How Long Does It Take to Learn to Surf?Standing up on a surfboard for the first time is one thing, but really learning to surf properly, is a different story. The age old question, "how long will it take me to get good?".

Chris Bond


4 years ago in Surf

Standing up on a surfboard for the first time is one thing, but really, to learn to surf properly is a different story. The age-old question, “how long will it take me to get good?”. So, what exactly do you mean be getting good? “Well, you know, to be able to do tricks”. Okaaay, and what do you mean by a trick in surfing? “I don’t know, like a snap or 360 or an aerial”. Well, let’s just take a few steps back here, you may never be able to an aerial, many surfers who have been surfing for years don’t do aerials, and a lot don’t necessarily want to. “Oh, so then what will I be able to do?”

Surfing is a different sport, it doesn’t have the incessant focus on tricks like some other sports. You can set goals in surfing, definitely, but you also need to discover what type of surfing you like, do you want to do a snap, hang-five, get a barrel or simply go straight on the biggest wave you can find? These are all viable options, and it really is different strokes for different folks when it comes to surfing! So, how good will you get? This depends on so many different factors, but I thought I’d just give you two examples here of people who arrived on a Ticket to Ride trip having never surfed before way back in September 2014.

Smiley Sasha

Julius loving life

Sasha Cook was 18 when she arrived in Cape Town from England, her sister had done a surf trip in South Africa during her Gap Year and Sasha wanted to do the same. Julius, 16, arrived from Denmark with a keen interest in sports and especially table tennis. It is common to take a gap from school at that age in Denmark before finishing up the last two years.  Neither had surfed before and learned to surf at Muizenberg in Cape Town, with instruction from internationally qualified coaches.

Sasha and Julius, during their first week: Learn to surf in Muizenberg, Cape Town!

Sasha stands up for the first time

Julius on his first ever wave

From there they travelled up the coast of South Africa for 10 weeks surfing various types of waves and exploring the coastline, getting consistent coaching to keep pushing their surfing. When up in Durban they were confidently and consistently riding waves left and right, before heading up to for three weeks of tropical paradise in Mozambique to really work on their turns.

Sasha and Julius 10 weeks into the trip, enjoying the warm water in Durban and Mozambique.

After Mozambique in mid-December, they went their separate ways. Julius headed back down to Muizenberg to surf and teach ‘learn to surf’ beginner lessons, while Sasha headed over to do a ski season as a chalet host. Fast forward to 1 May 2015 and they both arrived in Indonesia keen to push their surfing again to new heights. Julius did the full 4-week trip with Ticket to Ride, whilst Sasha had time constraints and could only do two weeks, which she then extended to almost four weeks, as long as she could!

In Indo, they both kept pushing their surfing, and with the coaching and perfect waves, their surfing really went up and up in a short space of time.  Sometimes photos speak louder than words.

Four months after the trip to South Africa where they learned to surf properly. This is them surfing in Indonesia!

In total that leaves us with 9 months of surfing for these two, and there are many other similar cases even from this very trip! So, will you be doing airs in a few months? No, but if you are coached in the right way and dedicate a bit of time to it you can definitely become a pretty competent surfer! Is this better or worst than you imagined for 9 months of surfing?

Check out our “how-to” video if you are just getting into surfing!