27 things I learned from my first year of surfing

When I tried surfing for the first time I was 28. I was on a surf camp with a group of friends from Slovakia. We were in Morocco and everything was perfect… except my physical condition. I was so weak and so out of shape that I was the only one in the group who did not stand up on a surfboard. Although this experience was frustrating, it was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. I knew that I was not living a healthy lifestyle. I used to commute to work every day by train (1 hour there and 1 hour back) and I didn’t do any sport… ok, I used to bike in Copenhagen but I wouldn’t call it an effective exercise. I used to eat lot of pasta and I used to drink lot of beer (well, I lived in Denmark :). All of this resulted into some health problems and I knew that it was time for a change.

That surf trip in Morocco changed my life.

When I got back to Copenhagen, I started exercising and I did my first yoga course. Six months later we traveled to Portugal. I stood up on the very first wave that I caught and I felt like a superhero hahaha. Of course that I started surfing on the white water (after the wave breaks) and it was so much fun! I knew that this was just the beginning of a long-lasting love.

27 _Things_ I_ Learned_ From_ My_ First_ Year_ Of_ Surfing

Ocean love.

I realized quickly that if I wanted to surf for real, I had to dedicate much more time to it than just one week per year. But how was that possible with my office job in Copenhagen?

I decided to pursue my long lasting travel and surfing dream so I quit my job to experience traveling and surfing and to know if I really wanted it.

My first trip as a backpacker was focused on traveling and seeing as much as I could. I spent 7 months in South America and I visited 8 countries. I barely surfed, because I just wanted to see it all 🙂

The real start of surfing was during my Central American trip. It started last year and I was 30. I surfed 3 weeks in Costa Rica, 1 month in El Salvador, 2 months in Puerto Escondido in Mexico and 5 months this year in El Salvador. Happy, happy, happy… and hard times! Surfing is a very hard sport but it’s so much worth it!

One of the things that helped me stay motivated was my diary of things that I learned from traveling and surfing. I would like to share my “surfing notes” with you and motivate all “chicas” who are about to start surfing. These 27 things that I learned from my first year of surfing are mostly for girls, but I don’t mind if boys read it to 🙂


27 things I learned from my first year of surfing

When you have that type of calling that you want to surf but you are still a bit shy, scared or you think that you can’t do it… the answer is: SURF.
2. Don’t leave any kind of garbage on the beach. It goes back to the ocean and you will surf in it.
3. Wind is very important for surfing. Study and understand it.
4. The principle of surfing is simple. Enter the water, lay on your surfboard and start paddling (ideally in small or no waves to begin with). If you have a smile on your face it means that you’re enjoying it. That’s the most important about it. Start from there.
5. For girls: Don’t compare with guys. Share your frustrations with other girls and have some cute guys helping you if you need it 😉
6. Surfing is a very challenging sport and it’s ok to be frustrated. Take it easy. Step by step, have patience.
7. It’s great to have a good surf instructor. It saves time and it’s safer to learn like that.
8. It’s important to choose the right beach or point break or a wave to start surfing. Not every wave is good for beginners and it can scare you or hurt you so you will never surf again. Ask some experienced surfers or surf instructors to give you advice about where to surf.
9. Yoga is a great sport to add to surfing. It helps your body strength and balance.

10. Take a long, thick and soft surfboard to begin with. It’s easier, safer and you’ll have much more fun.
11. It’s an unbelievable feeling to catch a wave, surf it and be surrounded by fish, turtles or birds. Add a sunrise or sunset to it and you’ll have the best feeling in the whole world (some claim that it’s better than orgasm).
12. Overcome your fear and build your mental and body strength by surfing every day.
13. Surfing is an individual sport. Everyone in the ocean is there on his/hers own.
14. When I surf everyday, my body gets shaped quickly. It’s the best workout for me.
15. If you want to learn how to surf, you have to dedicate some time to it and most probably move to a place where you can stay for at least 3 months to get some results (that’s why I am a digital nomad, so I can work online and look for waves – cause we don’t have them in Slovakia 🙂
16. Respect the locals and when you come to a new spot don’t act like you own the place.
17. Don’t jump into someone’s wave. It’s easier for girls to smile when it happens, but it can be too dangerous because you never know if the person surfing knows how to quickly change the direction of his/hers surfboard.
18. You need to have a right gear for surfing. Try different surfboards and shapes before you decided to buy one.
19. Surfing is a highly addictive sport. Once you’ll start it’s hard to stop.

