5 Tips To Improve Your Surfing

Learning to surf is heaps rewarding – but it’s also a big learning curve. Sure you can get to your feet pretty quickly – but mastering the techniques and style is something that takes a lot of practice. There are however some fundamental tips that are often overlooked but will help push your surfing along a lot quicker if you get them down ASAP before bad habits creep in! So here’s our 5 top tips to improve your surfing…

1) Look Where You’re Going!

It’s a surfing basic that where you look you end up! Keeping you head up and towards the beach throughout your pop will make sure you head that way, but if you look down at your feet it’ll quickly change your centre of gravity of send you tumbling into the water! The same goes for turning too – you can put all the effort into driving your turns and cut backs, but if you don’t look where you want to end up it’ll never quite go to plan.

2) Paddle Deep, Hard And Smooth

Without  good paddle power your surfing won’t go anywhere. You won’t get out back you won’t catch many waves and ultimately you won’t have much fun. The key here is training, always paddle back out – even in small waves – and maybe even start some swim training. The key to a good paddle is a long, smooth stroke the commands power rather than a chaotic, shallow scramble! Even more important is keep paddling – when you think you’ve caught a wave force yourself to take about 3 extra paddles. This extra commitment will more often than not be the difference between a solid take off and a disappointing fade off!

3) Master The Pop

‘Popping’ to your feet is one of surfings most basic but under talked about skill. But without good technique this will spell disaster when you try to push your surfing to the next level – especially when it comes to bigger, faster waves. A good pop is all about control – getting your feet firmly placed quickly and consistently. Again the best way to achieve this is to simply catch more waves and practice! Even when you’re not in the water you can pop on land so the next time you hit the water you’ll have more strength and everything becomes more intuitive.

4) Watch and Learn

The old saying is ‘watch and learn’ and it couldn’t be more true in surfing – in many different aspects of the sport. Watching waves will give you a better understanding of the ocean, watching other surfers will give you a better idea of technique and even watching the line up whilst suiting up will give you a better insight into the conditions and the pecking order. Always be aware of whats going on and don’t undervalue letting a few waves slide through unridden so you can see what’s happening  – it’ll set you up properly for when you do catch one.

5) Get Some Lessons

With most sports the best way to cut the learning curve quickly is to get some expert tuition and surfing is no exception. A few days of surf coaching will significantly improve your style and technique as you’ll have constant feedback – instructors point out the common mistakes you may miss in your surfing and also help you progress at a speed which suits your skill level. Whether you go for a quick morning lessons or an all out surf adventure it’ll be a great investment in your hobby and help you get more fun out of the waves.

Any tips you’d recommend for improving style and technique?

surf adventures south africa surf coaching

Picking The Right Surfboard For Learning To Surf

Surfboards are like people – they come in all shapes and sizes.

Picking the right surfboard for you is also heaps important when it comes to learning to surf as the style, size and fin setup drastically change what the board can do and most importantly the learning curve involved when learning to surf.

The saying goes that size doesn’t matter…well when it comes to surfboards that isn’t really that true!

The length of your board will totally change what you can do with it, the type of waves it’s most suitable for and how easy it is to paddle. Generally speaking the longer the board the easier it is to paddle and also catch waves on. Boards in the 9 foot range are known as longboards, up to 8 foot are the minimals and under 7 foot are the shortboards. Of course there are all manner of hybrids but those are the 3 key types you’ll need to focus on for now.

So lets run through the main points of each;


Easy to paddle
Easy to catch waves
Slower/harder to turn
Heavy and sometime hard to carry
More suited to smaller, spilling waves

Mals/Mini Mals

Relatively easy to paddle and catch waves
Faster to turn/responsive
Suitable for a large variety of waves


Very responsive
Easy to duck dive through waves
Harder to paddle
More suited to bigger/powerful waves


As you can tell the map is the best mid ground for everything – offering a relatively easy paddle whilst still maintaining the ability to turn faster and therefore be able to use it on a variety of different waves as you progress. It’s smaller size in comparison to the longboard makes it easier to carry down the beach and keep control of but it still has the size and stability for learners.

The common mistake for most new surfers is to buy a stereotypical shortboard – it fits the surfer looks and it’s what you see all the pros using. But that’s exactly who would be riding them – the pros! It’s the equivalent of learning to drive in an F1 car – it’s finely tuned for high performance, not learning!

As you progress you may well drop down to a shorter board – but rest assured that mini map will still be a solid part of your collection, especially on smaller days as it’s the most versatile. You can enjoy riding it in the cold water waves of the UK or even on a surf trip through South Africa!

For those looking for a more soulful and old school surfing experience the long, slow drawn out lines of a longboard are also a great shout. But even still learning the basics on a map will set you up for a good amount of progression.

The best piece of advice is to try before you buy. Most surf shops have heaps of demo models so have a speak to the guys, test out a few and find which one fits you best!

Most of all though…enjoy!

Surf Adventures

Indonesia Surf Trip (Photo Essay)

Indonesia is one of the greatest surf travel locations on the planet – where culture and climate meet world class surfing. Ticket to Ride offer some great 2 and 4 week surf adventures there covering Bali, Lombok and Nusa Lembongan – here’s some of our top shots from our surf trip through Indo.



5 Packing Essentials For Any Surf Adventure

When heading off on any surf adventure you’re head is firmly focused on the goal – warm water (usually!), waves, fun and all round good times. But if you want to make the most of your trip you need to be prepared – so here are our top 5 essentials for any surf trip…

1) Wax – wax is like white gold to any surfer – be it a day trip or an adventure so make sure you’re stocked up. Investing in the right wax for your trip is important too – no point heading to Indonesia with cold water wax! A good few blocks in your board bag will make sure you’ll stick your feet and nail those turns.

2) Ding Repair Kit – there’s nothing worse than dinging your board, except dinging your board on a surf trip…in the middle of nowhere….when the surfs pumping. Investing in a ding repair kit will not only save you money, it’ll save a few surf sessions too. A quick dry in the sun and many small ding can be no worries after 30 mins. Bigger repairs might need a shapers helping hand but most dings and knocks can be self healed.

3) Spare Leash – lets admit it, surfing without a leash is not only dangerous but most average surfers don’t have the skills to pull it off anyway. With that in mind make sure you have a back up in your bag. You don’t want to be hunting around for one when you could be out back with your buddies enjoying a session.

4) Fin Key – these little buggers ALWAYS go missing. Treat them as if you were Frodo – protect them at all costs and don’t let them out of your possession! They’ll only set you back about a quid so add one to your keys and keep a spare somewhere safe. Especially when you’re frantically unpacking your board after a long haul flight wanting to paddle out ASAP.

5) First Aid Kit – although usually pretty safe surfing can result in a few injuries – sea urchins in your foot, reef scrapes, sprained ankles…ok so there’s a few things that can go wrong! Packing a basic first aid kit is always good for travelling – surfing or not – and having tweezers, posters, antiseptic wipes and a couple bandages is always good to have in your kit. Always better to be safe than sorry!


Anything you always pack for a surf trip?