Surprising Surfing Facts And Tips Every Surfer Should Know
Surfing facts like the fact that surfing dates back to the 1700s are fun to know for beginners and seasoned pros.
Surfing, or riding waves standing on a surfboard, is more a way of life than a sport for many surfers. If you’re looking to try surfing, you’ll want to be familiar with a few surfing facts and tips for beginners.
We’ll cover everything you need to know to get started, including what equipment you need for surfing and safety tips.
Here are a few surfing facts that every beginner, and every pro, should know.
Surfing was discovered in 1778
Captain James Cook first described surfing in 1778 on the islands of Hawaii. He observed someone surfing off the island and wrote, “I could not help concluding this man had the most supreme pleasure while he was driven so fast and so smoothly by the sea.”
Hawaiians called surfing He’enalu
He’enalu the Hawaiian name for surfing, which is what Captain Cook would’ve heard in 1778, means ‘wave sliding’. Surfing was an important part of Hawaiian culture and religion.
Surfing dates back 5,000 years
Captain Cook discovered surfing in 1778, but it had been practiced for much longer by the Hawaiians and other cultures. Archeologists have discovered stone carvings in Peru that show people surfing dating back at least 5,000 years.
The longest ride
The world record for the longest time surfed is 3 hours and 55 minutes, set by Gary Saavedra. In 2011 he rode the wake of a boat and managed to last almost four hours!
Competitions started in California
Although discovered in the 1700s, surfing didn’t become mainstream until the 1900s. The first surfing competition was held in 1928 in Corona del Mar, California. The first world championship for surfing, however, was held in Manly Beach, Australia in 1964.
Surfing Tips for Beginners
If you’re ready to start surfing, here are a few tips for beginners and things you should know before you start.
1. Don’t go by yourself
Surfing is difficult. You should find a teacher and never surf by yourself in case of injury, or worse, sharks. There are plenty of surfing classes and instructors to help you start and teach you the basics and culture of surfing.
2. Surf spots at your level
Only surf at beaches and on waves that match your level of practice. You can easily find a beach for beginners which have steady, medium-sized waves. As soon as you get enough practice on a beginner beach, you can move up to more challenging waves. Just don’t get ahead of yourself or it can be dangerous!
3. Practice the prone position
When you first begin to surf, standing up can be quite difficult so it’s much easier to sit or lie down on your board. The prone position is when you lie down on your stomach and have your arms out for paddling. Try it on the beach before you hit the water to get a feel for it because you’ll need to get comfortable at this position.
Surfing Equipment & Gear You Will Need:
When you’re getting started with surfing, it can be tempting to just pick the coolest board you can find. But longer boards are the easiest and safest to learn on because they give you more volume to catch a wave on, are more stable and easier to stay afloat. Start with a larger board and move to a smaller one when you’re ready.
There are a few types of surfboards you should know.
Shortboard surfboards are typically six and a half feet or shorter for fast surfing, making sharp turns and gaining speed. Leave these boards to the more experienced.
Longboard Surfboards are typically nine feet or longer, these are easier to turn and best for classic surfing.
Seven feet and longer, gun boards are best for surfing big waves.
- Mini mal, mini tanker, funboard, fish, egg, bonzer:
These boards are all under eight feet, and some get as small as five feet long. They are designed to paddle into smaller waves but be easier to maneuver than longboards.
You will probably also want a surfboard with a soft-top to start out since you’ll likely spend a lot of time sitting on it at the beginning.
Here is all the gear you need for surfing:
- A swimsuit that doesn’t slip
- Rash guard to prevent sunburn
- Wetsuit for cold locations
- A surfboard leash
Safety Tips & Safety Gear for Surfing
Surfing can be a dangerous sport, but it’s much safer if you follow these safety tips and use the correct safety gear.
Surfing is a workout! Just like any exercise, doing a warm-up can help prevent injury and prepare your muscles for the workout. If you stretch, it can also decrease muscle cramps, and get you warm before you enter the water. That being said, there are also some exercises you can do to strengthen your muscles for surfing like squats.
2. Always use the leash
Your surf leash connects your ankle to the surfboard. It can feel a little annoying and get in the way while surfing but make no mistake they are designed as a safety feature. It not only keeps your board close to you but also can save your life.
3. Avoid nosediving
Most beginners take a nosedive their first time surfing, and that’s okay. Nosediving is when the surfboard nose or front end dives underwater. To avoid nosediving, don’t put too much of your weight on the front end of the surfboard. Instead, try to stay evenly positioned in the middle. You’ll still wipeout plenty of times, but don’t let it get you frustrated. It’s okay to fall at first just pick yourself back up and try again.
Hopefully, these surfing facts and tips have inspired you to learn more or try out surfing for yourself. Beginners can pick up surfing with the right gear and instruction from a trainer surfer. Make sure to always follow your instructor’s guidance when surfing and stick to these safety tips. Surfing is an ancient sport, and you can learn it too with a few tips and surfing facts.
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