67 Surfing Facts: A Very Cool Water Sport You Must Try | Kidadl


67 Surfing Facts: A Very Cool Water Sport You Must Try

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Do you like the feeling of being on top of huge waves and speeding towards the shore?

Then the thrilling sport of surfing is for you. This sport has been enjoyed by people for centuries.

But how did surfing start and how has it changed over time? Today, surfing is a global sport. There are professional surfers from all over the world. Surfing is also an important part of the culture in many countries. For example, Hawaii has a big surfing culture and there are many famous surf spots around the world.

Since the invention of the sport, the boards have become shorter and lighter now and people can do all kinds of tricks on them. Surfing is also no longer just for men. Women have been surfing for years and there are even professional women’s surfing competitions.

In this article, we will explore the history and culture of surfing. We will also discuss how the sport has evolved over the years. So put on your wetsuit and get ready to ride the waves!

The History Of Surfing

Let's start with a little bit of history. Surfing can be traced back to the ancient Polynesians, who were some of the first to ride waves on wooden boards.

The practice of riding a boat with a wave has been used since the pre-Inca civilizations of 3000-5000 years ago, according to archaeologists.

The Moche civilization of Peru used reed vessels to ride the waves as early as 200 BC.

The vessels were known as Caballito de totora or 'little horse of totora.'

Totora was the reed plant from which raw material for the vessels was procured.

Spanish Jesuit missionary José de Acosta recorded this early form of surfing in his 'The Natural And Moral History Of The Indies'.

José de Acosta found great joy in observing people fishing with reed boards, saying they resembled 'Tritons, or Neptunes.'

Polynesia can be considered the birthplace of surfing, but the best records of early surfing come from Hawaii.

The sport was known as 'heʻe nalu' in the Hawaiian language, which means 'sliding on the wave'.

To the people of Hawaii, surfing isn't just a recreational activity, it had a tremendous amount of societal and spiritual significance to people, making it highly significant to their society.

The type of board one had was a status symbol and showed one's position in society.

High-ranking chiefs would have long and narrow olo boards that could reach lengths of up to 16 ft (4.8 m).

Lower-ranking individuals would have to make do with inferior materials.

Ironically, inferior boards of that time are the most popular ones today.

Surfing was also done competitively as a way to settle small trades and barters among people. Of course, the winner also ended up with bragging rights!

Colonization and the arrival of Captain James Cook endangered the Hawaiian surfing culture. People were forced to work in the plantations and had little opportunity to surf.

Duke Kahanamoku or 'The Duke', who is considered the 'Father of Modern Surfing,' is credited with having brought surfing back to its former glory.

Today, innovations from artificial waves to electric surfboards are changing the surfing scene.

Surfing Vs. Other Water Sports

Surfing is often compared to other water sports such as short boarding, long boarding, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. So what sets surfing apart from the rest?

First and foremost, surfing is unique in the sense that it relies on the waves for propulsion.

Other water sports usually require some kind of motorized device.

Wakeboarding, for example, is done by riding on a board behind a motorboat.

Windsurfing is propelled by the wind when the surfer stands on a board with a sail attached.

Kitesurfing, or sky boarding, involves using a power kite to pull the surfer through the water.

Skimboarding is often mistaken for surfing. Surfers go further into the water to catch bigger surfing waves.

Skimboarders start from the shore itself, wade out into the water, and then ride back to the shore.

Skimboarders usually prefer smaller waterbodies such as lakes as compared to surfers who prefer the ocean.

Bodyboarding is another sport that shares similarities with surfing, except in bodyboarding, the surfer lies down on the board and in most cases uses fins.

A surfboard is usually made of foam and fiberglass and is much longer than a wakeboard or windsurf board.

Wave selection is another important factor that sets surfing apart from other water sports.

Surfers look for waves that are the right height and shape to ride on.

A good surf break is something a surfer always looks out for. Surf breaks allow the creation of waves that are essential to a surfer.

Surfing demands good maneuvering skills, paddle power, and control over one's body.

You have to be strategic about when you catch a wave and use your body weight to control the board.

The experience of surfing is one where you bare yourself to the natural elements.

The feeling of being one with the ocean is what makes surfing such an addictive sport.

Equipment Used

You don't necessarily need a specialized surfboard to start surfing. In fact, you can use any kind of board that floats on water.

You can surf on longboards, skimboards, paddleboards, bodyboards, and even wave skis.

Boards can be made of different materials such as fiberglass foam, polyurethane, carbon fiber, and even bamboo.

Some common surfboard designs include the shortboard, longboard, funboard, fish board, and gun board.

Add-ons to the surfboard include leashes, traction pads, and fins.

A leash is a cord that attaches the surfer to the board.

The leash is important in case you fall off your board. It prevents you from being carried away by waves.

Traction pads are pieces of rubber or foam that attach to the top of the surfboard to provide grip and prevent your feet from slipping.

