Fear of the Ocean: How to Overcome Your Fears of Surfing

More than one million Americans go surfing at least eight times a year. What stops you from being one of them? Is it your fear of the ocean, your lack of experience or a mental block?

No matter the reason, your fears are perfectly normal. After all, anything can happen when you’re riding the waves. The key is to embrace your fear and turn it into an advantage.

Every surfer dreams of riding a giant wave in Oahu, Jeffrey’s Bay, Fuerteventura, and other popular surfing spots. Yet, only a few turn their dreams into reality. The fear of sharks, currents, storms, and other hazards can deter the most enthusiastic folks.

The truth is that we know little about the ocean. However, this shouldn’t stop you from having fun and enjoy life to the fullest. With some practice and discipline, you can hone your surfing skills before summer kicks in.

Ready to give it a try? Here are some helpful tips to overcome your fear of surfing and have fun!


When you’re constantly thinking about drowning or wiping out, it’s hard to stay focused and perform at your best. Take a deep breath and clear your mind. Continue to breathe in and out slowly.

In this sport, fear is part of the package. Acknowledge your feelings and move on. Focus on maintaining proper form and visualize yourself riding bigger waves.

The best thing you can do at this point is to actually catch a wave. You’ll get a sense of freedom and accomplishment that will wipe out your deepest fears.

Focus on what you can do, not on what you cannot do. Your body is capable of amazing things. Think about how much time you’ve spent practicing your skills and how far you’ve got.


Surf lessons can give you an instant confidence boost. Knowing that a skilled instructor is next to you will relieve your anxiety and allow you to fully enjoy the experience.

Consider booking private surf lessons, especially if you’re a newbie. This will allow you to learn at your own pace and make faster progress. A typical session covers the proper techniques for wave selection and time, paddling, standing up, and more.

Another option is to sign up for a surf camp. You’ll not only learn new skills and improve your practice but also meet other surfers who share the same goals. They will inspire and encourage you to feel confident in the water and overcome your fears.


Take the necessary precautions to stay safe in the water. Assess the weather conditions, choose the right surfboard, and wear adequate equipment. Ask a friend or a fellow surfer to keep an eye on you.

Set realistic goals. If you’re a beginner, don’t push yourself too hard. Listen to your body and stay on the safe side.

Remember, there is no pressure. Take your time to learn and experiment with more advanced techniques as you progress.


Fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It actually keeps you alert and boosts your motivation to succeed. The key is to control it and use it to your advantage.

Don’t let your fear of the ocean stop you from enjoying this exciting sport. Expect to fail more than once, but be ready to start all over. A few months from now on, you’ll remember how scared you were and feel proud of how far you’ve come.

In the meantime, check out this handy guide on how to fall off a surfboard safely. When you feel ready to catch some waves, sign up for a private surf lesson!