Surfing: swimming is a fundamental skill for catching waves | Photo: Shutterstock

Surfing is a water sport that requires a specific set of physical skills. And swimming is a fundamental ability that everyone should have before engaging with the waves.

Surfers even get to the swimming pool to improve their technical and physical prowess. For example, to build lung capacity.

Why? Because the act of catching and riding waves often takes place in life-threatening places for a noncompetent swimmer, and a leash is not a lifeline.

If you ditch or fall off your surfboard, you will have to rely on your arms and legs to keep afloat. And that happens all the time. If you don't swim back to the board or toward the shore, you will drown.

It's paramount that you not only feel comfortable with the ocean, but also know how to float, kick your feet, have fun, and hold your breath underwater.

If you can't swim, you can't paddle. And surfing involves a lot of paddling. Without knowing how to paddle a surfboard, you will not be able to catch a wave.

Plus, surfing waves normally break out of one's depth, in more or less profound waters. So, how would a non-swimmer cope with such an unpleasant and hostile scenario?

Yes, you may find beaches where waves form and break in shallow waters, for example, during low tide. In those cases, you may try your luck, but never do it all by yourself.

Surfing: you will not become a good surfer if you can't swim | Photo: Shutterstock

So, the answer to the question "Is it possible to surf if you don't know how to swim" is yes, you need to learn to swim beforehand. Even if, technically, you can do it in a controlled, shallow water environment.

In a way, it is like learning to walk before starting to run - one thing naturally precedes another.

I Don't Swim, But I'm Comfortable in Waist-Deep Waters

Now imagine that you don't care, and won't spend a few weeks in a pool learning to swim because summer is about to start and you really want to become a surfer.

If you're stubborn enough to give surfing a go and plan to learn to surf without knowing how to swim, then at least you should book surf lessons, and share with your surf instructor all your limitations.

He or she will guide you into your first beginner waves, making sure you wear a personal flotation device and learn to tread water.

Please have in mind that some people feel relatively safe and comfortable in a pool, even if they don't know how to swim.

However, that extra confidence in the water could be potentially dangerous in the waves because the ocean is always changing its variables.

When you're out in the sea having the time of your life, you must take into consideration the effects of tides, currents, wind, and swell.

So, if you can't swim, don't go out surfing. It's not a wise move. Remember that swimming is not a difficult skill to learn, even if you're an adult.

Nic Rapa and Sean Silveira have taken out the second event of the 2018 Supra Boats Pro Wakeboard Tour (PWT), held at Lake Allatoona's Dallas Landing Park, in Acworth, Georgia.

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