Surfing in Woolacombe, Devon- My first lesson

Surfing in Woolacombe, Devon- My first lesson

Surfing attempt in Woolacombe

I have always been an avid fan of surfers. Watching surfers glide through a wave. How breathtaking it is to watch. They make it look so effortless with their perfect balance and moves. Surfing in Woolacombe is very popular. People travel for miles to surf here.

Surfing Woolacombe Devon

My Brother James has been surfing since his teenage years and he is pretty good. James surfs all year round. James’ son is only 2 and is a massive fan of the water and not afraid to get on the board and do a bit of body boarding with his Daddy.

Surfing lesson Woolacombe Devon
Brody. My Nephew.

I have been wanting to learn for ages and James kindly offered to show me how. It was agreed I would meet him in Woolacombe for my lesson. We visited Woolacombe Bay Beach recently just to explore and soak up the sun.


I don’t own a wetsuit so I hired one from the local shop in Woolacombe which cost £7.00 for 4 hours. I thought 4 hours would be enough but it went so quick. 

For those of you that have never put on a wetsuit before, it is not easy. I found myself on the floor with legs in the air struggling to get the darn suit on. It was like putting on a wet pair of jeans that had shrunk about 5 sizes smaller. Only the wetsuit was dry. 

After huffing and puffing and letting out various groans. I had to ask for help. Well, I completely misunderstood the instructions from my family and put it on backward. At this point, I felt stuck in the suit and felt extremely claustrophobic. 

James stood there when he saw me struggle and nearly wet himself laughing. Instead of coming to my aid to help his dear sister he took pictures. 

Surfing in woolacombe Devon

Here’s me looking like a right goon! 

The plastic sock is a must!

His wife Ruth also laughing appeared with a plastic sock, telling me that I needed it to help put the wetsuit on. Wish I knew that before!

After taking the suit back off and then putting the plastic sock on, I was able to get into the suit a bit easier. Putting a wetsuit on is a task and a half. Have you tried to put a wetsuit on before?

Carrying the board 

I’ve sat on the beach before and would watch Surfers carry their board which looks effortless to the water. Well, I have short arms and struggled and I was also so concerned about hitting people on the route down to the beach. At one point I even carried the board on my head.


Walking along the beach in the hired wetsuit with my Brothers board I felt this sense of excitement. I was apprehensive but was ready to give it a go.

Surfing Woolacombe Devon


First off we had a lesson on the sand. James showed me how from a lying position I was to jump up in what looked like a very smooth manoeuvre to a standing with the knees bent. This took a bit of time.


James was very clear about the safety issues also. He went through instructions on what to do if I came off the board on how to protect myself, which seemed quite likely!

Surfing Woolacombe Devon
James and I going into the water with the boards.

Mistake No.1

We made our way into the water which was now about chest height and a wave came, I let the board go sideways in front of me. It went up and hit me straight in the mouth. I heard the crack and it was very painful. James heard the crack in my mouth too. I had to ask him if I had lost any teeth. All was okay, thankfully and we got on with it. Lesson learned there. Keep the board to the side of you!

Surfing in Woolacombe Devon


The waves would come and at first, the strength of the wave would take me back towards the beach where I also swallowed a ton of seawater. There was a lot of coughing and spluttering.  I quickly picked up that you go into the wave rather than it takes you. 

On James’ instruction, I was to hop on to the board and balance myself with my head pointing towards the beach. This took a few attempts! There were only a few seconds of space to get the moment right and with this being my first attempt, it’s harder than it looks.


As I was perfectly balanced, I felt this massive push. The water took me towards the beach. I felt like I was going 100 miles per hour. I let out some sort of arrgghhhhh noise as I headed towards the beach. 

This felt amazing! I loved it. It was like being on a ride at theme park yet it came with a sense of being ALIVE! 

Riding the water at full pelt I became aware of the people stood in the water. Crap! I didn’t know how to stop it and we hadn’t covered how you move on the water. Seeing a youngster in front of me I just shouted out MOVE…DON’T WANT TO HIT YOU. The youngster moved a few inches to the side without a care. Maybe I wasn’t going as fast as a thought.

James told me how to manoeuvre the board but I still didn’t get to grips with it as I was holding on to the board so tight.

Taking things to the next level James thought it would be good if I now tried to kneel on all fours on the board once in motion. I did attempt it but didn’t manage it. 


The 4 hours flew by so quick and I only just handed in the suit with a couple of minutes to spare.


It was such a fun-filled day. We had lots of laughs (mostly at my expense) I definately want to try again. The feeling of being in the water with a board is an amazing sensation. I am pleased with how the day went but it will take a fair few lessons before I can surf a wave. In the meantime, I will have the best time trying.

Have you tried surfing in Woolacombe? or ever tried surfing?

Surfing Woolacombe Devon




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