Surfing: History, rules, types, technique, tables, surfboards, Olympic Games - teenflixsports

 Surf History, rules, types and surfboards

Surfing is a water sport and consists of riding waves on a board trying to stay on it for as long as possible. It is practiced worldwide and is highly acclaimed. Athletes who ride surfboards are known as surfers and often take years to perfectly master the board and shine in international surfing competitions, and even reach the Olympic Games 

Surfing is a sport that requires a lot of concentration, balance and good reflexes. In addition, participants must know how to swim very well, know how the sea works and know how to choose the best waves. There are many types of surfing , some require more physical capacity and others are based on executing turns and pirouettes on the waves, so you can choose the format that you like best.

Surfing is a lifestyle, it is being in tune with nature . It is a sport that generates adrenaline, which causes you to get out of your control zone and have a feeling of complete well-being. Without a doubt, it helps to satisfy the most basic human needs: a feeling of power, freedom, social inclusion and adventure. It is a type of sport that absorbs you in the water; your mind goes blank and only focuses on enjoying. If you want to live this sensation, in this article you will learn what surfing is , its history , rules and which are the most suitable boards for you. There are different types of surfing, so it is important that you know them all to know which one you want to practice.

Origin and history of surfing

Surfing is an ancient sport first practiced in Indonesia during the 18th century . However, it is in northern Peru where the first evidence of people practicing this sport is found. In this way, the history of surfing has its origins in South America, although it was the Polynesians who, centuries later, brought the taste for surfing to places like Hawaii. The first Polynesians arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in the 4th century AD, as they were forced to emigrate due to their increasing population. So these Polynesians brought their customs with them, including surfing . The art of board surfing long was certainly invented and perfected in Hawaii. Thus, in 1779, riding waves lying down or standing on long wooden surfboards was a very integrated practice in society.

The first English-speaking person to write about surfing and waves was the explorer and discoverer of the antipodes, James Cook. As early as the 18th century, he wrote about canoe surfing and board surfing during his stops in Hawaii and Tahiti between 1777 and 1779. Thus, this sport has many years of history .

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History of modern surfing

In the time after Cook's arrival, indigenous Hawaiian cultures were suppressed and surfing declined. It was in the middle of the 20th century when this sport recovered with the arrival of tourists and the US military in Hawaii. In addition, with the fame of the Hawaiian Olympian Duke Kahanamoku, surfing began to become popular on the coasts of California and Australia, later spreading to other countries. According to its history , in 1956 it became one of the most popular sports on the Pacific coast of North America. At first, the tables were carved from solid wood, which made it easier to practice. Later, the surfIt evolved until it became a very complete sport, with multiple acrobatics, movements and materials.

Duke is considered the father of modern surfing . This practice, as we know it today, was born on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, when local surfers began taking tourists on alternative itineraries and to experience wave riding. From the 60s, history dictates that surfing became popular on many continents. In recent years, the destinations most requested by travelers who practice it are Australia and Southeast Asia. It also has great importance in Latin America, especially Peru, Chile, Mexico or Brazil. This sport has evolved so much that, currently, there are many variants and types of surfing. In addition, it became an Olympic sport in Tokyo 2020, and it has clear and concise rules in order to favor its practice.

Objective and rules of surfing

The goal of surfing is to remain standing on the board for as long as possible while performing turns and pirouettes as you ride on a wave. After knowing its origin and history , it is necessary that you keep in mind its rules if you want to become a true surfer. So that you can enjoy your baths in the sea and function with ease, we leave you 9 basic rules that you must take into account when surfing . These rules are regulated by the International Surfing Association (ISA). Later, we will see all types of surf and boardsthat exist to be able to practice it.

9 rules of surfing

  • Priority: Just wait your turn giving preference to whoever is closest to the area where the wave breaks.
  • Know your limitations: Surfing is a sport that implies having a good physical condition. If you see that the strength and size of the waves are too big for your level of surfing , don't get involved.
  • If you make a decision, don't back down: If you're going to catch a wave, do it decisively.
  • Stay out of reach of other surfers when they are on a wave: The rules state that you do not interfere with the trajectory of a surfer who is catching a wave.
  • Respect, tolerance and civility: Respect other surfers who are in the water and, above all, help those who need it. Not all of us have the same level of surfing , therefore, be tolerant with those who are learning
  • Prudence: In a dangerous situation, such as a possible collision with another surfer, be prudent and wait for the area to be clear to catch a wave.
  • Respect the environment: As dictated by the rules of surfing , do not leave garbage on the beach once you finish the day of surfing .
  • Don't drop your board: Loose surfboards can do a lot of damage to someone if they hit you in a critical area.
  • Do not do the snake: This technique, also known as the snake, is widely used among the smartest of the peak with the aim of skipping preferences and getting to surf one wave after another.

