Surf Tips by Zuma Surf and Swim for people learning to surf in Southern California

Wondering about how to approach a new surf spot? Nervous about paddling out in a crowded lineup? Having trouble on certain days at a spot you've been surfing a lot?

I've put together 10 tips for beginner and intermediate surfers that I feel are essential in becoming a better surfer. They'll help you to figure out new surf spots before you even paddle out and will help you to progress your skills at a faster rate. I've surfed up and down the California coast since I was 10 years old and have surfed all around the world. I've found that the better you are able to assess a spot and the conditions before you paddle out, the better experience you'll have out there. You won't be that person paddling out in the wrong spot about to get pounded on the rocks, or that guy/girl sitting way out in the channel letting everyone know that you have no idea where to sit to catch waves.

I hope these tips will help you to be successful as your surfing as you branch out to new spots and more challenging waves. But we can't give them to you all at once! Just one tip at a time, so you really take the time to think about it and put it into action.

Tip #1: Watch the water. (Yes, just like in the movie the North Shore. Sit and stare at the waves. You will start to see the subtle differences.)

Watch the water before you paddle out and as much as you can. Spend at least five minutes watching the surf and conditions before you paddle out. Maybe take this time to stretch out a bit? Figure out where the rocks are which way the current is going. Are there big sets every few minutes? Is it safe to paddle out today? Begin to develop a strategy that will help you to have a successful session. Decide where the best place to paddle out is. Which surfers are catching waves and which are not? If it’s a new beach, ask a lifeguard if there are rip-currents or where the surfing zone is. Watch other surfers paddle out. If you paddle out there will you get washed into the jetty? Taking this time to watch the water is crucial for two reasons: 1.) It will help you to become a safe and knowledgeable surfer, and 2.) once you begin to understand everything going on and are able to see the small variances in waves and conditions, you will be much more successful at catching waves. If you are running on the beach - watch the water. If you are hanging on the beach with friends or family - watch the water. If you are driving along the Pacific Coast Highway - watch the water. Just kidding! Watch the road!


Cyber this, cyber that...it's much more fun to just surf! Holiday surf lesson gift certificates available

Forget about all those hyped sales and just spend more time surfing. Zuma Surf and Swim Training offers gift certificates to make your holiday shopping easy and to help you get the people that you care about an amazing gift.

Here's how it works:
You email or call us to let you know you would like a Gift Certificate.
Or, just simply purchase one directly through our website. Purchase here.
We'll then email you a Gift Certificate that you can print and give to your loved one.
When they're ready to go surf, just give us a call or email and we'll find the best time to get out there.

It's super easy and they'll have a blast!!

Check out our YELP reviews to see what other clients have said about us.

Zuma Surf and Swim Training instructors sneak in a few waves in perfect Santa Monica surf conditions

We've seen some classic fall conditions this year with clean, peaky mellow waves in Santa Monica. Perfect for surf lessons...and for our instructors to catch a few of their own!

Kai Sanson, showing the kids how to get that Wavestorm moving.



Jonathan on a nice, easy cruiser.





Colin, catching a few on a wild, stormy day. Photos by: James Liu Photography




Zuma Surf & Swim Training Facebook Page

Check out our Facebook page! So go on and “like” us, if you will. There’ll be lots of good surf-related info and resources on there, including helpful articles, people/places/things we recommend, tips, latest happenings, special deals, and so on and so on. Oh yeah, we'll also try to update it with epic surf shots in case you need some surf stoke while stuck at the office…

Click the image below to go to our page (and “like” us...).