How to start children in surfing?

What is the ideal age to start them? What are the correct steps to do so? How will you surf if you still can´t swim well?
Cesar Alvarez
Cesar Alvarez


Surf nomad

Roaming the globe with a surfboard and a laptop, crafting digital stories that ride the wave of surfing culture.

There´re many water-loving parents who want to pass on their passion to their children, but in their head they will ask questions such as: What is the ideal age to start them? What are the correct steps to do so? How will you surf if you still can´t swim well?
These and other are the questions I am now going to answer. So let's start!


For each age a different learning method 

You can´t teach the same to a 4-year-old than to a 12-year old child, there are different stages during growth which must be taken into account when learning.
For children less than 2 years you should only create relationship with water, encouraging play and free movement.
When children are between 4 and 7 years old you can introduce games that invite the development of motor skills such as running or jumping.
At 8 or 9 years old, children can be introduced to the sport, always continuing with the games, but already familiar with the tables and the waves…
It is from the age 10 onwards when these games become more disciplinary and rules and behaviors are added. The technique of surfing begins to be introduced and will be polished progressively.


Learning while playing is key

As already mentioned in the previous section, playing is the basis of learning in children. Through games it is possible to get familiarized with the environment, which in this case is water, therefore avoiding sport practice rejection behaviors, since it will be conceived as a fun activity, leaving fears behind.

There are many games adapted to all levels, and focused on improving different skills such as balance, speed, coordination ... These will increase their complexity according to the age and level of the child.


If they don´t want, don´t want, don´t push – don´t try 

Sometimes there is a tendency to force children to perform certain activities under the premise that they must engage in sport, but this is not only not suitable for initiating a child in a sport instead it can actually achieve a totally opposite result than the expected, which is that they end up getting scared to surf and don´t want to get back on the board.

Children should learn at their own pace, and never be forced. When they are ready they will be the first to ask you what they wants to learn, And you might ask yourself, when will that moment come? When you feel confident enough to face the situation.


Trust professionals

Finally, one of the best tips we can give you is to rely on surf professionals. Sometimes parents don´t know how to deal with certain situations or don´t know how to convey all the knowledge they have about certain sport. In that moment it´s when you should turn to a professional, they have all been prepared to teach and to get the best out of each child.

In the first years of a child's life the influence of the parents is essential to create bond with the sea, since no one else can get that trust into a child, but as they grow older an external figures can be a great idea to expand to their full potential.

Currently there are many centers where you can learn surf, but without doubt some of the most entertaining options are Surf camps. Children coexist a few days with other children who have the same passions, learning along with other people creates a feeling of competitiveness which is very positive during the time of learning.

These camps are usually developed during vacation times, and include accommodation, meals and all activities. In addition to surfing there are also other parallel activities such as environmental workshops or lectures.


Fostering a Lifelong Love for Surfing

Instilling a love for surfing in your child is not just about teaching them the technicalities; it's about nurturing a lifelong passion. As your child progresses in their surfing journey, remember that patience is key. While the age-appropriate methods and playful learning are vital in the early years, fostering a deep connection to the sport goes beyond that.


Encourage Exploration

Allow your child to explore the various facets of surfing. Let them try different types of boards, from longboards to shortboards, and encourage them to experiment with different surfing styles. This exploration not only keeps their interest alive but also helps them discover their own unique surfing identity.


Embrace the Surfing Community

Surfing is more than just a sport; it's a community. Encourage your child to participate in local surf events, clubs, or competitions. Being part of the surfing community can provide a sense of camaraderie, support, and motivation, which are invaluable for a young surfer's development.


Safety Always Comes First

No matter how passionate your child becomes about surfing, safety should never be compromised. Ensure they have the right safety gear, including a well-fitted wetsuit and a leash for their board. Teach them about ocean safety, such as how to identify rip currents and the importance of respecting local surfing rules.


Celebrate Progress, Not Just Success

While success in surfing is undoubtedly rewarding, celebrate every step of your child's progress. Whether they master a new maneuver, catch their first green wave, or simply spend a beautiful day in the water, acknowledging their efforts will keep their enthusiasm burning bright.


The Role of Positive Reinforcement

Always provide positive reinforcement. Encourage them after a wipeout, celebrate their small victories, and be their biggest cheerleader. This positive reinforcement not only boosts their self-confidence but also fosters a healthy attitude towards challenges and setbacks.


A Surfer's Respect for Nature

Teach your child the importance of environmental responsibility. Surfing takes place in some of the most beautiful natural environments, and instilling a sense of respect and stewardship for these places is crucial. Teach them to leave no trace, pick up trash, and appreciate the oceans and beaches they call their playground.


In conclusion, introducing your child to surfing is a wonderful way to share your passion for the sport and create lasting memories. Remember, it's not just about the waves they ride but the values, skills, and love for the ocean they cultivate along the way. Be their guide, their supporter, and their friend on this exciting journey into the world of surfing.