Modalities and types of surfing

Surfing is not only practiced in the sea or the ocean ; waves can also be surfed in rivers, lakes or artificial wave pools, as dictated by its rules . There are different types of surfing and different modalities that are born as a result of this sport and that offer different versions of how to catch the waves. First of all, base surfing is the traditional sport, from which the other classifications have been derived. There are three categories in relation to tables :

  • Surfing with a longboard : It consists of catching waves with large boards (from 2.4 to 3.6m in length). You will be able to perform different maneuvers on waves at high speed.
  • Shortboard surfing : This is the surf that occurs in most championships, with faster, more explosive and smaller boards (1.5 to 2m). Its size will allow you to have greater maneuverability in and out of the waves and even perform aerial jumps.
  • Surfing with a funboard : It is one of the most recommended surfboards to start with, since they have the perfect measurements for beginners (from 1.8 to 2.4m). Thanks to it, you will be able to learn to chase waves, maneuver on them, get a good speed and maintain stability.

Kitesurfing and sailing

As we have said, surfing is an ancient sport. Throughout its entire history , it has evolved and different modalities have appeared. Among the different types of surfing , we find sailing and sailing.

  • Windsurfing : It is considered an Olympic sport. It consists of sailing with the impulse of the wind, on top of a board and with a sail that has the possibility of rotating. With this type of surfing , you can perform incredible tricks if you have a great command of the environment.
  • Kitesurf : Take advantage of the forces of the wind by means of a traction kite. The kite acts as a sail and is attached to the athlete's body by means of a harness. This will give you the freedom to do lots of jumping, spinning, and flipping. In addition, kitesurfing has different modalities depending on the types of boards you use.
  • Wingfoil : The evolution of the kitesurfing industry has made it possible for the wingfoil to emerge. Thus, it is one of the newest sports that exist. According to the rules , it consists of riding a foil board while carrying an inflatable sail in your hands.

Modern and popular types of surfing

In addition to those mentioned above, there are more currently well-known types of surfing , such as SUP or kayay surfing. First of all, stand up paddle boarding is one of the new styles of surfing. It consists of standing up on a large board and using a paddle as a mode of propulsion. There are different types of boards depending on the modality (for walks, long journeys or to catch waves). In addition, it is a sport that has become very popular in Spain in recent years. Second, kayak surfing It is one of the most modern varieties. It is based on moving the kayak to the sea and taking advantage of the force of the waves to go at high speed with the help of the paddle. The idea is to perform all kinds of maneuvers just like with a board.

Other types of surfing that are very popular today are skimboarding , tow-in surfing , and surf foiling . On the one hand, skimboarding consists of surfing the shore waves, right where they break, with a smaller and thinner board. It is a modality very similar to skateboarding. On the other hand, in tow-in surfing, the surfer uses the support of jet skis as a means of accessing huge waves, higher than 30 feet. Finally, foil surfing emerged thanks to the development of hydrofoil boards , which levitate the rider on waves that have not even broken.

Surfboard positions

History notes that Tom Morey was the inventor of the bodyboard . This variant of surfing consists of sliding on the surface or wall of the wave with boards of small sizes and with a square tip. It resembles bodysurfing in the use of power fins, the techniques used, and the position of the body. The rules allow you to use different positions on top of the table. Thus, within this classification there are other modalities:

  • Prone (lying down): It is a modern style of surfing in which speed prevails as a result of the hydrofoils adapted to the board. It consists of floating on the waves while you are lying down.
  • Dropknee (on your knees): It consists of going to the waves lying on the board. Next, you should slide your knees under your body, bend your leg forward with your foot on your nose, come into a dropknee position, and dive into the wave.
  • Stand-up (standing): You have to place both feet on the bodyboard while riding the waves at top speed. It is one of the easiest types of surfing to play if you master the dropknee technique.

Surfing has revolutionized the way of facing the waves with a high level of adrenaline. It is a great way to be in contact with nature and free yourself from stress. Currently, it is a huge industry that is gaining strength every day thanks to competitions, advertising media and accessories for its practices. It is very possible that new types of surfing and more specialized boards will appear in a short time.

Surfing equipment: surfboards

In order to surf, there is a necessary equipment that you must have. The table is the essential element; it is important to choose the design that best suits you depending on the level and physical conditions. The rules of surfing establish that the keels or fins are also essential, because without them you could not surf the wave properly. So is the wax or paraffin that is placed on top of the tables to improve the athlete's grip and prevent slipping. Depending on the sea temperature, the neoprene suit is essential. In these cases it is also common to use boots of the same material, hats and gloves to avoid hypothermia. Extra accessories are part of the kit and include the wax comb, board storage bag, ear plugs and nose cups.

