A man surfing

If you've now got a taste for the salty sea air and that fluid feeling you get when riding a wave, you might be looking to step it up and learn some new tips and tricks!

Surfing is an addictive sport - there's no doubt about that. It involves a lot of patience and flexibility, especially when it comes to attacking an awkward wave; it can be the difference between having a good time and leaving the water in a frustrated fluster.

But, there are some other fundamentals that should be taken note of if you want to start scaling up your skills.

When looking to improve, remember that advanced surfing goes hand in hand with hours and hours of wave riding. The most successful and experienced surfers have ridden a ridiculous amount of waves in an array of ocean conditions.

We're always happy to share our passion for surfing, whether we're updating our blog with surfing advice or helping our customers purchase the perfect Rip Curl Wetsuit. Feel free to contact our team today for more information or advice!

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How Long Does It Take to Become a Good Surfer?

If you're just starting out with surfing, you might be wondering how long it will take you to comfortably catch and ride waves.

Naturally, the more waves you catch, the faster you'll progress. As you continue to advance, you'll focus more on improving, correcting and polishing your technique.


  • 30 Minutes – Stand up on a learner surfboard in the shallows.
  • 2 Hours or less – Paddle for and catch a Whitewater wave.
  • 30 Hours – Paddle on board without falling off.
  • 60 Hours – Duck dive.
  • 120 Hours or more - Ride along the face of an unbroken/green wave.
  • 150 Hours or more - Ride green waves, paddle out and be competent.

Note that these are rough estimates; everyone has a different aptitude and level of fitness, so it may take a longer or shorter time depending on the person.

How long does it take to progress in surfing?

How Can I Progress Faster in Surfing?

A pro tip for progressing faster is to ride the right waves.

Regularly riding waves that are suited to your skillset will help you slowly increase the level of the waves. Doing this allows you to progress much faster compared to just jumping straight on into the deep end and attempting to ride a big, steep or messy wave that is far too challenging.

A man standing with his surfboard on the beach with a prosthetic leg

How Can I Take my Surf to the Next Level?

If you've just grasped the basics, then the next step is to start taking note of key pieces of information, such as what tide and swell direction work well for you and what tools you can use online to track the surf.

However, the most important information is learnt when you're in the water. Different experiences and breaks will offer you an array of important opportunities to take hold of and learn from. Observation skills will go a long way; even the subtleties of sitting in a line up, clocking where the surfers take off to get the best breaks.

Build Small Habits

Be mindful of when you carry out your general surfing habits. For example, keep your feet together when paddling out back or make sure to look over your shoulder at an approaching wave instead of blindly paddling.

These simple but small habits will have an overall effect on your surf, so it's important to master these.

Get your Duck Dive Down

Although it's one that you might want to shrug off and assume you've mastered, there's no harm in refining it. On every dive, you should try to push yourself that bit deeper, so you're ready and unaffected by whatever wave of water comes thundering your way.

Surf Journal

This rewarding book of recordings will help you to keep on track of your progress.

Journals are fun to look back over, see your progress and log your adventures out in the water. They also help to keep track of the best tides, swell directions and conditions. You can jazz it up with photos or videos, and you can even share it online.

Try Out a Different Board

Once you've got the basics down and you're feeling comfortable, try out some different boards to find a volume that works for you.

You might prefer a single fin over a thruster; there's no harm in trialling a surfboard before committing to one. So before you go buying your first board, make sure to have some fun and play with its surfing style!

It's also worth noting that your board should suit your body and skill level, so make sure to bear this in mind too!

A man and a woman carrying their surfboards overhead

Advanced Surfing Tips & Techniques

Whether you've been surfing for years or you're itching to move from intermediate to advanced, we've got some helpful tips and techniques you can use!

Fine Tune Your Observation and Position on the Peak

Take your time when watching the waves. Notice where they break so you can calculate the right take-off time along with the speed of the tide.

When riding the wave, it can sometimes be helpful to move from side to side; just a small shift to your right or left can make it easier to catch and enjoy a wave for that bit longer.

Once you've mastered these simple skills, you can spend hours and hours in the water making the most of the waves.

Work on Your Fitness

To get the best out of your surf, you'll want to feel as fit and strong as possible. Add a bit of extra cardio and some strengthening exercises into your fitness regime to help make your surfing experience as positive as possible.

Lower Your Centre of Gravity

We all know we need to do it, but it's an easy thing to forget when out in the water and chasing waves.

Sometimes to advance your surfing, you've got to go back to the basics. Stay low to increase your stability and speed.

Practice Off Water

You can still improve your surf when out of the water. When at home, focus on your technique, watch surfing videos and consider how you would ride that wave.

Sadly, you can't be in the sea every day, but you can use the internet to watch waves and work on your technique.

Broaden Your Working Area

Raise your performance by broadening your workable area on the wave face. Extend the wave surface area with bottom-to-top (bottom turn) and top-to-bottom (top turn) surfing. These moves are crucial when surfing. They are used every time you catch a wave or perform a manoeuvre.

Extend the wave area you're wanting to complete a cutback, then snap off the top. This technique is a great way to improve performance and fight for more time on the wave!


To perform a dramatic move, a surfer needs a bit of speed. The speed will be generated from a regular series of carves. These carves are what accelerate the surfer down the line; this is called rail-to-rail surfing.

Increase your rail-to-rail technique to get the most out of every ride. Intermediate surfing techniques already require immense focus, but rail-to-rail surfing will also involve balance, speed and wave face management. It's a great way to build up your core and elevate your surfing experience.

Rail-to-rail is a great way to build up momentum so you can smash out roundhouses, snaps off the lip and aerials!

Focus on One Goal at a Time

If you want to become a better surfer, the easiest and quickest way to do this is to focus on one thing at a time. This way, you can be confident your form is correct, and you won't make simple mistakes that inhibit your progress.

Take some time to really consider where you need to focus and improve; slowly, you can move down the list, improving one element at a time.

Take a Break

Improving your skills requires some work away from the surf. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep and sufficient rests between surf sessions. Eating well and exercising will help to build your strength and stamina, making your time out in the water more enjoyable.

Swimming regularly will help you get a feel for the water and prepare for wipeouts by strengthening your swimming abilities. You might also want to consider taking up skateboarding so you can work on your balance out of water.

We hope this article will help you on your surfing journey. For more information and advice, browse through our blog or contact a member of our team!

Here at Wetsuit Centre, we provide a great range of beginner to advanced wetsuits, surfboards and much more; check out our range on our online store!

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