With its constant sunshine, beautiful landscapes, and countless defining characteristics, Southern California is unlike any other area of the United States. The ample coastline and warm water of the Pacific Ocean also make SoCal a haven for surfers, many of whom venture as far north as San Luis Obispo and as far south as San Diego to find that perfect break.

Jordan Persiani is one of those people. A self-proclaimed “regular guy who likes to surf a lot,” he grew up along the coast of SoCal and watched as his father and uncle hit the waves on a regular basis. After moving to Shell Beach in 2009, Persiani decided to go all-in on surfing and has not looked back. You can now find him in the water up and down the coast five days a week — most often at a point break called Pleasure Point — and whether he admits it or not, he has become an authority on what it takes to successfully immerse yourself in SoCal’s surfing culture.

We recently had a chance to talk with Persiani about how a neophyte should approach his or her first time out on the SoCal waves. Whether you’re a complete amateur or very experienced in the water, we learned that it’s very important to adhere to The Dos and Don’ts of Learning to Surf SoCal.