Tips on What to Expect of Your First Surf Lesson

Of course, learning to surf on your own is possible, but starting with a lesson can advance your surfing quicker than trying independently.

Here at Wetsuit Centre, we are huge advocates for beginner surf lessons! In this blog, we look over the main things to expect when surfing for the first time so you can feel prepared and have as much fun as possible on the day!

Is Learning How to Surf Worth It?

With the input of an experienced and qualified instructor, you are guided through the earliest stages of your progression, learning the proper technique. Surf lessons also provide invaluable safety knowledge that you may need to pick up when learning the sport.

How Do I Prepare for My First Surf Lesson?  

To prepare for your first lesson, approach the lesson with an open mind and positive attitude! If you are keen to throw yourself into learning, you should be able to pick up the skills needed to become a great surfer. 

Do I Need Any Surf Equipment For My First Surf Lesson?

In terms of equipment, you need to ensure you have some form of swimming costume/bikini or shorts to wear under your wetsuit. This is mainly for personal comfort and to avoid possible rub from the wetsuit.

Ensure you have packed a towel so you can get dry after the session!

Equipment That Will be Provided For Your First Surf Lesson  

Do not worry! You will be provided the correct equipment such as a wetsuit and a surfboard by the company organising the surf lesson. 

• Rash Vests
• Wetsuit 
• Surfboard

Rash Vests

Rash vests are usually worn under the wetsuit to protect your skin from rubbing, and you may contemplate purchasing one before your lesson if you know that your skin is susceptible to rubbing. Here at Wetsuit Centre, we have a wide range of children’s, women’s and men’s rash vests for you to choose from.

However, you will most likely be given a coloured rash guard by the surf centre to wear over your wetsuit. The coloured rash vest is so the surf instructor/s can identify you in the water. Usually, different schools in the area will have other coloured rash vests so students don’t get mixed up between schools or miscounted.


Each surf school will provide you with a wetsuit for your lesson. Wetsuits will come in various sizes from XS-XXXL and cater to all ages. 

In the winter, instructors will provide a 5mm winter wetsuit that’s guaranteed to keep you warm when the water is at its lowest.

In the summer, instructors will likely provide a 3mm summer wetsuit to keep your body temperature regulated in the summer months. 

All wetsuits are carefully picked so that you can be as comfortable as possible whilst enjoying the waves.


Surf companies will provide foam surfboards which is an excellent choice for beginners! Foam surfboards are very stable, user-friendly, and easy to paddle, making riding waves and learning to stand up much more manageable.

What To Expect on Your First Surf Lesson

Here’s what your first surf lesson might be like. 

You Will Be Educated on Beach Safety

At the start of your lesson, your instructor should go over health and safety basics as well as guiding you on the practical aspect of surfing. This will include things such as:• How to choose safe locations to surf.

• What the lifeguarded beach flags mean.
• What rips currents are.
• How to signal for help if you are in trouble.
• How to safely finish a wave, such as protecting your head and body.
• How and when to paddle for waves. 
• How to pop-up.

You Will Be in The White Water

You will be based in the white water when you first learn to surf. The white water is the section of the sea where the waves break.

Why Do Beginners Learn in White Water?

There are several reasons that beginners learn in white water. It is easier to catch waves here, meaning you should have more practice on your feet, which will benefit you as a beginner, let alone be much more fun!

If you are in a group lesson with a range of ages and swimming strengths, it is safer to remain waist-depth where people can stand. Furthermore, it keeps the group together instead of spreading further to the sea.

You may see more advanced surfers further out to sea, in a section before the waves have broken. This is often referred to as the ‘outback’. Here, you may see them paddle into and catch these unbroken waves, also called ‘green waves’. You will aim for this as you advance in your surfing. However, remaining in the section where your surf instructor has told you to go is essential.

Tips and Tricks For a Great First Surf Lesson 

There are several things you can do to get the most out of your first few surf lessons. 

You Should Stay Close to Your Instructor

When you hit the water, try to remain reasonably close to your instructor. Not only do rips tend to pull you away from your original spot (your surf instructor will constantly call you back) but the closer you are, the more likely they are to witness you catching waves and offer you constructive feedback and tips to improve!

Try to Be Aware of Others in the Water

On a beautiful day, especially during the school holidays, the sea can be a busy place! Try to check in front of you before you catch waves to make sure you avoid ploughing into any innocent bystanders! Also, make sure no one is already on the wave and heading towards you.

Remember to Apply Waterproof Sun Cream

The main thing you need to think about taking with you is any sun protection. Even on seemingly overcast days, sun protection is still necessary. Harmful sun rays are more likely to reach your skin when in the sea due to light reflecting off the shiny surface of the water.

Try not to get caught out and ensure you have adequate protection when going into the sea.

Hopefully, we have helped you feel more prepared for your first surf lesson! For more information and advice about the necessary surf equipment, contact us here at Wetsuit Centre; our team is always happy to help.