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All you need to know about surfing

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Surfing history


3000 - 1000 BC - Pre-Inca origins. Contrary to popular belief, surfing did not start in Hawaii but in Peru, during the pre-Inca period, under the Mochica culture. Caballitos de Totora Drawings were found on pottery of this period, showing Inca fishermen riding ocean waves on wooden planks and boats made of reeds called the “caballitos de totora”. Thus surfing was really born on the northern coast of Peru. Caballitos de totora are still popular with fishermen and tourists today. 900 BC- Hawaii origins Surfing history, as most people know it, started in the Pacific. James Cook Voyages The earliest records of the Hawaiian origin of surfing date back to 1769. During the first James Cook’s voyage on the HMS Endeavour, the botanist Joseph Banksfirst wrote about wave riding at Matavay Bay, Tahiti Later, in 1778, on the 2nd trip Captain James Cook saw surfers at the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). He started to write about surfing in his travel diary. But then he was killed by the inhabitants in Kealakekua Bay, who thought he wanted to kidnap their high chief. North America origins - 19th century In 1885 three young Hawaiian princes escaped from their boarding school and came to Santa Cruz in California. There, they surfed the mouth of the San Lorenzo River on surfboards crafted from redwood. The First Man to Surf in the USA Following the annexation of Hawaii in 1898, the lost tribal tradition of surfing was revived in California. Joined efforts of writer Jack London and Alexander Hume Ford led to the invitation of Waikiki beach boy George Freeth in 1907. Freeth earned the title “First Man to Surf California”, when he came to promote the Redonodo Los Angekes Railway. The three men later opened the first surfing club in Waikiki, the Outrigger Canoe Club in 1911. The Father of Modern Surfing It was Duke Kahanamoku who made the sport really come out on stage in 1912.The Duke was a pioneer among the many key personalities in surfing history. As a passionate Hawaiian surfer and Olympic record swimmer, his demonstrations in California caused a much greater frenzy than Freeth’s. Along with his Hollywood fame and surfing skills, he popularized the sport universally. Today, “The Duke” is the father of modern surfing. His appearances marked the begin of the American surfing era. Australia origins: 20th century The surfing history in Australia is quite different from American. Rescue Surf Clubs During colonialism, a law prevented Australians to bathe and enjoy the sea and beaches. This law was revoked in 1903. As a result, Australians began enjoying the beaches. However, the sea remained a dangerous environment therefore, sea rescue organisations developed. The rescue training techniques quickly evolved into a sport in its own right. It was at Manly Beach that everything started. First rescue demonstrations followed at the beach in 1903. The surf bathing association resulted from the foundation of the Bondy Surf Club in 1906 and nine rescue clubs in 1907. Then, in 1909 the first documentary film called “Surf Sports at Manly” was screened around the country. One year later, the Manly Surf Carnival attracted hundreds of spectators with surf and rescue drills by men and women. Modern surfing : 20th century Post-war pioneers Woodbridge Parker “Woody” Brown, Rabbit Kekai and John Kelly were the initiators of a new wave of surfing history in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Materials used to make surfboards began to change, making them lighter, finer and more maneuverable. The 1950s marked the launch of the modern history of surfing, with surfers increasingly flocking to Hawaii. Characters such as Fred van Dyke, Peter Coleand John Kelly started surfing giant waves on the Makaha spots, Sunset beach and later Waimea bay with local surfers like Eddie Aikau and Buffalo Keaulana. Surfing was becoming more and more mainstream in the 50s and 60s, as many artists and musicians learnt about surf culture, associating it with “flower power“. Surfing began to gradually move away from its macho roots thanks to the adventures of pioneering surfers like Eve Fletcher or Anona Napoleon. Modern Surfboard Design With the usage of plastic and composite materials and industrial manufacturing, surfboard design changed. This replaced the hand-cut wooden boards of the old times. The invention of neoprene suits (by legendary Jack O’Neil) and leashes further contributed to wider spread of the sport. Surfboards have evolved considerably, with the appearance of the thruster fins, and new surfboards designs that allowed for ever more impressive maneuvers. Finally, over the past 50 years, surfing has taken an unprecedented turn. Culture and style have changed. Great surfers like Tom Carroll with his ressive style, Tom Curren with his ability to surf big barrels began taking the sport to ever new heights. Growing Popularity Today, further growth of popularity of surfing is driven by world competitions between famous surfers like the 12 time world champion Kelly Slater, John John Florence, Gabriel Medina and many others. Yet, despite the globalization, the newest technology, the growth of multiple surf clothing brands and other factors leading to commercialisation of surfing, it has been able to preserve a part of the spirit of the pioneers of surfing. Surfing is a state of mind, with no borders and no limitations. Wherever there are waves, there are communities of surfers, who live its spirit and enjoy being close to the nature and harmony with the ocean.




