When is too young to surf? I have a daughter who is 4 in June, she can swim a width in the pool without armbands and she loves the sea.
However I don’t want to scare her off by going surfing too soon.
I’ve read around and here’s what some surfers say:
Pros all say they started surfing when they were young. Alana Blanchard started surfing when she was four, Bethany Hamilton was just 8 when she won her first surf competition. I suspect Kelly Slater had a water birth, a saltwater birth, on a surfboard.
Now I’m not saying I want my daughter to be a pro surfer, although I could think of worse jobs. But I do want her to share my love of the ocean (ideally on a surfboard) as soon as possible – selfish I know.
At the same time I don’t want my daughter to have a bad experience and spend the rest of her life terrified of the sea. So perhaps I should enrol some expertise.
Surf schools usually start kids lessons from the age of 5. Whether doing one to one lessons or joining in on a summer surf camp, the experienced and structured approach could certainly prove successful.
I like the idea of Harlyn Surf School’s kids surf parties, where they get a gang of kids and combine surf lessons with other fun stuff including treasure hunts, beach Olympics and rock pooling.
Or there’s the traditional surf lifesaving clubs who offer a well rounded surf experience including fitness and safety. All of these options could prove useful in a couple of years time but I need an option for my little 3.5 year old now.
So I’m going to teach my daughter the joys of surfing myself.
Don’t get me wrong I’m well aware of the safety risks: strong rips, powerful waves and heavy boards. I’ve surfed myself for 20 years, but that also carries the risk of being over confident.
Will a wetsuit and armbands provide enough bouyancy?
Or should I go for the full life-jacket option?
I’m thinking a life-jacket might be a sensible option, not only for bouyancy but a bit of padding for bump protection.
Plan of action
Should we start by dipping our toes in the ocean or just jump in waist deep and get battered by the waves?
Should we go in with a bodyboard, get straight up on a longboard or stop messing about and get shortboarding?
My plan is to take the whole family: Mum, daughter, aunt and niece (13) on a family day to the beach.
The sun will be shining and the surf will be small.
We will be wetsuited up, never out of our depth and have at least two adults at hand.
Take the longboard out and if all goes well – it’s tandem surfing time!
That’s the plan anyway!
It’s now springtime, so the water is still cold, sunshine is still rare and the winds still onshore.
I reckon I have a couple of months before we take the plunge.
So please add your ideas, recommendations and suggestions to the comments. Thanks.