I think the most frustrating thing about the fist surf lesson I took was attempting the pop-up. I was really discouraged.
I think the most empowering feeling was nailing my pop-up last summer and riding a wave into shore.
The hardest thing about learning the pop-up is that you can read about it, and be told about it, and watch it, but a lot of it is just getting it. I went into surfing last summer understanding the concept of it. I've read so many books and watched so many videos. The first thing that helped, of course, was increased upper body and core strength. The second was confidence. I told my self that if I could do crow pose in yoga, I could pop up.
My fist session I got some wobbly pop-ups, but didn't catch a full ride. I already knew, however, that I was doing so much better that two summers previous. What finally got me up and riding though, was my hand positioning. I had been setting my hands more like I was doing a plank, or a push-up, or crow. Once I moved my hands right under my chest, under my boobs really, I was flying.
Now that I've nailed the pop-up, this summer's goal is to get my wave timing down. I can't wait.