Choosing your surfing skill level

Different ability levels means we can tailor coaching to individual ability levels

In surfing there can seem to be an endless amount of skills to learn; but practise makes perfect.

The way in which you progress as a surfer varies hugely between individuals. The surfing skill levels we use are simply a way to try and make sure you are receiving the correct coaching to your ability level.


Learning the fundamentals of surfing, the focus is on catching waves and standing up.

Beginner Surfing Skill Levels

Beginner Level 1

A total beginner to the sport

  • In the white-water catching waves
  • Learning how to position yourself on a surfboard
  • Learning how to catch waves
  • Attempting to stand

Beginner Level 2

A beginner with limited experience

  • In the white-water catching waves
  • Know where to position yourself on a surfboard
  • Learning how to stand or standing inconsistently
  • Practising paddle technique

Beginner Level 3

A beginner with some experience and consistency in their ability to stand

  • Regularly catching white-water waves through paddling
  • Know where to position yourself on a surfboard
  • Starting to increase the length of time standing on the board
  • Speeding up getting to their feet/pop-up


At this level the focus has shifted from getting to your feet to board control, length of ride to starting to introduce manoeuvres.

Improver Surfing Skill Levels

Improver Level 1

Standing consistently and starting to use weight distribution

  • Comfortable at consistently standing on a surfboard
  • Using weight distribution correctly to slow down and speed up
  • Beginning to look to turn the board left and right
  • Aware of and applying surfing etiquette

Improver Level 2

Paddling into white-water waves without assistance

  • Introducing rail to rail surfing and speed generation
  • Learning how to paddle through the white-water; starting turtle roll/duck dive/punch through waves
  • Adjusting their stance to enable turning
  • Has confidence in their paddling

Improver Level 3

Can paddle out the back on smaller days and catch waves consistently

  • On smaller days know how to paddle through the white-water
  • Some knowledge on surf conditions / forecasts
  • Introducing bottom turns
  • Can duck dive/turtle turn consistently


Surfing out the back, paddling into to waves unassisted, knowledge of trimming and turning both left and right.

Intermediate Surfing Skill Levels

Recommended Lesson Types:

Private Lessons / White-to-Green Waves Weekends

Intermediate Level 1

Can paddle out the back using duck dives/ turtle turns and trim left and right along the wave, and can bottom turn

  • Know where to position yourself outback
  • Paddling out the back consistently
  • Can read the waves and decide whether to go left or right
  • Are able to bottom turn

Intermediate Level 2

Progressing on from having a successful bottom turn to working on cut-back and introducing other manoeuvres

  • Confidently surfing top-to-bottom of the wave
  • Can generate speed rail to rail
  • Understand changes in body position such as compression and extension
  • Understand fundamentals of reading surf forecasts and conditions


Able to select the best waves when in the line-up and can make the most of the wave through a variety of manoeuvres optimising on speed, power and flow.

Recommended Lesson Type:

Private Lessons

  • Confident in a variety of conditions
  • Know how to read conditions and position yourself in the line-up
  • Successfully completing manoeuvres such as cutbacks
  • Looking for coaching to improve specific elements of your surfing
Advanced Surfing Skill Levels