Surfboards, an essential element

There are as many boards as there are types of surf , so choosing one at random is not the best option. Choosing the most suitable one will depend on some factors such as your way of surfing and your weight. The heavier, the larger the dimensions of your board should be. In addition, you also have to know where you are going to use it, under what geographical and climatic conditions, as well as what type of surf you want to do. There is no one board design that can perform in all situations, nor is there one that is versatile enough to cover all styles. Therefore, in addition to the already mentioned longboard and shortboard, we find the following types of surfboards .

tables for beginners

  • Evolutionary: They are the best types of surfboards for beginners. The reason is its large and thick silhouette, which provides you with greater stability and buoyancy. Its design makes it easy to paddle and ride the waves from day one.
  • Minimalibu: They are perfect boards for those of you who are starting out, but have already taken your first steps in surfing and want to continue evolving. They are designed to ride waves of medium and low height, provide great stability and facilitate paddling. Also, they are wide boards from the tail to the nose.
  • Boards for groms: Another of the types of surfboards to start with are the groms or boards for children, adapted to their weights and heights. Its measurements are much shorter compared to a beginner's board, but the possibility of floatation and handling are higher. They are the best option to introduce children to the world of surfing .

Intermediate and expert level boards

  • Retro: They stand out for their peculiar design inspired by the 70s. In order for you to be able to surf well with these boards , you must have at least an intermediate level. They are perfect for small or medium waves, not for big waves. Also, within this range of boards we can find single fins, twin fins, bonzers and hulls.
  • Fish: They are fast and stable boards . They have more volume than shortboards, which gives them greater buoyancy making paddling easier. They are ideal if you have an intermediate level of surfing and want to move to a short board, or for experienced surfers on small wave days.
  • Gun: Guns boards are designed to ride big waves. The longer the board, the bigger waves you can catch. Its shape is elongated with a pointed nose and tail for maximum acceleration and greater stability. It is one of the types of boards made of the most resistant materials and is aimed at people with a very high level of surfing .

Surf technique: How to surf?

learn to surfit is not an easy task. Therefore, it is better to start practicing on the floor. Attach the strap to your back foot and lie on your stomach so that your body is in line with the middle of the board. Lying like that, practice the rowing motion. Next, try to get up on the board, placing your hands under your chest and pushing yourself up with a slam. It is also essential that you learn to stand upright on the board. Your legs have to be separated and the knees bent. The arms have to be extended and relaxed, the soles of the feet on the table and the torso slightly inclined forward. Once you are clear about this position, you can enter the sea. However, when you first get in the water, just paddle around to get used to the motion of the board.

It is also very important to be clear about which of the different types of surfing you want to practice and to respect all the rules of this sport. In addition, we recommend that you do not surf in a place where you have never swum, since you should know the place before getting on the board. As we have commented, the table has to be adequate. There are many varieties of tables ; the ideal is to start with a longboard, then use a fundboard and, later, the shortboard.

How to catch a wave with the boards

In surfing it is essential to know how to catch a wave. First, stay perpendicular to the oncoming waves and cut through them. Once you've crossed them, turn the board around, look towards the coast and wait. When you see a wave approaching, paddle like never before and, as soon as you pick up speed, get up on the board.

Once you have caught the wave and are standing up, you must direct the board with the inclinations of your body. The important thing is to stay on a steady course, and be prepared to fall so you don't get caught off guard. If you find yourself losing your balance, jump into the water in a different direction than the board is taking to avoid hitting yourself with it. Then, get on it as fast as you can and try to move it out of the way of the other surfers, which is essential to respect everyone in the water. Always keep in mind the rules of surfing is essential.

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Surfing at the Olympics

Surfing is a sport with many years of history . However, it has been in this 21st century when this sport has greatly evolved its rate of progression. Thus, nowadays new techniques, maneuvers, types of surfing , high-altitude waves and competitions are explored. Due to its great popularity, it was included in the program of the Olympic Games from Tokyo 2020.

Olympics Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024

In the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, surfing competitions were held in two categories: male and female: 20 men and 20 women participated. Two rounds were carried out, the initial and the main one. The initial one consisted of heats of four or five surfers, while the main one was a direct elimination bracket of two on two. On the one hand, the winner in the men's category was the Brazilian Ítalo Ferreira, the second medal went to the Japanese Kanoa Igarashi and the bronze to the Australian Owen Wright. On the other hand, the female winner was the American Carissa Moore, the second place was obtained by the South African Bianca Buitendag and the Japanese Amuro Tsuzuki was in third position.

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee confirmed surfing on the program of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, with Tahiti as the selected location . Conditions at Teahupo'o offer some of the most exciting and consistent waves in the world. Thus, for the second time, surfing has entered the Olympic programme, and its great momentum and popularity may contribute to the sport's permanent inclusion in the Olympics.

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