Swimming and Surfing

Surfing has grown in popularity over the past 20 years. But if you can’t swim you’ll be left on the beach.

Surfing is a sport where you stand on a surfboard and ride the crest of a wave (usually in the sea) back to the shore. You’ll need to be fit to surf as it’s pretty intense!

There are a few variations of surfing. You can stand on a longboard, shortboard or lie face down on a bodyboard. There are even surfers who don’t use a board at all, just special swimfins on their feet!

Surfing involves swimming out to ‘catch’ a wave, so being able to swim is a must.

It is mostly done in the sea - but sometimes in lakes, rivers, and manmade wave pools - and underwater currents can sweep surfers away from the shore, which is dangerous.

Swimming level needed

Although you can be any age to learn to surf, you should have at least intermediate swimming skills.

You also need to be a strong open water swimmer with a good front crawl - you use this to get out to the wave

  • Track down swimming lessons at your local pool with our Pool Finder. They be able to guide you on your ability in advanced surfing.
  • Check out our Open Water section for advice swimming out of the pool

You will also find surf clubs, surf schools and other information on the Surfing Great Britain website.

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