Surfing etiquette


A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO SURFING ETIQUETTE THE SURFER’S CODE A Set of Universal Surfing Safety Rules that apply to Everyone who enters the Surf If you want to learn surfing properly, it is essential you learn the rules of the sport. Surfing etiquette is a list of the unwritten laws of surfing. Every surfer should follow the rules while in the water. If surfers don’t respect the rules, accidents and injuries are bound to happen, especially in crowded lineups where the confusion is big. Surfing Etiquette is a guide that applies to all surfers whether beginner, intermediate or advanced. It applies to all lineups and is important so that everyone in the water can enjoy the waves. One of the most influential surfers of all time, Shaun Tomson, wrote down 12 lessons for surfing and business and shared them with the world. In his book, Shaun elaborates on the Surfer’s Code that guided his career and life. Right of Way The surfer who is closest to the peak has the right of way. Every other surfer must yield if he or she paddles to catch the wave. This is a fundamental rule of surfing etiquette. Don’t Drop In This is another very important rule of surfing etiquette. By dropping in, you take off on a wave that is already being surfed or in front of the surfer that is closest to the peak, therefore having right of way. Dropping in on someone will ruin the wave for them because you are essentially stealing the wave. Dropping in is not only annoying but also dangerous, because collisions could arise. If you drop in by accident, kick-out immediately and apologize if possible. Don’t Snake By Snaking, you paddle around a surfer to get closer to the peak and therefore gain right of way. Again, this is also stealing the wave. You will make enemies quickly by snaking. Be patient, there are waves for everyone. Don’t Hog the Waves Now that you have positioned yourself perfectly and are able to catch all the waves, it still doesn’t mean that you should. The best lineups are made up of respectful surfers who share the waves. Remember, sharing is caring, the others in the lineup also came to surf so share the waves and the stoke. Communicate Communication is essential, especially when it’s crowded. When you paddle for a wave and feel that you probably won’t get it, you should give a shout to the surfers sitting lower, so the wave doesn’t stay unridden. Also, if two surfers surf an a-frame, communication is essential. Paddle Wide When paddling out to the lineup, remember to paddle wide. Do not attempt to paddle through the break but around it. This will take more time but this way you will not risk ruining someone’s wave. If you are stuck in the impact zone, try your best to avoid getting in the way of someone riding the wave. If a surfer is riding the wave towards you, and you cannot avoid the surfer, always paddle towards the whitewater. Respect the Locals Always respect the locals when you are visiting a break. Remember you are a guest and act accordingly. Don’t paddle on the inside of locals and wait your turn to catch waves. With the proper surfing etiquette in mind, you should not have problems. Know Your Limits If you just started out on your wonderful journey of surfing, and still have a long way to go, by all means, avoid surf spots beyond your abilities. Stay away from crowded line-ups when conditions are pumping. Remember if in doubt, stay out. Surfing at spots beyond your abilities not only endangers you but the other surfers in the water as well. Don’t Ditch Your Board Surfboards can turn into weapons and literally kill or heavily injure someone. Remember this and do not ditch your board. If you kick-out or fall, try to control your board and make sure you are not endangering others around you. Ditching your board thoughtlessly, when others are around, is a very kook thing to do and another fundamental rule of surfing etiquette. Help other surfers Always stay friendly in the line-up, and help other surfers when they need your help. Especially important in bigger waves. Do Apologize Mistakes are part of being human. If you break one of these rules by accident, remember to apologize respectfully, and try to understand how to avoid it in the future. Respect the Beach Do not litter! Respect the ocean and the beach. Pick up trash you see lying around and by doing so add good karma for your surfing skills. Have Fun! Don’t forget that surfing is about having fun! Stick to these guidelines, be mindful and share the stoke!




