Surfing is a fun outdoor activity you should try at least once in your lifetime, especially if the beach town you’re visiting is a surf capital of that country. Countries like Australia, Bali and even the Philippines have surfing capitals that are also go-to tourist destinations (trivia: the best months to go on surfing trips in the Philippines are from July to November.) We’ve got a list too of the coolest surfing spots in Southeast Asia that every aspiring or professional surfer should visit!

Now, surfing isn’t the easiest thing to do your first time around, but with determination and the right mindset, you will get the hang of it eventually. Are you thinking of trying it out for the first time anytime soon? We’re giving you a rundown of the things you should know to prepare yourself for your first ever swell sesh.

Learn the basics on land

You’re going to need to hire a certified instructor (at least on your first time) and rent a surfboard. Half of the time, the instructor will teach you what surfing is and how to do it properly—that is paddling and standing up on the board. It’s going to feel a bit easier than you thought, but it’s good preparation to know how to stand properly so that you won’t easily fall.

Wetsuits are advised

Photo courtesy of Surfing Waves

Although it’s optional, better ask your instructor beforehand regarding the temperature of the water and if surrounding areas are quite rocky. It’s best to wear wetsuits to combat the cold temperature of the ocean. Make sure your swim attire isn’t loose or it could come off when you hit the water.

Basic swimming and balancing skills are a must have

Photo courtesy of @madiross on Instagram

Depending on where you are learning to surf, but most of the time, the instructors won’t let you go too far from the shore. But of course, you will need to swim a little—especially when you are off the board. Don’t worry, the instructors usually watch out for the incoming wave, give a signal when to paddle and actually push you and tell you when to stand up. So aside from basic swimming skills, you need to find your balance too.

You can’t escape wipeouts

It is inevitable. You will experience a lot of wipeouts. No need to be scared, though! As mentioned, your instructors will help you out on your first time. You will also be in the shallower part of the ocean. But when you get the hang of it and can actually catch a wave, there is a change they will allow you to try it out on your own. Don’t be scared to fall, it’s just water.

It’s an intense workout

If you haven’t figured it out yet, surfing is a total body workout. It’s a good strength training, actually. You will need your leg muscles to work as well as use your core strength to find that balance. So expect that the day after, your body will be sore as f*ck. You’re trying out something new, having fun and building strength—isn’t that the goal?

Surfing can get addicting. It’s scary in the beginning, yes, but exhilarating at the same time. You never know you might be good at it, and it might just be your new favorite sport! (Did you know that there are surfing competitions all over the world? Amazing, right?)

Have you gone surfing? Tell us about your first-time experience below!

Header image courtesy of @apingagudo/Scott Borrero on Instagram