Surfing is a surface water sport in which the wave rider, referred to as a
surfer, rides on the forward or face of a moving wave, which usually carries
the surfer towards the shore. Waves suitable for surfing are primarily found
in the ocean, but can also be found in lakes or rivers in the form of a
standing wave or tidal bore. However, surfers can also utilize artificial
waves such as those from boat wakes and the waves created in artificial wave
The term surfing refers to the act of riding a wave, regardless of whether
the wave is ridden with a board or without a board, and regardless of the
stance used. The native peoples of the Pacific, for instance, surfed waves
on alaia, paipo, and other such craft, and did so on their belly and knees.
The modern-day definition of surfing, however, most often refers to a surfer
riding a wave standing up on a surfboard; this is also referred to as
Another prominent form of surfing is body boarding,
when a surfer rides a wave on a bodyboard, either lying on their belly, drop
knee, or sometimes even standing up on a body board. Other types of surfing
include knee boarding, surf matting (riding inflatable mats), and using
foils. Body surfing, where the wave is surfed without a board, using the
surfer's own body to catch and ride the wave, is very common and is
considered by some to be the purest form of surfing.
subdivisions within stand-up surfing are stand-up paddling, long boarding
and short boarding with several major differences including the board design
and length, the riding style, and the kind of wave that is ridden.
In tow-in surfing (most often, but not exclusively, associated with big wave
surfing), a motorized water vehicle, such as a personal watercraft, tows the
surfer into the wave front, helping the surfer match a large wave's speed,
which is generally a higher speed than a self-propelled surfer can produce.
Surfing-related sports such as paddle boarding and sea kayaking do not
require waves, and other derivative sports such as kite surfing and
windsurfing rely primarily on wind for power, yet all of these platforms may
also be used to ride waves. Recently with the use of V-drive boats,
Wakesurfing, in which one surfs on the wake of a boat, has emerged. The
Guinness Book of World Records recognized a 23.8 m (78 ft) wave ride by
Garrett McNamara at Nazaré, Portugal as the largest wave ever surfed.
For hundreds of years, surfing was a central part of ancient Polynesian
culture. Surfing may have first been observed by British explorers at
Tahiti in 1767. Samuel Wallis and the crew members of HMS Dolphin who
were the first Britons to visit the island in June of that year. Another
candidate is the botanist Joseph Banks being part of the first voyage of
James Cook on HMS Endeavour, who arrived on Tahiti on 10 April 1769.
Lieutenant James King was the first person to write about the art of
surfing on Hawaii when he was completing the journals of Captain James
Cook upon Cook's death in 1779.
-The Best Surfers-