What is Surfing?

Well, in a layman term, surfing can be defined as a water sport wherein the person that wishes to surf makes use of a surf board to travel on the surface of an ocean wave that is breaking.

While these waves are referred to as ‘surfs’, people engaged in these activities are referred to as ‘surfers’.

The Origin of Surfing Surfing has always been a popular sport ever since it was first tried out. It was known to have played a pivotal role in the customs of Polynesian’s and is known to have existed even before they came in contact with the Europeans. A testimony to this fact can be drawn from the cave paintings that can be traced back to some 3,000 back. According to observers, surfing must have been practiced in islands like Tonga, Tahiti, and Samoa. It is also believed that residents of other neighboring islands were also familiar with it. Surfing was never regarded as a sport in the olden days. It was more of a leisure activity and was also considered to be an art form. In ancient Hawaii, for example, surfers would pray to god to provide them with protection and strength so that they could withstand strong breeze and ocean currents.

However, only the ruling class and the chief were allowed to surf. Commoners, however, were not allowed to surf on the same beach. They could surf only after their surfing skills were made known to all. The trees that were made use of in constructing the boards were koa, wikiwili and ‘ulu. The earliest forms of these boards had no fins on them and it thus required great skills to maneuver them. During 1820s, missionaries had their way in abolishing many Polynesian practices. Surfing was notably one of them. It was only at the turn of the century that few handful Hawaiians started surfing and building surf boards. Surfing, by now, had started to expand in North America and Australia. In 1908, George Freeth, a Hawaiian officially introduced surfing culture to Californians. In 1915, this water sport made its foray in Australia and thereby catching the worldwide attention towards it.

Ever since then, tremendous development has taken place in segments like surfboards. Endless possibilities in surfing techniques have also been explored. It was in 1950s that the modern surfing culture started taking its shape. It was popularized by beach boys and then numerous surfing competitions that took place simultaneously on beach fronts played its role in getting the sport its due recognition. Surfboards that are seen today are totally different to what it used to look like many years ago. The materials used in making these boards have undergone a transformation.

Numerous designs have also been incorporated in these boards to make it look funkier than ever before. All these changes and more have, in a way, managed to increase the surfers control over their movement on the water. It has thus been a wonderful journey for this great water sport that spanned across several centuries to live what it is today.

Surfing is very physically demanding so be sure to keep yourself in the best physical condition possible. Many people do this by by using a good old treadmill. You can check out the top rated treadmills for home here and keep yourself surfing for years to come.

Why Go Surfing

When people hear of surfing they tend to automatically think of an extreme water sport which requires a great deal of skill and energy in order to be successful.

While some of this is the truth there are millions of people who enjoy surfing for a number of reasons which you may not even be aware of.

  • One of the great things about surfing is the level of relief it can provide, you can release a great deal of energy, anxiety and stress while taking part in surfing.
  • Some people are not too keen on sports which involve teams, people that go surfing can decide what they do, where they go and how they do it. You are not forced into anything you may feel uncomfortable with – simply take it at your own speed and enjoy the sun, sand and waves.
  • You may assume that surfing is basically the same thing wave after wave, this is definitely not true. No wave is the same as another, they will provide you with a unique experience each time which entices a great deal of people.
  • When you master the basics of surfing you will not be able to stop, once you can ride the waves you will just want to prove to yourself you can ride bigger and better waves. In some cases you can actually get addicted to surfing.
  • One of the most positive things about surfing is the workout it provides, it practically works every muscle in your body from your head to your toes.
  • It’s great fun! You will have the time of your life when you are capable of standing up on your surfboard riding waves and performing various manoeuvres and tricks.
  • You get to visit various popular surf spots and meet great people who all share the same passion as you do. It’s a fantastic crowd to get into and you will constantly be learning new things.

What are you waiting for? The above are just a small selection of some of the benefits you will receive when you take up surfing. You will never understand what it feels like until you do it. You can often start off cheap and rent the gear to get a feel what it’s like before you make any investments.

Understanding the Waves

Before you tackle surfing it often helps if you understand how the waves work before trying to surf them. Many people underestimate the power and speed of some of the waves which could lead to a fatal accident. Each wave will vary in size, speed, and power so you should always be aware of your capabilities and never try to surf a wave you are not confident about.
The wind conditions can affect the quality of the waves which is why you should check it before paddling out into the open sea.

Offshore winds are ideal in the surfing world, they will provide waves that are smooth and rideable opposed to an onshore wind which can ruin a surfing session.

There are different variations of wave breaks which you should be aware of. Although the wave break is mainly influenced by the storms out at sea there are still a lot of factors that could change the way it breaks when it begins to reach land. In total there are three different types of wave breaks, beach break, reef break and point break.

If you are a beginner you should look out for common spots that have beach breaks, this is when the wave breaks onto a sand bar. They are often much small and smoother to ride. A reef break is when the waves break over rocks or reefs making them much choppier and harder to ride, beginners should stay away from these. Point breaks are the most popular and favoured in the surfing world, this is when they break over certain dips in the land. Be sure to do your research of the different hot spots so you know what to expect when you arrive.

Once the wave has broken it’s the ocean floor that will influence the shape, size and speed of the wave heading for land. The bigger the wave you can guarantee it will be harder to ride as it will become unsteady so if you are a beginner avoid waves that are out of your comfort zone.

There are three forms of a wave, surging, spilling and plunging. A surging wave is more practical for beginners, they tend to roll onto the beach instead of heavily crashing into the wave as it becomes too fast for itself. A spilling wave is when the crest spills onto the front of the wave, this is because the forward speed is faster than the speed of the wave on a whole. The last form, plunging, is the type of wave that you should avoid if you are a beginner.

You will have seen these on the TV and movies, it’s when a tube shape is formed in the wave. You can perform various tricks and manoeuvres on this type of wave.

With all this in mind you can be sure to understand how the waves work the more you surf, the only real practice you can get is to grab your surfboard and get in the water. Just make sure you target the smaller ones at first.