Many people take surfing lessons, perhaps from a company like Pacific Surf. Many of them just take lessons for fun, with no intention of actually becoming a surfer. But what if you do want to become a surfer—someone who hits the waves weekly and perhaps even enters competitions now and them? Finding a good surfing instructor is an important first step, but you'll also need to take the right approach to your surfing lessons. Here's how.
Start with a large board.
Your surf instructor may give you the option of starting on a smaller board, since learning to stand on such a board is a lot easier. But if you have serious surfing goals, you are better off learning on a longboard from the start. The mechanics are a bit different on a longboard, and the way you balance is also a bit different. Learn this from the start, and you won't have to re-teach yourself later when you switch to a longer board.
Master one lesson before moving onto the next.
You might assume that if you want to excel as a surfer, you need to move through the lessons and advance as quickly as possible. But really, you're better off taking your time in the beginning. Master getting up on the board before you start riding longer waves. Master riding straight ahead before you start learning how to turn. The better you learn the basics in the beginning, the easier time you'll have applying them as you advance.
Work out when you're not in lessons.
Between your surfing lessons, spend some time stretching, running, and performing strength-building exercises with your lower body and core. You need to be strong to surf well, and to build that strength, you need to do something other than just surf. Ask your instructor to recommend some exercises based on your unique needs. They can show you how to perform them properly, too.
Spend time sitting on the board.
Another thing to do between lessons is just to paddle out and spend some time sitting on your board out in the waves. This might seem silly, but it helps you learn the rhythm of the waves. That rhythm, and the way in which you feel it deep within you, needs to become second-nature for you to excel as a surfer. You can develop a lot of that feeling by just sitting on a board and feeling the motion of the ocean.