ALWAYS READ THE OCEAN: Josh Sherwell and Andy Lister check the surf at Maroochydore.
ALWAYS READ THE OCEAN: Josh Sherwell and Andy Lister check the surf at Maroochydore. John McCutcheon

Read the ocean, then hit the water


LEARNING to surf involves so much more than just riding the waves.

Numerous conditions and factors must be taken into account before each session.

Which beach will have waves at which tide?

Which direction is the swell coming from?

How does the wind affect the waves? How can I tell where the rips are?

Learning to "read the ocean" is an essential skill that the coaching staff at XL will help develop with you.

But like anything, developing knowledge about an ever-changing environment takes time and experience.

The competent surfer has proficient knowledge of the conditions before they enter the water. The conditions such as tide, swell and wind will determine the quality of the waves.

The experienced coaches from XL Surfing Academy will help to develop the knowledge you require in becoming a confident surfer.

>> DON'T MISS A LESSON: Click here then click 'follow topic' get a new lesson each day of the series

Offshore winds: This is when the wind is coming from the land towards the ocean, making the surf most favourable with clean conditions that aren't choppy.

Onshore winds: This is when the wind is coming from the ocean towards the beach, making the surf wind-affected and choppy. These winds are not pleasurable to surf in, but the right direction onshore wind (east/south-easterly) and weather patterns is what brings the swells on to the Coast's beaches that the more experienced surfers wait upon.

Just remember: if you are caught in a rip on a surfboard, stay calm, stay on your board (your float) and signal or call for assistance.

It is always a great idea if you are a novice to tackle smaller surf, head out with a mate and look out for each other or surf at a beach where a life guard can keep an eye on you.

Wave of the day at Alexandra Headland. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily
GIVE RIGHT OF WAY: Surf rage can result from surfers not giving way. Brett Wortman


SURFING is a very popular activity here on the Sunshine Coast.

Often the water can be a busy place with a variety of surf-craft users competing for the same waves.

Like traffic laws on the road, rules need to be followed by surfers along with some courtesy to ensure the water is a safe and fun environment. By following these basic rules, you'll save yourself from injury or hurting others:

1. Don't drop in

Basically, this means the person closest to the peak of a breaking wave has the right to ride it.

Wait your turn in the line-up. (As a beginner, avoid the line-up until you are confident you can do controlled take-offs). And don't catch a wave and then turn straight back around and catch another straight away.

2. Paddle wide

Don't paddle out to the line-up through the impact zone (where the waves are breaking and people are surfing) or where others are waiting to catch a wave. When paddling out, a surfer riding the wave always has right of way.

3. Communicate

When catching a wave, let others know which way you are going. Refrain from verbally abusing other surfers.

4. Don't throw your board

HANG on to your board. Learn to duck dive to get under waves. Make sure your legrope is intact. Never throw your board - it could seriously injure someone.

5. Respect the beach, the ocean and others

RESPECT the beach locals, don't be a wave hog and respect more experienced surfers than yourself. Do your bit to keep the beach and ocean clean.

Surf rage. Signs at Alexandra Headlands provides surfers with a rundown of basic surf code of respect. Photo: Che Chapman / Sunshine Coast Daily
The surf etiquette sign at Alexandra Headland provides surfers with a rundown of the basic code of respect. Che Chapman