How to learn to surf and progress in surfing- Advice from Wellington Surf School experts!

How to learn to surf and progress in surfing- Advice from Wellington Surf School experts!

Every summer of the past few years we’ve had the great pleasure of teaming up with our local surf school, ‘Wellington Surf Lessons’, to share the stoke of surfing with our local wāhine. It’s quickly become one of our favourite pastimes in the summer, as we get to meet so many epic ladies through our collab events, and now we have such an incredible community of salt sisters right here in Wellington. 


We got chatting with Stuart and Lisa from Wellington Surf Lessons and asked all about their hot tips for starting out in surfing to progressing in the waves! You can check them out here- 

Tell us a bit about you guys and your surf journey…
A little bit about the faces behind Wellington Surf Lessons. Stuart is a local Lyall Bay Surfer, who started surfing with his father at the age of 12. As a kid he was a very passionate skateboarder, but after one two many falls, he thought to give surfing a try, deciding that a fall in the water would be much more forgiving. So from that point surfing has been his passion. 

Lisa is from a small Island of 800 people off the coast of Ireland. So the ocean has always played a big part in her life. Growing up on the Island, surf life saving skills are strongly ingrained in the locals from a very young age. She, however, was introduced to surfing later in life when she met Stuart in 2017. As a couple with a shared love for the ocean and a desire to work from the beach they started Wellington Surf Lessons, and have loved watching it grow, bringing so many smiles to so many faces in Wellington over the years. They get so much enjoyment out of sharing their love for surfing and all of its wonderful benefits.

What made you start your surf school?

We wanted a job where we got to share our love and passion for the ocean with everyone in the community. There are so many health benefits to surfing we've seen over the years, from fresh air, nature, improved mental health and fitness to bringing friends and family together. Surfing definitely improves the quality of people's lives and we are so grateful we get to share this experience with everyone everyday!

What are your top 5 tips for beginner surfers?

  • Practice on the beach first to perfect your pop up.
  • Practice your pop up at home in front of the mirror then get someone to video from the beach next time you are in surfing.
  • Take a lesson - you’ll learn so much in just one session.
  • Keep your head up looking where you are going even during the pop up.
  • Ride the right size board for your level.. If your board doesn't have enough volume you’ll struggle. Start with a larger board first with more volume as this will give you more time to stand up, allow you to program in your foot placement properly then you’ll be able to make a natural progression to shorter board over time.

What is a common mistake you see happen frequently when people start out in their surfing journey?

  • They start on the wrong equipment. It’s important to have a board with enough volume that you’ll have enough success to improve.
  • They don’t take a lesson first to learn the basics. There’s so much you’ll learn even in one lesson with us. You’ll learn how to control your board in the water as well as surf etiquette which is really important for the safety of everyone in the water.

What is the best way to level up in your surfing from beginner to Intermediate?

Take lessons. Start on the right size board so you can build your confidence then work down to a shorter board over time. Make friends who surf and then surf as frequently as possible even if the conditions aren’t perfect.

Any final words!

Keep a light hearted approach to surfing, smile and treat everyone with respect in the water! Give at least one wave in each surf session to someone you.

Thanks Stuart & Lisa!