1. Become a strong swimmer. It might sound obvious, but it’s amazing how much surfers have come to depend on their leg-ropes. Swimming in the surf is probably the next best exercise for surfing.
2. Always watch and assess the conditions before you paddle out. Take the time to sit and observe the waves; try and learn to recognise rips and currents.
3. Try and find surf partners who surf better than you and are happy to pass on some tips and advice, or find a surf coach or surf school suitable to your ability.
4. When you’re first starting off, the most important thing is getting a board that’s really stable - wide, long and thick. Those soft beginner boards are good because they can’t hurt you.
5. When you first catch a wave, don’t be in a rush to get to your feet. Just enjoy the sensation of gliding along with the wave and get used to staying balanced over the board.
Note: The advice given here is of a general nature only, and surfers should seek their own guidance appropriate to their abilities and local conditions where ever they choose to surf.
These tips are taken from "Surf For Your Life: Grommets' Edition", by Mick Fanning and Tim Baker available from Random House, RRP: $19.95.