River Surfing Tips for Beginners

River surfing is an upcoming and popular sport that originated in Australia. It doesn't rely on the tides and you don't need to be at the ocean to take part. There are many different kinds of river waves, but the most common type are standing waves caused by water moving over a slope or a drop that causes a wave. By facing upriver you can use these waves for surfing. Here are some basic river surfing tips that will help you if you are beginner. 

Basic River Surfing Safety

Always wear a helmet to protect your head. This is especially important if you are surfing with other people, as other people's boards can be hazardous. Make sure you wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) that is designed for surfing and also right for your size and weight. You should also wear a wetsuit to keep you warm and some wetsuit boots to protect your feet from rocks. 

Choosing Your Surfboard

If you are a beginner, you should probably opt for a wider surfboard that will provide you with extra flotation. You should also look for a board that is made of epoxy rather than fiberglass. An epoxy board is much harder and less prone to damage. 

Looking after Your Surfboard

Always carry with you a surfboard repair kit, some extra fins (especially if you are surfing in a shallow river) and some board wax. A little board wax on the tip of your surfboard will give you much better traction. Make sure when you have finished using your surfboard you transport it in a board bag to prevent any damage happening in transit. 

Surfboard Leashes

In deep water using a leash will allow you to find your board easily. A leash will also help you use your board for flotation. If you choose to use a leash it should be at least the length of your surfboard. However, be aware that leashes can be very dangerous in fast moving water if they get trapped or stuck around something. You are far safer using a leash in deeper water. If you are using a leash with your surfboard you should always carry a knife sharp enough to cut the leash if necessary. Make sure the knife is easily within reach.  

From Surfing to River Surfing

If you have spent any time surfing on the ocean you will notice some fundamental differences between ocean surfing and river surfing. First, you will find little need to paddle when you are river surfing. However, you will need to assess the waves far more when you are looking for your access point. If you don't get off on the wave right you will easily be washed downstream, or have to climb out onto the banks to move back up the river. 

You will also notice that rivers are less buoyant than the ocean since they have a far smaller volume. This means that you will have to work harder to remain above water. River surfing is a very tiring sport, but once you've got the knack, it's as exciting as any ocean!