Bub wrote:Just wondering how you progressed them in the water. I have a 9 year old daughter and I've taken her out in small surf on my board a few times when she was 7 and 8....just trying to catch and ride small 2-3 ft. shore-break white water into the sand. But she's gotten and few bumps and bruises by the board the 1or 2 times she tried and is still scared for me to take her out a little further where the water is deeper. Any recommendations on how to overcome fears and progress her? She's very athletic, swims ok, but has fears of the ocean still. We live 200 miles from the shore so she only gets a few opportunities a year to surf with me. We're taking a 7 day vacation and I plan to surf every day (waves permitting) and hopefully I can get her out there a few days as well.
Yeah we had some panic a few times early on, conditions are everything, a slow day when you and I would usually sit out is a perfect learning day for them when they are starting out. Nice small morning glass 1 to 2 ft is perfect and magical for them if you are lucky. My little one (8)panicked a few times but in hindsight the conditions were too choppy and the shore break was too steep(not big, but pounding the beach bad). The break and the time have to be right especially for the first few times when they are building confidence and learning to respect and appropriately fear the ocean, but not in a panic. The other thing is more of a parenting thing. I love and pamper my girls but when we go surfing I tell them to leave "little princess on the beach" the first few times they began to complain of the salt in the eyes, the rash, getting hit by the board, etc I lovingly jaded them about whether they were going to be wahines or whininees. The middle one got stung mildly by a jellyfish and was yelling in fear "daddy, a jellyfish got me" I responded with "congratulations" as if it was some type of oceanic initiation. It caught on, they are now developing some grit. I drill them about never diving off head first and about lingering a bit underwater after wipeouts as to not get clobbered by the board, as well as coming up with your hands protecting your head from the board. Another helpful thing was to show them even if bigger sets come when they are out further that they can just dive under the wave. They were amazed that they could go under it like that.
Regular paddling was really hard for the two smaller ones, but they took to knee paddling like crazy. I push them into most waves still and try to get them in way before the wave steepens so they are way out front. It is amazing what the combination of only weighing 60lbs and being pushed in can do for wave catching. They can ride anything. One of those photos looks like she barely has the wave, she has it and will take it all the way in. Riding tandem is a cool way too if conditions are nice. I think that because I have 3, they see the other one do something and it challenges/comforts them to overcome the fears and discomforts. My youngest was the first to actually surf. I was showing her sister how to boogie board and my surfboard was floating next to me on a small day.
She got on the surf board goofing around paddled a few strokes and caught wave in by accident, stood up and rode it in. It was funny, she got scared later that day, she didn't even think about what she was doing and just did it. That challenged the older ones to not be outdone by their little sister. Fun times. Hope it goes well at the beach, hopefully you will score some surf during your visit. Have fun and be safe