidently.

The ocean is vast. The tides are both beautiful and terrifying and it is both peace and chaos. But it always teaches you a lesson. You just have to be open in learning and let your mind see nature’s beauty for its messages to improve you.


Educate yourself. Surfing is not JUST an obstacle for the body, but the mind as well. If you’ve noticed like on our website and plenty others you have plenty of resources you can use, so use it. Utilize every free and paid surfing program and access that knowledge to work to your advantage. But as I always remind my clients, use them carefully as plenty of coaches and programs approach surfing differently.

Have you ever tried reading stories or any journals from surfers? Because if you do you’d understand this. Sometimes when we read or simply hear amazing experiences that people had with surfing it causes a positive reaction for us. Just remind yourself about the first time you rode your first wave, it’s that feeling that reignites the waves inside each of us, motivating us to get back into the water.

You are never limited because of your body in surfing, you are only limited by your mind. Hearing different and positive perspectives is often inspiring. Use that to get unstuck! Use that to see your journey from a different perspective. Gain your confidence back.


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