is the act of travelling over waves in water that have been
created from reefs, sand bars, submerged structures or shallow
shorelines. Bodysurfing is when an individual only uses their
body to surf, and there is the classical surfing by using
a board to paddle, kneel or stand up on in the water. Surfing
has really grown in popularity since the 1960’s due
to it’s versatility as a water sport that can be enjoyed
by all ages.
construction of a surfboard consists of a plastic foam core
centre (shaped by hand or machine) and an outer cover of resin
and fibreglass. Size varies according to experience and performance-
boards used by top competitors are around 180cm-200cm long
and 47 wide, less than 6cm thick and weigh around 2.7kg. These
surfboards are sometimes called shortboards.
are about 270cm in length and around 51cm-56cm wide, and
have the same depth as shortboards, weighing in at about
7kg. The bottom of these boards have from one to five fins
near to the tail. The most common design in the three fin
‘thruster’ board. The fins allow the board to
provide forward drive, additional power and directional
are more commonly used for aerial manoeuvres and speed,
although both boards can be used for professional or recreational
a swell reaches the shallow shoreline of the sea, the top
portion of the wave pitches forward and the wave begins to
break. This is often when you see the crests of foam, or whitecaps.
Subsequently, the forward motion and size of the wave start
In surfing, the individual rides the unbroken sections of
the wave for as long as he can, before the wave breaks. There
are a variety of manoeuvres that surfers use to slow down,
speed up and navigate around the wave. Experienced surfers
can ride the whole wave until it has broken.
does require a lot of physical exercise, skill, agility and
stamina. When a surfer is in the water, he paddles to a point
where the waves are breaking and catches the wave using one
of several methods.
surfer turns his board sharply off the trough at the base
of the wave, using the momentum and speed that has been gathered
from the wave’s motion, to give the board direction
to move up the face of the wave. The face of the wave is the
smooth part just below the wave’s white crest.
surfer who is riding the cutback rides the face of the wave
and then turns his board in the opposite direction, going
towards the breaking curl of the wave.
a snap, the surfer makes a sharp turn off the top of the wave
which redirects his momentum and speed back down the face
of the wave.
a floater required the surfer to use speed and momentum to
ride up and over the face of the wave, so that they are over
the breaking section of the wave (or lip), and ride along
the crest of the wave for as long as possible before dropping
back down onto the face of the wave.
are moves that are made whilst in the air and have become
very popular with more modern surfing fashions. Similar to
the moves that can be made whilst snowboarding, or skate boarding,
aerials involve spins, and flips whilst airborne. For example,
a ‘360’ is a 360 degree turn made whilst the surfer
is in the air.
can compete in surfing competitions as long as there are waves
to surf. Whether this be Hawaii, or and indoor artificial
wave pool. Judges use a points system to score the surfers
that gives marks for the distance ridden, the size of the
wave, and the quality of moves performed.
the ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) was founded
and it now acts as the international governing body of surfing.
This replaced the International Professioanl Surfing tour,
founded in 1975 by Randy Rarick, Jack Shipley and Fred Hemmings,
all from the USA.
professional surfing competition circuit is organised by they
ASP. In each individual country, applicants are awarded points
by the World Qualifying System (WQS) for the WCT (World Championship
Tour). The surfers are scored on a scale of 1 to 10 points
by a judging panel of five professional judges that have been
appointed by the ASP.
As the WQS level, surfers go through four person heats. In
the WCT levels of competitions, surfers compete in one on
one competitions in the majority of heats. The highest and
lowest scores for each surfer are discarded, and the 3 middle
scores are combined to create an average. Each surfer in a
competition is only allowed to ride so many waves, 3 in the
preliminary rounds and 4 in the final rounds.
is believed to have originated in Pacific Ocean islands. In
Hawaii, surfing has not only been a popular sport, but part
of the history and culture. It was the British explorer, Captain
James Cook who was the first European to see surfing in Hawaii
in 1778. In the 19th Century surfing was un encouraged by
Christian missionaries who saw it as a frivolous activity.
However, it did start reappearing in the early 20th century.
of the pioneers in spreading the word of surfing was Duke
Kahanamoku in the early part of the 20th Century. He broke
the world record in the 100m freestyle swimming competition
in the Olympic Games in 1912. Kahanamoku’s travels enabled
him to introduce surfing to many parts of the world. More
recently, Kelly Slater and Lisa Anderson from Florida, US,
and Mark Richards, popularized a twin fin surfboard design.
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