Surf slang


SURFING TERMS & SURF SLANG If you want to learn how to surf, it’s essential to know the surfing terms. The sooner you learn about surfing etiquette and the surf slang, the better. Surfing is a lifestyle, not just a sport and every sub-culture has its lingo. Surf slang is probably one of the most recognizable slangs and can be found around the world, wherever waves are close. Most countries that have an established surf culture usually also have a few surfing terms in their own language. However, most of the commonly used surfing terms were first invented by US-American, Hawaiian, South African and Australian surfers thus, they remain untranslated and are usually used in English. Check out our surf slang glossary to learn some common terms used by most surfers around the globe. A-Frame A wave breaking both left and right. Aerial A trick by which you jump off the surface of the wave. Backdoor Taking a wave from behind the peak of a hollow wave and surfing through the barrel to the other side of the peak. Backside The position when surfing with your back facing the wave. Bailing Jumping off the board to avoid a wipe-out. Barrel The hollow curling part of the wave aka the dream of every surfer. Beach Break A surf spot where the waves break over sandy bottom; more beginner friendly because of reduced risk of injury but also harder to read the waves. Famara beach, best Europe’s beach break for beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers – Bottom Turn The turn that is made at the bottom of the wave. Blown-Out Bad surf conditions due to wind. Break The part of the swell that breaks creating surfable waves. Carve A sharp turn on the face of the wave whereby one of the rails of the board are submerged in the water. Caught Inside Being caught or stuck between the shoreline and the breaking waves. Channel Deeper area of the ocean floor where waves tend to be smaller, making it easier to paddle out. Choppy Rough, bumpy waves due to wind conditions. Close-Out When a wave breaks all at once without a wall. Curl The top part of a wave, that breaks towards the shoulder of the wave. Cutback A cutback is a manoeuvre, where you turn the board back towards the pocket, ideally hit the curling lip and turn back into the wall. This basic manoeuvre gives you speed for the next turn. Dawn Patrol Sunrise surfing. Deck The top part of the surfboard. Ding Damage done to your surfboard by dropping, collision etc.; dings should be dried and repaired to prevent the surfboard from filling with water. Drop The first part of a ride, after popping-up the surfer “drops” down the face of the wave. Drop-In To get in the right of way of a surfer who is already surfing a wave. Duck-Dive The technique of pushing a surfboard underwater before a breaking wave in order to make it out to the line-up. Dick-dives are usually performed on shortboards. Eskimo Roll The technique of rolling over with a surfboard that gets a surfer through a wave without being washed to shore. Eskimo Rolls are usually performed on longboards and funboards; same as Turtle Roll. Face The surfable part of a wave, that is just about to break. The face of a wave is the place for turns and manoeuvres. Fins Rudderlike devices attached to the bottom of a surfboard. Fins provide the ability to steer, give the board speed and direction. Fins are usually used in sets of three (see Thruster). Fish A rounded, short and wide surfboard design, that is easy to paddle and allows to surf mushy waves, while allowing maneuverability and speed (5-6ft). Flat Tiny or no waves at all. We are so happy to be based in one most swell consistent places in Europe. Foamies Foamies are soft beginner surfboards constructed out of foam (7-9ft). Very safe and easy to surf. Beginners should always start to learn how to surf on a foamie. Watch out, surf schools, where the lessons take place on hard boards, should not be considered as professional. Front-Side The position when surfing a wave facing the wall with your chest. Funboard A medium length surfboard with a round nose usually ranging from 6’8 to 7’10 feet long. Glassy The smooth surface of a wave, when no wind disrupts. Perfect surf conditions. Goofy Foot Surfing with the right foot forward on the board. Gnarly Heavy, big and dangerous surf. Extreme conditions. Green Room The inside of a barrelling wave. The place to be. Groundswell Swell that travelled a long way through the ocean, created by storms offshore and usually creating powerful waves. Grom A young surfer; aka grommet. Gun