Hey there It’s Jason here with Encinitas Surf Lessons! I am so blessed to be able to make my living sharing something I love—surfing—with others. I am passionate about helping and teaching people how to catch their first wave and perhaps overcome their fear of the ocean.

What I’d like to share with you in this column if you’re thinking about taking a surf lesson, whether it’s with me if you’re in the San Diego area, or anywhere else on the planet, are ways you can get the most out of your first lesson.

You’re paying hard-earned cash to take a surf lesson, so why not maximize your time in the water? The last thing I would want for you is to feel utterly exhausted and frustrated.

You may very well feel spent after your first surf lesson, but in a good way; you’ll feel stoked, especially if you follow what I’m about to share with you.

The first thing is, before you even get in the water, get in shape, surfing shape that is. There is some similar related info on one of my other blog posts that gives you some detailed tips, but I’ll sum it up for you here: get in shape by doing interval training exercises, meaning, pick activities that will spike up your heart rate and then rest for 30-60 seconds (jumping rope is a good example) to mimic the cardio effect of surfing.

In other words, if you routinely go for a job for 45-60 minutes with no problem, this does not translate into surfing shape. I recommend doing interval training for at least a week or two before you get in the water.

Next, I recommend practicing the surf-pop-up technique many times. Perhaps you’ll schedule your lesson on a whim and won’t have time to practice the pop-up stance and that’s fine. I will bring you up to speed quickly. But if you have even a day or two before your first lesson you will be so ahead of the curve if you take some time to practice the pop-ups. I have some videos on my Facebook page that can show you how to master the technique from the comfort of your home.

But even if you interval train and practice the pop-up technique, expect to have adrenaline pumping through your veins—even if it’s only a one-foot day. So my next piece of advice to you is: control your breath! Try, as hard as it may seem, to take controlled, long and calm breaths as you’re on the board, paddling for the first time. This will help you preserve your energy.

Also, eat light, clean-burning food before your lesson. I recommend not eating at least 90-120 minutes before your lesson. It’s really unpleasant to be prone on your board and have your lunch come up on you. After your lesson, however, celebrate by feasting on some fish tacos or a hearty carne asada burrito.

Follow these tips and your first surf lesson will be a great lifelong memory.

Encinitas Surf Lessons is located in North County San Diego. Book a surf lesson with Jason by calling 760.846.6894