Intermediate Surfing Tips, Tricks & Techniques


Do you feel stuck in a rut when it comes to surfing?

Take your surfing to the next level with our intermediate surfing tips backed by decades of surfing knowledge.


Surf Reefs And Point Breaks

Beach breaks are fantastic, but more mechanical waves are hiding just around the next headland.

Reef breaks are surf spots that break over rock or coral, and unlike sand, they offer a stationary ocean floor, making for predictable waves and defined take-off zones that only change with the tide and swell size.

Point breaks can be sand, rock or coral, but unlike beaches and reefs, they break along a coastline, making for leg-burning rides and dreamy waves.

Start Surfing Junkie Waves 

Surfing perfect waves is great, but you’ll need to lower your standards if you want to surf regularly.

Surfing choppy waves is the perfect way to train before a solid, clean swell eventually arrives.

You can catch loads of waves and work on better balance and paddling with the non-stop duck dives and short, snappy rides.

Try Different Types Of Surfboards

Many surfers reach the intermediate level by surfing only one or two boards. 

Variety is the spice of life, and trying out different surfboard shapes and models will open up your mind to the myriad of waves you can ride a wave.

Popular options include:

  • Shortboards
  • Foamies
  • Longboards
  • Fish
  • Hybrids
  • Grovellers
  • Twin fins
  • Mini mals

I’m not suggesting you spend all your hard-earned cash on new boards. 

Ask your friends and fellow surfers for a quick shred. You’ll be surprised how many surfers are stoked to share the joy of their favourite board (please, don’t ding it!).

variety of surfboard shapes

Work On Your Bottom Turn 

The bottom turn is the core of all great surfing, period.

Whether high-performance surfing or longboarding, an excellent bottom turn will set up every manoeuvre you perform on the wave.

surfer leaning into a bottom turn on an overhead wave

Surf With Someone Better Than You

This surfing tip is a real game changer. Paddling out with surfers who are better than you is a perfect way to push you to your limits.

You can analyse their technique in the water, watch how they paddle out, navigate the lineup, and ask for honest feedback on your technique, paddling, and equipment size.

surfer throwing the whole back of their surfboard out the wave during a manoeuvre

Travel To Surf

Travelling to surf is the perfect way to surf new waves and challenge your surfing skills.

Whether heading an hour or two up the coast or flying to warmer waters, new surf spots can surprise you with their power and quality, especially if you live in an area that lacks quality swell.

Just remember to check you’ve got the right board size for travelling.

tropical waves on an island

Practice Surfing At Home

If you want to maximise your surfing progression in the water, you need to work out of the ocean.

Starting to practice surfing at home will have untold benefits when the next swell eventually arrives.

You can use balance boards, try skateboarding or develop a simple bodyweight exercise routine to keep you surf fit.

balance board perfect for practising your surfing at home

Learn How To Read Waves

An understanding of the ocean and how waves form and break can only be achieved by doing one thing: watching and surfing waves.

Whether catching waves in the lineup or spectating from the cliffs, you should always try to understand how waves break.

The fate of your ride depends on your ability to predict what waves will do ten or even twenty feet down the line.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your local beach break or a new surf break you’ve never visited before; assess how the waves are breaking to help inform your positioning in the lineup and your paddle-out route.

powerful reef break with a strong offshore wind

Start Swimming

We all know the best way to get better at surfing is by catching more waves, but taking a step back, you can quickly see that your wave count all hinges on your paddling.

Hitting the pool with a focus on your arms using techniques like freestyle is one of the most fun ways to get your paddle strength up when the waves are flat.

A strong paddle technique will help you reach the lineup quicker in between waves, and your hard work will pay off when you can catch into waves that other surfers can’t quite catch.

view from the inside of a crystal blue barrel