A big, pointy surfboard made specifically for big wave surfing and usually designed for a specific wave (i.e Mavericks gun or Waimea Gun); aka rhino chaser. Hang Five Riding a longboard with 5 toes off the nose of the board. Hang Loose A Hawaiian expression for an easy-going attitude; see shaka. Hang-Ten Riding a longboard with all 10 toes off the nose of the board. Heat A competitive period held in surf contest. Hollow waves Barrels, tubes. Hybrid A surfboard design that combines the high performance of a shortboard with the width, tail, and sometimes nose of a fish. A hybrid is a good choice for mushy waves or for surfer seeking extra volume. Impact Zone Impact zone is where the waves break. Avoid the impact zone when paddling out. Inside Anywhere between breaking waves and shoreline. Kick-Out To go over or through the back of the wave when ending a ride. Kook A surfer, acting inappropriately according to the surfing etiquette. Usually, a kook has a very low surfing level, absolutely clueless about being a hassle or even a hazard for other surfers in the water. Furthermore, a kook can be somebody, who doesn’t understand surfing culture or lifestyle. Left-hander A wave breaking to the left from the surfer’s perspective. Line-Up The spot where the waves break. Surfers line up in order to catch waves. Lines The lines of waves, approaching the shore. Lip The part of the wave that pitches out as it breaks; where most of the power is located. Localism The aggression of local surfers toward non-local surfers. Locals Local surfers. The guys usually know their home spots best. Always respect the locals when you travel. Longboard Long surfboard, 9 ft or more with a round nose. Longboarding is the classic style of surfing. Messy Irregular, unpredictable surfing conditions. Mush Non-powerful waves, too soft to surf. Nose The front part of the surfboards, differs with shapes. Nose dive Digging in with the nose of your surfboard into the wave during take-off. Offshore Best wind for surfing. Wind is blowing from the shore into the ocean, slowing down the wave, making it hollower and smoothing its surface. Perfect for barrels. Onshore Wind blowing from the ocean to the shore, usually destroying the waves, creating chop. Overhead Approximated wave height measured on surfer’s height. The lip of an overhead wave is slightly higher than the surfer on the wave. In conclusion, double overhead waves would be twice surfer’s height. The highest part of a breaking wave, creating both left and right shoulders to ride. Pit The most hollow part of a barrelling wave. Pitted When a surfer gets barrelled. Pocket Pocket also called wave pocket is the most powerful and steepest part of the wave, just next to the breaking lip. Progressive surfers surf very close to the pocket, in order to execute more radical manoeuvres, generating more speed. Point-Break Point-break is called a type of wave which breaks on land or rocks which are part of the coastline. Waves usually wrap around a point-break. In conclusion, point-breaks can be either lefts or rights. Pop-Up The move a surfer performs to get into standing position on the surfboard and surf the wave. Pumping Great surf conditions. Doesn’t have to be big, but nice and consistent. Quiver Basically, a quiver means surfboards. On one side, it can be the surfer’s private surfboards collection. In the same way, a quiver means the complete range of a certain surfboard model in all available sizes or shapes. Rails The sides or edges of the surfboard. The thickness of the rails has a huge impact on the buoyancy of the surfboard and its manoeuvrability. Regular-Footed Surfing with your left foot forward (opposite: goofy). Right-hander A wave breaking to the right from the surfer’s perspective. Right of way Priority for a wave given to the surfer closest to the breaking part of the wave. Riptide A strong surface current flowing from the shoreline into the sea aka rip current or rip. Rocker The curve of the surfboard from nose to tail, or from one rail to another. Low rocker makes paddling easier, good for fat beachy waves. More rocker makes the board more manoeuvrable. Equally important are the nose and the tail rocker. Nose rocker, f.e. prevents nosediving in hollow waves. More info about rocker in surfboard design. Section A segment or part of a wave. A section can be fast, slow, hollow, fat, or close out. A wave usually has several sections. Set A group of waves, heading towards the shore. Shaka A Hawaiian hand gesture used by surfers to express “hello”; “cool”; “great”; done by extending their thumb and pinkie finger. Shape When talking about a wave: A term describing the quality of a wave as it breaks. When talking about surfboards: A shape means the design of the surfboard. Shaper A designer and producer making custom made surfboards. Shorebreak Usually unsurfable waves, breaking right at the shore. Shortboard A short surfboard ranges from 5 to 7 feet, usually with a pointed nose, designed for performance surfing with radical manoeuvres. Shove-It Moving the surfboard 180° or 360° under the surfer while riding. Sick Awesome, impressive. Sick, also can be called amazing surfing conditions or a very radical and nicely performed manoeuvre. Slotted A surfer, perfectly situated inside a barrel. Snaking Paddling around, under or over another surfer to get right of way; a way of “stealing” a wave. If you snake, most probably you won’t make yourself popular among other surfers in the water. Softboard Beginner surfboard; see Foamies. Soup The foam of a wave or whitewater. Comes usually straight after the washing machine. Spat-Out When a surfer exits a barrel getting pushed from the back by the water splash from inside of the barrel. Spit Water that is sprayed out from the inside of a barrel as the wave breaks. Stick A stick is another word for a surfboard. Stoked Pumped, extremely happy or excited. The Stoke is also excitement or enthusiasm. Stringer The small wood band incorporated along the board, acting as a spine. One of the main components of a surfboard, essential for the solidity of the surfboard. Swell Basically swell refers to water masses, travelling through the ocean. The swell can come from different directions and can be differentiated into groundswell or wind swell. Swell influences wave height, shape and power. Tail The back end of a surfboard. Take-Off Catching a wave. Thruster A three-fin surfboard design created in 1982 by Simon Anderson; the most common fin setup today allowing control and maneuverability. Tube Barrel, hollow part of a curling wave. Turtle Roll The technique of rolling over with a surfboard that gets a surfer through a wave without being washed to shore; see also Eskimo Roll. Wall Another word for a face of the wave. Washing Machine Being rolled-around underwater by a breaking wave. Wave Hog A surfer, unwilling to share waves. Wax A substance used to rub on the deck of a surfboard for better grip. White Water The foam of a breaking wave. Wipe-Out Falling off a wave while surfing it. Worked Being knocked off a wave and going through the washing machine.




Choosing the surfboard


SURFBOARD CHOICE THE DIFFERENT STEPS TO KEEP IN MIND Choosing a surfboard, contrary to the commons ideas of many beginners, is not an easy or straightforward task. There is a multitude of boards, with radically different shapes and designs. Below are the various parameters to take into consideration Determine your surfing level First, you must be able to be objective in evaluating your own surfing level. What skills do you think you have? Are you beginner, intermediate, advanced? If you can not determine your level yourself, ask your surfer friends who have seen you in action for their opinion, which will probably be more objective. Consider your body size in general Then consider your body size in general. Your height and weight will play an important role in your choice of surfboard. These parameters help you determine the volume you need for your next surfboard. We have a motto at Red Star Surf that says “volume is your friend” – the more volume you have, the easier it will be to paddle and catch more waves during your session, so that you enjoy it most! Your fitness level Your fitness level is also very important. If you are not used to surfing or even other sports in general, you will have to choose a certain type of surfboard. Surfing requires a fairly high level of physical fitness, and some types of surfboards are more or less suitable for good physical condition. Take a look at our fitness for surfing page if you want some tips to help you progress. The type of wave you are most likely to surf Furthermore, think about the type of waves you like to surf, and especially the ones that you have access to most often. Depending on where you live, you will certainly not have (at least, not every day!) the same perfect waves that can be found in Indonesia, for example. Will the waves that you will be surfing most often be hollow and fast, or slow and short? Different type of waves require different surfboards.