How to determine my surfing level?

23 Apr
surfing ability

Discover how to determine your surfing level with this detailed guide. From beginners to advanced, learn to recognize where you are in your journey in the world of surfing and how to keep improving.


Surf learning is a journey, like the best things in life, that requires great effort and enormous dedication.

At 9Pies, we have been specialized for more than 15 years in accompanying you in this wonderful process with a technique refined over time and the best professionals. To place yourself within the appropriate level in our surf courses, it is very practical to know where you are on the path, which will be determined by your experience, your skills, and how often you get in the water mainly. In this article, we have tried to summarize some aspects to consider and we will give you some guidelines to know it.


My first class

  • I don't know which foot to attach the leash to
  • I'm unsure how to put on the wetsuit and it overwhelms me when I try to wear it
  • I don't know the parts of the surfboard
  • When I paddle lying down, the board doesn't move forward and I fall
  • I don't know how to stand up
  • I don't know anything about safety considerations


Beginner Level

  • I know how to put on the wetsuit and grab the board
  • I know the parts of the surfboard
  • I can paddle straight in flat water
  • I know the technique to stand up but struggle to put it into practice
  • I need the instructor's help to catch waves
  • I still don't feel confident enough to rent a board on my own
  • I'm unaware of safety considerations


Basic Intermediate Level

  • I know the different types of boards and wetsuits
  • I can get through waves and enter the lineup when waves reach my hips
  • I have my board under control
  • I can catch waves by myself and can steer my board left or right
  • I recognize risky situations and anticipate them
  • I'm used to catching waves on a softboard


Advanced Intermediate Level

  • I use hard, evolving, and even short boards with volume
  • I control the turtle technique and know how to do the duck dive
  • I'm comfortable in shoulder-high waves
  • I know and implement surfing etiquette
  • I regularly catch waves and follow the wave's line
  • I know different maneuvers


Perfection Level

  • I have a shortboard or mid-length board
  • I successfully duck dive when waves reach my head
  • I can perform cutbacks
  • I'm comfortable with waves that reach over my head
  • I can handle vertical waves


If you need help choosing your level in our classes, you can also call us or send us an email, and by talking for a while, we can surely figure it out. Keep in mind that if you're thinking of focusing on longboarding, these guidelines wouldn't be the same; we'll address them in another article. The time to progress from one level to another increases; that is, if it takes one or a few days to move from the "My First Class" to the Beginner level, the dedication time for the following levels increases proportionally. But don't worry, the beauty lies in enjoying the journey, exercising, meeting people, and being in touch with the sea. Good waves!

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