What to Expect in Your First Surf Lesson in Lanzarote


Welcome to our special series on the Calima Surf Blog. In today’s article, we will be interviewing Pablo, the head of our instructor team, who will share essential tips for those thinking about starting to surf for the first time.


Pablo, for someone about to dive into the world of surfing, what are the essential first steps they should take before their first surf lesson in Lanzarote?

For me, the most crucial thing is to have good guidance. Establishing that first contact is essential, truly the most important. It’s fundamental to start on the right foot for several reasons, mainly for safety. In the sea, you’ll face waves and strong currents, so it’s vital to be well prepared and to understand how the ocean works.

Surfing is something that once you start, can get you hooked for life

However it’s very easy to pick up bad habits at the beginning, especially if you’ve been trying to learn on your own, maybe by watching videos on Youtube or learning with friends. 

You might think you’re doing it right, but without proper guidance, you could be making significant mistakes without even realizing it and this is when people tend to get frustrated.

These small errors can become significant obstacles as you progress and aim to improve. That’s why having an instructor from the start is key, not just to ensure your safety, but also to guarantee that you’re learning the correct techniques right from the beginning.

For all these reasons, I recommend choosing a surf school and an instructor right from the start. At Calima, we take this very seriously to ensure that the introduction to surfing is as good as it can possibly be.


In terms of equipment, what is essential for a beginner, and how can Calima Surf provide these items?

For a novice, it’s crucial to have a board with good volume. What does that mean? Volume translates to buoyancy, which allows you to catch more waves and maintain better stability in the water. So, if you’re starting out, the more volume, the better. It will help you keep your balance and allow more room for mistakes.

Before each surf lesson, proper preparation is also vital. We recommend coming with an open mind, without expectations, and paying close attention to your instructor from the start. This way, you ensure you’re fully prepared for your first wave, and with our guidance, we guarantee an incredible and safe experience in the water.

What kind of physical or mental preparation do you recommend for beginners before facing their first wave?


What kind of physical or mental preparation do you recommend for beginners before taking on their first wave?

For those just starting out and facing their first wave, my advice is to come without expectations, with an open mind. It’s key to listen to your instructor from the start, absorb everything they say, and then, simply, go with the flow of the experience. I assure you, you’re going to enjoy it a lot.

In your first steps, we’ll stay close to the shore, in gentler and more manageable waves. There’s no need to worry about facing big waves right away. We’ll start with small waves, probably waist or chest high, as they’re easier to handle and allow you to practice and gain confidence.

Sometimes, when you’re laying on the board and see a wave coming, it might seem much bigger than it really is. But once you’re standing up, you realize it wasn’t that big, maybe just knee-high. It’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed at first, but we’re here to support and encourage you and make you feel comfortable. We’ll guide you step by step so you feel secure and can fully enjoy the surfing experience in Famara. Remember, progress comes with one step at a time and some patience, managing your expectations and enjoying the process!


Is there any “ritual” that your instructors follow to instill confidence in novice surfers?

Every surf camp instructor has their own style when teaching and I think thats great. Personally, I like to create a relaxed atmosphere right from the beginning; a few jokes here and there, make everyone feel more comfortable and loosen up a bit. The essential thing is to get to know each person a bit before getting into the water, understand what brings them to start in the world of surfing, whether they just want to go out there and have some fun, or whether they really want to know about surfing and consider doing it in a consistent basis. Depending on this I might approach the lesson in one way or another.

The relationship between the instructor and the student is crucial. That connection is key for the student to relax and enjoy the experience.


Many beginners come with preconceived ideas about surfing. What are the most common myths you’d like to debunk?

A common myth among beginner surfers is the concept of how to generate speed on the board. Many think that simply leaning forward will make them accelerate, but this isn’t correct. Is more about foot placement and utilising the back knee in order to gain speed.

I often see this mistake, especially in those with little experience or coming from other schools and this can really hinder your ability to progress, especially as you start to work on turns where you want to be controlling the board more from the back rather than the front.


