So, you’ve finally decided to give surfing a go. Your surf lesson is booked. Your fear is mastered. But, decisions decisions, what critical items should you pack for those first few surfs?

When you are new to surfing it is sometimes difficult to know what exactly to take with you to the beach. You may have some ideas about what you need (like a swimsuit – duh!), but what’s the best swimwear and what other tips are there to help you enjoy your first surf lesson to the max?

First Surf Lesson Checklist:

With these kinds of questions in mind, here’s a checklist of things to remember to bring with you on your first few surf lessons:

1. Swimsuit:

Leave your bikini at home. Learning to surf means a whole lot of time falling off your board in the whitewater (whitewater is basically the foamy, broken wave). Whitewater is rough and choppy; it will rip your bikini right off of you – even if you are wearing a rash guard or board shorts. Instead, try a one-piece swimsuit, which will allow you to entirely focus on your lesson without having to worry about flashing the instructor. (Want to know more: Check out this post about how to select a comfortable and stylish surf swimsuit.)

2. Sunscreen:

Even on a cloudy day, you definitely need a high SPF sunscreen. Make sure that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays and try to find a reef-friendly brand like ThinkSport or Badger.

3. A Light, Pre-surf Meal:

Surfing is hard work and requires a lot of energy, so a pre-surf meal is a must. However, lots of people find that lying on your surfboard presses on your stomach, which can make you feel sick. Thus, it’s wise to eat a small, easily-digestible meal before grabbing your board and going surfing. When you’re at home, oats are a great option. And, on the road, I personally like to make sure that I pack a Lemon Larabar or a homemade energy bar.

4. Leave-In Conditioner:

Fact: Salt is hard on your hair. So, protect your gorgeous locks with a light, all-natural leave-in conditioner. Personally, I swear by Giovanni, Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner and Kinky-Curly, Knot Today.

5. Sarong: This may be slightly controversial, but a sarong (a.k.a. a canga in Brazil) is a better choice than a towel for the beach – just hear me out. First, a sarong dries lightning fast in the sun and doesn’t require washing after every single use. Second, a canga is dirt cheap and easily replaceable in case it gets lost or stolen. Third, it is super lightweight and doesn’t take up much space in your bag. And finally, sarongs can also function as a cover-up when walking to and from the beach, which is especially useful in places with cultures that appreciate modesty.

6. Post-surf Drink and Snack:

After an enjoyable surf lesson, it is always smart to rehydrate and wash the salty taste out of your mouth. You could always bring a small eco-friendly refillable bottle of water, but my personal favourite is fresh coconut water. Coconut water comes complete with minerals, like potassium, that help you rehydrate after an intensive workout (and, trust me, learning to surf is intense).

I also like to have a small bite to eat after getting out of the water. In Brazil, I usually go for a no-sugar-added, piece of paçoca (pronounced pa-saw-ka). Paçoca is a delicious peanut snack – think Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups minus the chocolate. You can try a healthy version of this deliciously protein-packed snack here.

Do you have any advice about what to bring to your first surf lesson? If so, share it in the comments below.

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