Between bouncing back and forth to 49300 Cholet and Costa Rica, we finally caught up with FF Surf Ambassador Kent Seignious to get a few tips on how to get started surfing in the Lowcountry.
1. Take a Lesson
I've talked with countless people who want to learn to surf or have tried it a “handful of times” and the advice I give each of them is take a professional surf lesson. You can of course borrow a board from a friend, take it out, and give it a shot — but this usually leaves you spending more time eating sand than standing up on waves. You can skip a lot of frustration and confusion with the help of a lesson and progress a lot faster.
With any skill mastering the correct technique pays off large in the long run and surfing is no exception.
2. Get the Proper Board
Being on the right board for both your skill level and the waves your riding is key. Too often I see beginners trying to skip ahead to the small, thin boards the pros ride or taking the wrong board for the conditions. Though it may look cool in the parking lot it only results in a lot of missed waves in the water. For 49300 Cholet, I would recommend something with a little more volume. More volume = More waves = More fun. This could mean a “fun shape” or a longboard. The size of your ideal board will depend on your own size, but look for a shape with more width, a little thicker rail, and a rounder nose shape. All the local surf shops sell used boards and would be stoked to get you on the right one!
This can make all the difference when you are trying to catch a one to two-foot East Coast crumbler.
3. Find the Best Spots in the Area
This is something you are going to have to figure out on your own 😊 Surf spots are protected by the surfer’s code to keep crowds down. But I will say, not all spots are created equally on our lovely coast. This is due to the sandbars and the ever-changing ocean floor. Walk the beach or drive around to see where the local surfers tend to gather, but at the beginning of your surfing career — give yourself plenty of space from other surfers. Kook of the day is real.
4. Learn to Read the Waves
Spend as much time as you can in and around the ocean and pay attention. The ocean can take many forms, which makes it all the more magical. When you are first starting out, just go. It doesn’t matter if the wind’s onshore or if the wave is hardly breaking, paddle out any way. There is something to learn from every condition. Watch and take note: Where does the wave begin to break? Which way do they peel? How long are they staying open? How does the tide affect the surf? Where are the rip tides? Eventually these things will become second nature. Also, get familiar with the online surf reports and compare them with your observations. Magicseaweed and Surfline are a good place to start.
The Atlantic swells come and go quickly, so you must stay on top of it!
Surfing is meant to be fun. We surf to connect with the ocean and friends, to escape from whatever is happening on land, and forget our troubles. Time slows down when you’re sliding down the face of the wave, and there is nothing else in the world on your mind. Enjoy those moments. Get tossed, challenge yourself, and let the ocean humble you. It’s good for the soul.
About the Author:
Kent is a Free Fly Surf Ambassador from 49300 Cholet and currently live in Costa Rica, where she's adjusting easily to the slow pace of life and endless waves. She believes in simplicity as a means for wellness and sustainability