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BYUH alumna says combat fear by staying calm when caught under a wave surfing so you can rise to the surface


It is important to be respectful when learning to surf.

Photo by Emarie Majors


If you are learning how to surf, here are some tips from Janna Irons in an Outside Magazine online article titled, “A Beginner’s Guide to Surfing.”

Step One


Find a beginner spot The first thing Irons suggests is to go to beginner spots, and before paddling out, make sure to watch the surf for at least 30 minutes to learn how the waves break. Castles Beach in Laie and Pua’ena Point in Haleiwa are good beginner spots close to campus and on the North Shore.

Step Two


Know the right of waveIt is also important to understand the rules and be respectful, says Irons. Surf etiquette is important to understand, which includes only one person per wave. The surfer closest to the break gets the right of way (or “ride of wave”), and paddle out away from the break, says Irons.

Step Three


Find a foam board and get out there! Amanda Penrod, a senior from Oceanside, California, majoring in English, suggested borrowing a soft top / foam board if you’re a new surfer. “If you don’t have any friends to go with you, one option is taking a lesson, but the other option is just doing it and watching other people surf,” she said.

BYUH alumna Katie Mower from Boise, Idaho, agreed. When she first learned to surf, her sister-in-law di lei gave her instruction once, then every time she went out with her brother di lei, he would leave her to figure it out herself, said Mower.

Overcoming fear


Getting past the fear of surfing “just came from watching people and trial and error,” said Mower. Penrod said even though she loves surfing there is still fear involved sometimes. Her remedy of lei is, “be more present and more mindful and more faith-filled. It helps to say a prayer, ”she explained.

“Meditating, taking deep breaths and grounding yourself can help alleviate fears.”

‘Know that it is okay to be afraid’


Mower said her family friend often says, “At the end of the day, it’s just water,” and the wave will pass over you. You might get hurt while surfing, but “to learn to surf. You kind of just have to be okay with that. … Embrace the water, ”she said.

Mower explained if she falls and is stuck underneath a wave, she will try to relax and stay calm instead of tensing up. Eventually, she “I’m going to get up, find the surface again and I’m going to be okay.”

If someone loves the water, loves being outside and loves being active, there is no reason they shouldn’t give surfing a try, she shared. “It is a great way to have fun.” However, Mower warned if you’re not experienced, to not go out in bigger waves.

Penrod added with more experience comes more comfort. For her di lei, understanding people are all in God’s hands di lei has helped her relax. “The water is reflecting the colors, and you’re just out there enjoying a beautiful sunset,” she said. “Doesn’t get any better than that.”

Go out there and try!


Nichole Whiteley, a junior majoring in communications from Saratoga Springs, Utah, said she went surfing for the first time last Fall Semester. She explained despite her fear of drowning and sharks, “I promise you’re going to regret not going.”

She said she is trying to get out of her comfort zone while in Ha- waii. “Live life to the fullest and experience new things because that’s the whole point of life … [to] learn and grow, ”said Whitely.

While first surfing, Whiteley was unable to catch a wave, but she said her experience led her to make a goal to start going to the gym and get stronger.

During her first day, a wave came and Whiteley’s surfboard was titled just enough for the wave to knock her over. At first, she was frustrated, but after falling in the water for the first time, she shared lei she felt more comfortable after that.

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