About The Double-Daring Book for Girls

Learning how to surf

Surfboards are made to float: They have a natural center of gravity. The goal is to keep your board floating and centered even when you’re on it. Lying on the board so close to the front that the nose dips into the water is called pearling; lying on the board too close to the back is called corking. Either way, you should adjust by moving toward the middle until both ends of the board are balanced. Once you find that sweet spot, you can mark the location using a Magic Marker or bit of wax to note where your chin lined up on the board in that position. That way, you have a guideline for the next time you ride.


Catching a Wave: Paddling

To find a wave, you have to paddle out to where the waves are. Lie on your stomach on the middle of the board, and raise your head slightly as you use your bent arms to paddle. Use the crawl stroke, alternating arms. Cupping your hands as you paddle helps you scoop through the water, pushing hard as your arm moves past your hip, and propelling you forward. Paddle past the breaking waves, and then point your board toward the beach and begin to paddle again as the waves come toward you. To catch a wave, you need to paddle at about the same speed as the oncoming wave. As the wave catches up with you while you paddle, that’s when you pop up on the board to stand up and ride the surf.

Popping Up on the Board

This part involves jumping up from paddle position to standing on the board. You can practice the pop-up on your board in the water, but there are two dry-land drills that can help you get the “pop up” down: For the first one, think of it as if you were starting a race. Begin on your stomach (“On your mark!”), then press yourself up off the floor with your hands (“Get set!”), and then move into a race start position, that is, a crouch (“Go!”), with hands and feet touching the floor.
For the second, put the board down, and lie on your stomach right on the middle of the board. Keep your feet touching the board, and place your hands on the edge of the board as if you’re going to do a push-up—because that’s actually just what you’re about to do! Do a push-up, and when you get to the top of your push-up, jump your feet forward so that you are in a crouching position. From there, stand up. Practice this until you can do it comfortably.

Standing on the Board

Once you’re up, stand facing toward the beach with one foot in front of the other, knees bent to keep your center of gravity low, and grip the board with your feet. Crouch as low as you can go while still standing, making sure to stand over the middle of your board with your front foot angled at 90° to the deck. Extend your arms for balance, looking up. To turn, shift your weight to your back foot and lean in the direction you want to go. To speed up, shift your weight to your front foot. If you feel yourself falling and want to hop off, jump off to the side of your board feet first, rather than in front of or behind it (otherwise, you risk the board popping up and bopping you on the head).