Surfing, the classic summer water sport, according to Peter Zabowski, owner of the Rehoboth Beach Boarding School, is easy and fun to learn for just about anyone.


Sure, summer is more than halfway over, but if you’re getting tired of the same old stale activities you’ve been participating in for two months, why not try something new?

Surfing, the classic summer water sport, according to Peter Zabowski, owner of the Rehoboth Beach Boarding School, is easy and fun to learn for just about anyone.

Zabowski runs classes at the Delaware beaches and said just about anyone can get themselves up and riding waves by the end of a two-hour lesson, just as long as they follow his steps to learning how to do so.

1. Safety first

Before anyone gets in the water with Zabowksi, he said he preaches the rules of safety and awareness in the water. There can be a lot of hazards in the water, he said, including your own surfboard, other surfers and their boards, driftwood and anything else floating around. Surfing defensively is the key, which means keep your head on a swivel and try to find open areas to ride a wave. Another key, Zabowski said, is to move side to side when surfing. For instance, if there’s a piece of driftwood in front of you when you’re paddling out, don’t paddle at it but instead move to the side. That way the wood can’t get washed in a wave right at you.

2. Find your board

When choosing a board, surfers have two main options — short and long boards — and a few things that fall into the in-between category. Short boards, Zabowski said, are quick, fun boards that one would typically use in bigger surf as it takes more power to get it going. Long boards, on the other hand, are technical pieces of equipment that are a bit tougher to control. For the novice surfer, Zabowski said he recommends an in-between board that is about 7 to 8 feet long, is easier to paddle and has a short-board shape that allows for tighter, easier turns.

3. Accessorize

Zabowski said there are two must-haves in the accessory department when it comes to surfing — a board leash and board wax. The leash attaches one end to the board, while the other end attaches to the surfer’s ankle, ensuring one’s board doesn’t go swimming by itself. The wax is applied to the surface of the board to create a grip between the board and the surfer’s feet. Without wax, the board would become slippery in the ocean. As far as apparel goes, Zabowski said, it all comes down to personal preference. If a surfer wants to stay warm, it’s wise to go with a wetsuit. But board shorts and other standard bathing suits work just as well.

4. Anyone can do it

For Zabowski, the only requirement he has when learning how to surf is that the student knows how to swim. Other than that, you just need a willingness to learn. He said he’s had students from age 6 up to 72 years old. Now something participants should be able to do is lift up from a position lying on their stomach to a standing position, which is how they’ll pop up on the surfboard. Zabowski said if you’re able to do a few pushups, that part shouldn’t be much of a problem.

5. Physical benefits

Surfing is a balance sport, meaning that muscles one wouldn’t normally use are utilized quite frequently in attempting to stay upright on a surfboard. Zabowski likened surfing to standing on a small boat that is constantly in motion. “You’re making adjustments to make the board level, but once you get used to the board, you don’t even realize you’re doing it,” he said. So those muscles strengthen and surfers get a different kind of workout from what they’ve ever been used to.

For more information on the Rehoboth Beach Boarding School, call 745-5804 or visit www.boardingschoolrb.com.

Email Brian Citino at brian.citino@doverpost.com.