Surfing is a lifestyle and learning how to surf is something that anyone can learn. Beginners learning how to surf have the option of a multitude of surf schools on Long Island. In my quest to learn how to surf, I travelled to Long Beach and met expert surfer Elliot Zuckerman, owner of Surf2Live. A native of Long Beach, he has been training individuals to surf for 40 years. Zuckerman was raised on the water; as soon as he could walk he was taught to surf. He is a man of many talents and certainly will keep you interested.
Working in tandem with two other teaching surfers, the first step in learning how to surf is to learn the moves on land. The act of getting up on a board is one fluid movement, pushing up to a plank into a crouch position with feet facing forward on the board. Dexterity is key. Practicing on land several times helps you ingrain the motion in your head, memorizing the steps with your body. Next step, put it into action on the water.
The great part about learning a new skill is that the instructor selects the equipment you use. Knowing nothing about surfing, I had no idea what size board to use or whether the size or type matters at all. The good part is the instructor knows and furnishes the student with exactly what is needed.
“The boards you are riding are optimal for your weight, ability, conditions and surfing style. Having the best equipment possible is the cornerstone to maximizing your performance and surfing potential, as well as developing confidence for all surfing conditions,” said Zuckerman. New surfers should start with a softboard. Theses boards are incredibly buoyant, stable and easy to ride.
Wetsuits are available to use, which was especially useful given the water the day I had my lesson was a chilly 50 degrees. Water temperature means nothing to a surfer when they wear a wetsuit as long as they have good surf.
To get out onto the water, the first move is to connect a tether to your foot so that the board is not lost when flipped. Climbing on the surf board, laying stomach-down, you begin to paddle out on the ocean to set up and catch your first wave. The first thing you are taught is to fall butt first into the water so that you don’t hurt yourself. Getting set to take your wave rehashed the one fluid movement you learned on land. This is challenging and once you get up on the board you start your next steps in learning how to direct your board to hopefully get you to the “green room” or through a wave.
Typically, the best surf is while there is a storm brewing or just after. Learning to surf is best in small groups and Zuckerman is the man to get you on a ride. For lessons at Surf2Live, call 516-236-1070 or visit www.surf2livelb.com.