Surfing is the skill of riding on waves.
Surfers can ride waves standing, kneeling or lying down.
Surfing is usually done on a surfboard.
Surfboards can be long or short but one about 3 metres long is best for beginners. Champion surfers use short, narrow boards because they are easier to turn. The top of the board is the deck. The front end is called the nose and the back end is called the tail. One, two or three fins, called skegs, are fitted under the board to help make it go faster. A leg cord attached to the rear of the board is fastened to the surfer's ankle to stop the board floating away from the surfer and getting lost. A free floating surfboard is dangerous to other surfers.
Boards are usually made of a plastic foam called polystyrene which is covered with many layers of a woven glass cloth called fibreglass. The whole board is coated with plastic resin (like a glue) to make it waterproof. When it's all dry, the board is sandpapered to make it smooth.
Before they surf, surfers rub wax onto the deck of the board to make it sticky and easier to stand on.
Surfers wear rubber wet suits to keep them warm and to protect them from cuts and scratches.
Learning to Surf
A beginning surfer first learns to walk into the surf carrying the board so that it is pointing towards the waves. Once the surfer is out where the waves are breaking, the board is turned to point towards the shore. Just before a wave breaks, the surfer shoves the board forward and jumps onto the board and lies flat. The board catches the wave and carries the surfer over the water towards the shore. A surfer can also lay on the board and paddle out using overarm strokes like a swimmer.
Read about how to surf
Standing up on the board
To stand up on the board the surfer lies on the board, grabs the sides of the board with both hands and pushes up so that the front part of the body rises off the board. Then the surfer jerks the legs up and under the body with knees bent, and stands up.Turning
To turn the board, a surfer shifts the feet and twists the body to guide the board in the direction of the turn.
Men and women can compete in surfing competitions in countries around the world. Surfers catch waves and perform tricks as they surf the wave. Judges award them points. When a surfer flies into the air off the back of a wave and travels in the air, it's called an aerial.
The tube is a tunnel of water produced by a powerful wave. 'Shooting the tube' is an exciting ride inside the tube