Can you learn to surf at any age?

There is no age limit to surfing or learning to surf. As long as you are generally fit, healthy and confident in the ocean, there is no barrier to learning to surf at any age.

Surfing is proven to improve mental and physical health and while it can be dangerous, it is relatively safe for the majority of surfers.

Learning to surf in later life can be daunting for anyone so we’ve got some helpful tips for you before you start.

Some helpful tips before learning to surf

1. Get your body surf fit

Learning to surf is hard work. You’ll likely use muscle groups that haven’t been challenged in a long time. Paddling for extended periods can lead to sore back muscles and pop-ups and surfing can lead to a myriad of aches and strains.

Improving your core strength out of the water will aid your surfing journey and lead to improvements in your pop-up and stability on and off your surfboard. Squats, push-ups and planks are great exercises for improving your core strength and your surfing.

Paddling out and catching waves can be very cardio intensive. Depending on your surf spot you may have to paddle hundreds of meters to reach breaking waves.

Swimming, walking, jogging and running will all improve your cardiovascular health and help you conquer those long paddles.

After your first surf lesson, you will likely be sore and this will only increase in the following days.

Stretching before and after learning to surf will reduce muscle soreness and is a great habit to adopt for general injury prevention and flexibility.

Finally focusing on your diet and hydration can help with energy levels in the water leading to faster paddling and more waves.

2. Get comfortable in and around waves

The ocean and the waves it produces deserve respect. Just like any force of nature, waves are unpredictable and can be dangerous if not approached with caution and care.

Being around waves in and out of the water and carefully observing their behaviour can really help when it comes to learning to surf.

Understanding waves or wave knowledge can be nearly important as your surfing ability and comfort in breaking waves will leave you to focus on catching waves and having fun.

Try sea swimming when the swells up or playing in your local shore break (a wave breaking close to shore ideally on a sandy beach) to get comfortable in the surf.

Check out our 10 tips on how to catch more waves for other great ways to improve your surfing.

3. Consider booking a surf lesson

Surfing as a sport is notorious for the ‘just get on with it’ attitude and while this approach can and does work, getting a little assistance from a surfing professional can accelerate your surfing growth.

Good surf camps and instructors will cater to clients of all ages and can help guide you with things like selecting the right surfboards, wetsuit fit and where to surf.

Surf lessons will often include wetsuit and board hire which can be a budget-friendly way to try surfing without the pricy cost of your own gear.

The benefits of learning to surf are endless

Learning to surf can be transformational. The benefits to your physical and mental well-being are endless so I’ve listed a few crucial reasons you should learn to surf.

  1. Surfing is an all body workout – Between carrying your board to the beach, paddling out and catching/surfing waves your whole body gets a serious workout, developing your muscles and cardiovascular system.
  2. It’s great for your mental health – Being in and around the ocean is well known to improve your mood and demeanour. Match that with catching a few waves and you can experience a serious rush from surfing that can be hard to replicate. This is a key reason surfers dedicate their lives to finding and catching waves.
  3. Surfings social – Surfing is a perfect oppurtunity to meet people with the same passion as you. Most surfers will happily talk about boards, spots, conditions and more inbetween waves.
  4. Explore nature – Finding new beaches and experincing the coastline around you is a liberating experience. There’s no end to the new waves you can find if you’re willing to look far enough you may even fing some secret surfing spots.