Unless you are surfing a protected cove that is blocking most of that swell and does not have rip currents, you should wait for a better day! When the surf is big their is allot more water moving around, rip currents are usually stronger, it is allot more dangerous, as well as difficult to learn because you are fighting just being out there.
Sometimes you will not see the signs of a rip current and still get caught in one. Like with life, or even driving on the freeway, surfing has its dark side!
Knowing what to do if you are caught in a rip current can save your life! Surfers that surf the same spots a lot start to feel like that spot is theirs. If you are a beginner you probably should not surf the same spots as the locals until your skill level improves.
It is usually better to paddle out down the beach and wait for the crowd to thin. To paddle you need to dig down deep and really try to stay smooth and keep the board in a planing position. Lay down on the floor with your hands near your chest but not so wide, like a push up.
Let them have the peak that they were on first, and do not invade them.5. Do not be to far back on the board as you will push water. Your board is only so wide and you want to be able to push off your board to get up to your feet in one smooth motion.
You want to learn to surf, not get beat up and held down and thrashed around. As mentioned above every day is different you need to respect the ocean.
Do your homework and this can make the difference in having a good first experience or a bad one! It may be your first day off in a month, but the current conditions are 14' W swells @ 13 seconds.
You will not be able to hold your breath long while panicking, so remember stay calm and work with the ocean not against it.
Sometimes (with strong rip currents) you may have to go out with the rip into deeper water, where the balance is restored and the pulling current subsides.
You want to paddle parallel to the shore where you see the waves pushing in, to get out of a rip.