Surfing – Basic Definition

On this page, we’ll give newbies a basic definition and history on surfing. But before I get into the history of surfing I would like to diverge just a tad and mention briefly my latest trip to that fabulous surfing country of Australia. I was checking out some Australian surfing terms for an article I was writing and decided that some up close and personal research was required. So I was off to Bells Beach, located on the south Victorian coastline of Australia. It has one of the great right point breaks. Now, as a “benny,” a non local in Australian surfing slang, I enlisted my aunt, to introduce me to some local surfers. My Aunt doesn’t surf, perhaps she never has. Her interests are in real estate, gardens and especially jewelry. She has been hawking her large selection of silver rings along with her double sided stud earrings to the local surfers – I see many women surfers wearing them whenever I’m in a mixed crowd. Even though she’s not a surfer, she enjoys the sport and was happy to help out. I was “amped” (getting excited while surfing or really looking forward to a surf) as I was told great stories about the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, which is the world’s oldest and most prestigious surfing event. Since 1962, it has been an annual pilgrimage for the world’s best surfers and surfing fans to make their way to Bells Beach during Easter. But you all know that. My time at Break Point was Rad, but that’s another story. And thanks Aunty for all your help! Cheers!

Now lets get back to surfing, my most favorite sport and diversion.


Surfing is a water surface sport. A person (the surfer) travels along the face of a breaking ocean wave (the surf). Surfing can and does take place on rivers also – and this is referred to as riding a standing wave.

Here’s a tidbit on the origin of surfing: it was a central part of ancient Polynesian culture. Europeans first observed surfing at Tahiti back in 1767 – these astute Europeans were crew members of the Dolphin. In 1866, Mark Twain visited Hawaii, and wrote about the “naked natives…amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing.”

In pre-contact Samoa, surf riding on planks and single canoe hulls was also verified – and there, surfing was called fa’ase’e or se’egalu and Tonga.

Types Of Surfing

There are 2 major subdivisions of stand-up surfing: longboarding and shortboarding. As indicated by these terms, these subdivisions reflect differences in surfboard design (surfboard length and riding style). Some surfers take out payday loans to buy a surf board although it’s not the most advisable way to get your hands on a new board. But hey, if you gotta surf, you’ll do whatever it takes.

As well, there’s tow-in surfing (which is most commonly associated with big wave surfing), where a motorized water vehicle tows the surfer straight into the wave front, which helps the surfer match a large wave’s higher speed.

There are a few surfing-related sports that don’t require waves, such as paddleboarding and sea kayaking. Kitesurfing and windsurfing are others, relying more on wind for power. However, some surfers try to get the best of both worlds, and use these platforms to ride waves as well.

Live it to surfers to push the surf envelope. There is a new surf phenomenon that’s gaining traction: wake surfing. Here, with the use of V-drive boats, riding the boat wake has emerged.

Top – Turn: Simple turn off the top of the wave. Used sometimes to generate speed and sometimes to shoot spray.

Air / Aerial: Popping up over the lip into the air. Many types include ollies, lien airs, method airs, and other skateboard airs.

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