Fins are attached to the bottom of the board and help with maneuverability and balance.

A wetsuit is an important piece of equipment for surfing in cold water conditions.

Wearing a wetsuit protects you from jellyfish stings, sunburns, and most importantly, hypothermia.

It is a neoprene suit that covers the entire body and helps to keep the surfer warm in colder waters.

The thickness of the suit will depend on the water temperature.

A wet suit doesn't just regulate temperature but also provides buoyancy and floatation.

For warmer waters, most people opt for a rash guard instead of a full-body wetsuit.

A rash guard is a shirt made of Lycra or spandex that protects the skin from rashes caused by wax on the surfboard. It also provides UV protection from the sun.

Famous Surfers

How can we not talk about some of the biggest names in surfing? These are the folks who have made a name for themselves by riding some of the wildest waves in the water.

Kelly Slater is an A-lister in the world of surfing. He has a net worth of around $22 million.

Slater is a record-breaking professional surfer who has won the World Surf League 11 times!

Kelly Slater had a chance encounter with 'Big Wave' Davis in Makaha, Hawaii in 1987. The meeting made is what made him set his mind to surfing.

Tom Blake was an exemplary figure in the world of surfing. The Wisconsin-born surfer first started out as a lifeguard.

He then took up competitive swimming and ended up breaking a record.

Blake was inspired by the traditional Hawaiian surfing culture and was even friends with none other than Duke Kahanamoku 

Tom Blake is credited with inventing the first hollow surfboards.

He took the classic heavy olo boards and strategically drilled holes in them, then covered the boards with a thin layer.

This innovation drastically improved the maneuverability of the surfboard and allowed better control for the surfer.

Bethany Hamilton is another famous surfer who has made a name for herself in the world of surfing.

Hamilton is best known for being one of the most famous survivors of shark attacks.

In 2003 when she was only 13, she was attacked by a 14 ft (4.26 m) tiger shark while surfing off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii.

Despite losing her arm in the attack, Bethany Hamilton continued to surf and went on to win numerous championships.

She won The Best Comeback Athlete ESPY in 2004, and the first position at the Surf ‘n’ Sea Pipeline Women’s Pro.

Stephanie Gilmore is one of the most renowned female surfers. Hailing from New South Wales, Australia, Gilmore is a seven-time world champion whose professional surfing career began at the young age of 17.

Gilmore's surfing skills have landed her in the Surfers' Hall of Fame.

One Panamanian surfer, Gary Saavedra, made a world record by surfing a 41.3 mi (66.46 km) wave for 3 hours and 55 minutes!

In 2004, Brazilian surfer Picuruta Salazar rode the Pororoca wave for 37 minutes and 7.4 mi (12.2 km) and made a record for the longest ride ever done on a wave. Pororoca comes under river waves, AKA tidal bores.

If you're looking for a new and exciting water sport to try, surfing is definitely the way to go. With its rich history and many variations, there's something for everyone when it comes to surfing. And while it may take a little bit of practice to get the hang of it, don't let that stop you. Surfing can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels.

It’s also not as expensive as some other sports. You don’t need much equipment to get started, and there are plenty of resources available online and in-person to help you learn.

Keep reading our article on surfing facts! And later, feel free to grab your board and hit the waves!

The Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Statue is a nine-foot bronze sculpture in Honolulu that is dedicated to legendary Hawaiian surfer and Father of Modern Surfing.


Why is surfing so fun?

A: Surfing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise, and feel the thrill of wave riding. Most surfers agree that the adrenaline rush you get from surfing is unbeatable.

Is surfing hard to learn?

A: It can be challenging to learn how to surf, but there are plenty of resources available to help you get started. Surfing schools are located all over the world, and many of them offer beginner classes. Like with any new skill, it takes some time and practice to learn how to surf but once you get the hang of it, it can be a lot of fun!

What is the best age to start surfing?

A: There is no definitive answer, but most experts agree that the best age to start surfing is between six and nine years old. This is because children in this age range are typically strong enough to paddle out into the waves and catch a ride.

How expensive is surfing?

A: Surfing can be an expensive sport, but it isn't always. You can buy a basic surfboard for around $100, and there are plenty of places where you can rent or borrow equipment if you don’t want to invest in your own gear.

Why do surfers wax their boards?

A: Surfers wax their boards to help them stay on top of the wave. The surf wax provides a sticky surface that helps keep the surfer on the board.

What country is surfing most popular in?

A: Surfing is most popular in Australia, South Africa, the United States, and Brazil. These countries have a long history with the sport, and they boast some of the best surfing spots in the world.

<p>A dedicated and passionate writer, Helga brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team. She holds a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and Language from Lady Shri Ram College For Womenand has a keen interest in charitable work, particularly in animal welfare, which drives her commitment to making a positive impact. Previously, she volunteered for the Friendicoes National Service Scheme, managing their social media platforms and organizing charity events for animals in need.</p>

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