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How Long Does it Take to Learn to Surf

Surfing is one of the most dynamic sports in the world. It requires a thorough understanding of the ocean, a wide range of physical skill sets, and the unique necessity of meshing the two together for true surfing success.

Many curious souls often ask, how long does it take to learn to surf? It is a question as dynamic as the sport itself, as everyone's journey is different, but one that does have a few 'average' answers we can give you.

The General Timeline

Before we can answer how long it takes to learn how to surf, you must define what' learning how to surf' really is and your expectations.

Is your definition simply standing up on a wave for the first time, or is it when you can call yourself a 'good' surfer?

With various goals, physical abilities, and past experiences, our surfing timelines will all be different. Still, there are many things you can do to become a solid surfer sooner than later.

Riding your First Wave

With a bit of help, such as a surfing friend or a surf school/personal lesson, and the right conditions, you can stand up on a wave in a day.

Their hands-on guidance and the ability to push you into your first wave will have you up and cruising in no time, and we highly suggest starting with this.

If you're taking on the task alone, it will take a little longer, as you'll have to put a lot more effort into paddling yourself into the wave. But with plenty of surfing education resources, you can still get it done in just a couple of sessions.

For more insight into these first surfing basics and the intro to catching your first wave, visit:

So how long does it take to learn how to surf in this case? If you have someone helping you, and your goal is to simply stand up and ride, call it one to four sessions.

Paddling yourself into a wave will take a lot more time spent in the water (estimated 1-2 months), and that's expected!

Becoming a "Good" Surfer

There's a big difference between standing up on a wave and taking surfing seriously. Someone who really knows how to surf can surf in a wide range of wave conditions, has a vast knowledge of the ocean, knows their limits, and can surf down a wave face while performing basic to advanced maneuvers.

There is absolutely no telling how long it will take you to reach this threshold of truly learning how to surf. Aside from the prodigies, it takes most people years before they can call themselves talented surfers, but here's how you can speed up the process:

The Right Board Choice

The wrong board will hold you back, whereas the right board will excel you forward. Board choice is everything.

If you're interested in learning how to surf, visit "The Ultimate Guide to Beginner Surfboards" to ensure you have a total understanding of your craft.

Practice and Consistency

The more you surf, the better you will get. How fast you learn how to surf is synonymous with how often you get to surf, and absolutely nothing will beat the experience gained in the water.

Learn about surfboards, use our Surfboard Volume Calculator to determine the perfect surfboard dimensions, and get out there as often as you can!!

Consistency is another critical element. Someone who surfs once a week for a year will better understand the muscle memory required for surfing than someone who gets a one-week trip to the coast per year.


Dedication is a somewhat different sphere than practice. Spend time watching informative videos, watching surf films of the pros, reading about surfing, and looking at images. You get the idea.

You will always continue learning if you are dedicated to the sport, even when you aren't in the water.

Everything you do on land translates into the water, and answering how long does it take to learn to surf becomes a smaller and smaller time window with this outside dedication.

Surfing Fitness

Surfing is one hell of a physical activity. The more physically able you are, the more you'll get out of every single session. You'll surf longer, harder, stronger. You can maintain the correct form and practice the right techniques with greater consistency.

We composed an entire "Boardcave's Guide to Surfing Fitness" just because of this insane importance, and working on your physical fitness is one surefire method of becoming a better surfer more consistently.

Balance And Flexibility

Flexibility is huge, promoting the longevity of our joints and muscles and helping us to surf more aggressively and stylishly. Work on flexibility with surfing yoga to surf better, and always stretch before your sessions.

You can always practice your balance, even when you aren't on a surfboard. Perhaps think about purchasing a balance board or working on balance exercise in your free time. Of course, our favorite way to learn how to surf quickly is to compliment surfing with a Surfskate- these things are rad!


You never want to surf well outside of your limits to the point that your life is threatened. But with this, you will never become a better surfer if you don't know how and when to push yourself, and bravery is everything.

Brave individuals who can learn from mistakes, exit their comfort zones, and try new things will always become better surfers before those who are reserved and intimidated.

How Hard is it to Learn How to Surf?

Surfing isn't easy, and that's why we love it. It's the challenge that makes us who we are, and that is precisely why we chase our sport with such passion.

Surfing at high-performance levels is demanding and challenging, but you know what, who cares?!

Everyone surfs differently and for unique reasons, and if all you want to do forever with the sport is simply ride a wave to shore, then have at it.

The best news? It really isn't that hard!

With the right approach, dedication, and a few sessions under your belt, you can master basic surfing without much stress or difficulty.

So How Long Does it Take to Learn How to surf?

You can expect to ride waves at a beginner level within the first day to 1-2 months (worst case) of surfing. It'll take a year or two to breach into the intermediate territory, and the journey never ends after that!

My biggest piece of advice? Enjoy every minute of it. You only get to learn how to surf once, so appreciate this incredible, life-altering lifestyle we are lucky to live!