During the first surf lesson in Famara, what’s the balance between theory and practical water activities?

In the first lesson, we strike a balance between theory and practice. We have to carefully go through a safety talk which is extremely important when dealing with the ocean.It’s fundamental to understand how currents work and how to stay safe in the water.

Once we’ve covered that, we begin with practical fundamentals, such as how to lie correctly on the board and distribute your weight well to avoid pearling or being too far back and constantly being slowed down.

This first posture is super important, and it’s essential to consider that not everyone has the same height or weight, so it’s necessary to adapt to the student and not give the same theory to everyone. Some students may have their feet completely off the board when lying down, while others may have them on the board.

We ensure the board remains flat from the start with enough stability by using the hips and lifting the chin and chest.

So, we emphasize the correct technique from the beginning, like the pop-up, to avoid forming bad habits. But safety is our priority, especially for novices.

We make sure everyone feels safe, keeping groups small, with a maximum of 8 students per instructor, for this personalized attention.

If necessary, we provide additional assistance to ensure no one is swept away by the current, and all students are constantly under surveillance. Our instructors, in addition to being surfing experts in Famara, are trained in water rescue, ready to act in any situation.

We always remind beginners of the importance of patience and respect for the sea, focusing on enjoying each step of learning.


The fear of big waves or “swallowing water” can be overwhelming for some. How do you help your students overcome these initial fears?

The first thing for a novice is to understand that at the beginning, they shouldn’t worry too much about big waves. Since we start with the basics, in shallow waters, where the waves are not so intimidating. Often, what looks like a giant wave when you’re lying on the board is actually much more manageable than it seems. It’s important to remember that, initially, we focus on small waves, knee- or chest-high, much easier to handle.

Even for those with a bit more experience, it’s natural to feel a bit of nervousness. We remind them that even experienced surfers have respect for the sea in big wave conditions. The crucial thing is to stay calm. If our students are in the water, it’s because we believe in their capabilities. We always recommend that they listen to their instructor, stay close, and follow the instructions. Most of the time, fear is more of a mental issue. By staying calm, they give themselves a chance to overcome those fears and enjoy more.


Once they’ve gotten past the first surf lesson, how do you encourage beginners to keep going and improve their skills?

In my opinion, oftentimes it’s not even necessary. Many get hooked from the first time they manage to stand up on the board and feel the connection with the sea. Those first waves they catch and that unique feeling of gliding over the water leave such a strong impression that they want more.

Of course, there are those who initially find it difficult, and that’s totally normal. Everyone progresses at their own pace. The important thing is to keep spirits high and focus on continuous improvement. A good smile, a positive environment, and above all, showing them their mistakes in a constructive way.

At Calima, we’re always there to provide the necessary corrections, making sure that every step our students take is firm and safe.

I always tell them: patience is fundamental in surfing. Not every day is the same at sea, and you won’t feel the same on the board every day. But with each surf class, with each wave, with each fall, and each achievement, you’re one step closer to improving. And we’ll be there to celebrate it.


Is there any “insider” advice you’d like to share with those who feel surfing might become their new passion?

My advice is simple: give it a try and dare to do it. Take that first step, and if you can, plan it for your vacation. Summer is ideal for starting, especially because the waves tend to be gentler and more manageable for beginners. This not only makes learning easier but also allows you to enjoy the surf experience in Canary Islands more fully. You’ll also find yourself surrounded by people who, just like you, are there to learn, and if you choose a community and a learning group, you’ll be in environments where you’ll feel supported.

The friendships that are formed and the experiences go beyond the sport itself; it’s an opportunity to connect with nature and with other people. Remember, surfing is more than just catching waves; it’s learning to read the sea, to respect nature, and to enjoy every moment. 

Thank you very much, Pablo, for sharing these tips with the future surfers reading this, we hope this talk has been productive. At Calima Surf, we’re here to make your start in surfing an unforgettable experience.

Calima Surf

Calima Surf

Teaching surfing since 1996


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