20. When I surf I meditate.
21. Surfing is a great sport to travel for. Many spots are close to beautiful beaches and the surfing community is generally very supportive and a friendly family.
22. When I surf everyday, I can eat whatever I want and I eat much more healthy than usually.
23. Ocean is very powerful. Respect it at all times.
24. Learning to surf and starting a new business have lots in common. If you stare at a wave and won’t try to catch it, you won’t surf it. If you stare at your potential customers or clients and you don’t approach them proactively, you won’t win them.
25. Surfers are hot… and sometimes they feel too free … so they forget about their girlfriends or fiancées back home. Accept it or leave it. You won’t change it 🙂
26. Surfing is freedom. It’s chasing happiness.
27. Enjoy it to the fullest amiga. You can do it!


I would like to encourage everyone who wants surf to try it. In general, I would like to encourage everyone who needs to add sport to his/hers life to do it. I feel that my focus and productivity raised with yoga and surf and I feel more motivated. It was a good decision to focus more on my passions and the health aspect of my life. Life is only one, so why not surfing? 🙂


About the Author
profile_blogThanks for reading this article! My name is Silvia and I’m from Slovakia. I’m passionate about entrepreneurship, marketing, traveling, surfing, photography and I’m in the search of the best ways how to combine it all. Over the past 3 years I changed my lifestyle completely. From an employee in a larger company I started freelancing and working online to be location independent. What drives me is the idea that if I want to, I can book a ticket and go surfing anywhere in the world and stay as long as I want. Also, I gathered lot of content and ideas inspired by beautiful people, places and products. I blog and organize presentations about these topics. Safe travels!

9 Comments on “27 things I learned from my first year of surfing

  1. Pingback: 9 Reasons why I am a digital nomad

  2. Silvia, thanks for sharing your observations and tips! I want to start windsurfing or kite-surfing. So I can definitely use some of your tips, especially that I have to learn physics about the wind. Also, I need to plan a trip to some warm destination, just as you did, as windsurfing in cold danish waters is not that attractive…

    • Hi Irina, I’m happy to hear that it was helpful. I can’t wait to hear more about your windsurfing plans and you experience. Maybe I’ll see you somewhere 🙂

  3. Hey Silvia, what are you favorite places in Salvador? I am just in Nicaragua and plan to head to El Salvador soon.
    Cheers and see you in the waves;)

    • Hi Dan. My favorite places in El Salvador are El Tunco because of Sunzal wave – good for learners. El Tunco is also great for partying, meeting other travelers or funky locals 🙂 I spent there 5 months this year, so I have lot of friends there. I loved the area of El Cuco too. La Tortuga hostel or Rancho Mango in Punta Mango. That’s a special place where you can stay off-the grid. Enjoyyyyyy. Vesele surfovanie ti prajem a pozdrav moj mily El Salvador. Daj si jednu pupusu aj za mna 🙂

  4. Silvia,
    It’s so refreshing to read this article from a females perspective! I’m learning to surf and it’s been really difficult for me! Buying the wrong board, going to the wrong starting waves only to get hurt! Comparing myself to men surfing beside me! It’s encouraging to Read you didn’t start out as a Pro!
    I’m 37 and have always wanted to surf living in Southern California, but only recently started a go at it! I’m starting late and find it encouraging to read your 27 pointers! Your amazing and I appreciate the article!

    • Hi Celeste
      thank you very much for this comment. Actually today, I surfed a new wave on Lombok and it was so hard! It reminded me again how humble I have to stay when it comes to surfing and that the ocean is always in control 🙂 I wish you great time in the water and great waves. Don’t give up. It’s challenging, but it’s also very rewarding. Greetings from Indonesia 🙂

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