Swimming Ability Needed for Surfing

Surfing takes place in the ocean and being able to swim is an important part of surfing.

A surfer of any kind, including a first time student, cannot rely on having a surfboard as a flotation device. Even though a “leash” is used to connect the student to a board, a leash can break or come disconnected.

Kim attaching the leash to a young surfer who is wearing a swimming aid.

Surfing in the ocean can include dangerous hazards that can result in injury or death. Rip currents, undertow, and shore break waves can drown even the strongest swimmer.

You should be able to swim in water that is over your head to take a surf lesson.

During the surf lesson water will splash you in the face. It will wash over your head. You will be bouncing around on the surfboard and will fall from the board into the water. You will be swimming in the ocean. You will be going into water that is over your head in depth.

Please study what to do in a Rip Current and learn about Shore Break before your lesson. See the videos at the bottom of this post.

I allow flotation aids and life jackets to be worn by students in lessons, however this is not a replacement for knowing how to swim and knowing what to do in specific situations in the ocean, including escaping rip-currents.

Swimming is a wonderful and important life skill. If you do not feel comfortable with the water, I highly recommend taking a swimming lesson from a qualified professional swim instructor.

It is very important that you listen to safety advice given during the lesson including:

  • Never dive off the board or from shore. Never jump off the board. Shallow water may be present that can cause head, neck, back and extremity injuries. .
  • Always cover your head when you fall to protect yourself from objects in the water including but not limited to people and surfboards.
  • Observe the water for signs of a rip current and act accordingly.
  • Observe the water for signs of sea life that may be harmful including but not limited to fish, jellyfish, sharks, turtles, and dolphins.

Lessons may be cancelled at any time due to safety concerns.

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