How Does Surfing Work? - Green Iguana Surf Camp

How Does Surfing Work?

Surfing has become a trendy sport over the years. The question is, why? What makes surfing unique from other sports? Well, for many people, surfing is super thrilling.

Surfing is a sport where surfers ride waves of water. They use their bodies to move forward through the water. To surf, you need to balance on top of the wave.

There are several types of surfing. For example, some surfers prefer to stand on their feet, while some sit down on their boards. Surfers also use different techniques such as carving or riding the wave.

There are two significant parts to the sport of surfing: “Stand up” and “Sit-down.” Stand-up surfing uses your body to propel yourself across the water.

Sit-down surfing uses a “Sit-on-a-board” technique. Both surfing techniques have their own advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage of stand-up surfing is that it allows for a more aggressive surfing style. In addition, it enables the surfer to do tricks like barrel rolls and spins.

However, this style of surfing requires good balance. If you are not balanced well enough, you can fall off the board.

Stand-up surfing is best when the waves are small because the surfers will be less affected by the size of the waves.

On the other hand, sit-down surfing is safer than standing up surfing. You can get stuck if you don’t know how to control your speed.

So, if you want to learn to surf, you should focus on sitting down instead of standing up to start with.

If you enjoy surfing, try to find a spot that offers big waves. Big waves are easier to catch. There are many places around the world where you can go to experience surfing.

Here are just a few places you can visit if you want to travel to another country and surf.


Australia is the home to the largest waves in the world. Australia’s most famous beach is Bondi Beach.

This beach is located near Sydney. Bondi Beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Surfing at Bondi is an unforgettable experience.


Hawaii is known as Paradise Island. On this island, you can find Waikiki Beach, widely recognized as the first “surf” break in America. As a result, many people come to Hawaii to surf here.

South Africa

South Africa is known as a land of great surfing. Cape Town and Durban are two of the biggest cities in South Africa. These cities are both located in the southern part of the country.

Both these cities offer excellent surfing opportunities.


Mexico is located south of California. Its name comes from the word ‘Mexica,’ meaning ‘people who live north of the sea.’ Los Cabos is among the best spots to visit in Mexico.

If you want to learn to ride waves, this would be the perfect place to practice.

New Zealand

New Zealand is located in the Pacific Ocean. Being an island, it provides excellent locations for surfing.

How To Surf

How To Surf

Now you have some ideas of great places to surf, let’s find out the main reason you’re here – how to surf. You need to buy a surfboard (also called a “wave board”) to learn to surf.

A surfboard is made of foam with a fiberglass or bamboo core. It has four fins under each side which are used to help stabilize the board during high speeds.

After purchasing your surfboard, you must take lessons to get familiar with your new equipment. Once you become familiar with the equipment, you can practice on the local beaches.

You also need to make sure that you keep the equipment clean. Otherwise, it may affect your performance. Finally, don’t forget to wear sunscreen before going out into the sun!

Surfing Equipment

A surfboard is the main piece of equipment required to learn to surf. Other items such as boots, wetsuits, rash guards, leash, and gloves are optional.

A surfboard is a long and thin structure that provides stability while moving through water. They increase the amount of surface area that contacts the water. More contact means better stability.


The purpose of a boot is to protect your feet from sharp objects below the waterline. Boots are usually available in three types: neoprene boots, dry suit boots, and wetsuit boots.

Neoprene boots are waterproof, and they can easily fit inside a wetsuit. Drysuit boots cover more areas of your foot than neoprene rubber boots. Wetsuit boots are designed to seal your skin against cold air.


A leash is attached to your surfboard by a rope. If your board gets damaged, you use it to pull yourself back to shore. Leashes come in different sizes, and most are adjustable.

In fact, some leashes hold up to 200 pounds.


Wearing gloves helps prevent injuries caused by sharp rocks and debris. There are several options when choosing the type of glove you prefer. Usually, gloves come in the fingerless form.

Rash Guards

A rash guard is a fabric shirt that protects your chest from the sun. Although not necessary, wearing a rash guard will help you stay cool after exposure to the sun.

There are three basic styles of rash guards: short sleeve, long sleeve, and sleeveless.

Riding Waves

When riding waves, you stand on top of the wave using your hands, feet, legs, and arms. Your goal is to move forward or backward as the tide rises above or falls beneath you.

To do so, you should use your board’s fins. The fins push the board upward or downward.


A fin is an object attached to a surfboard that increases the total surface area of contact between the board and water. Fins have two purposes – to propel the board faster and reduce drag.

Fins should only be used at low speeds when you first begin practicing surfing. Then, as you improve, you can use them at higher rates.

Saving Energy

Once you master surfing, you may want to practice other sports that also use similar techniques like snowboarding, skateboarding, wakeboarding, inline skating, etc.

However, these sports require specialized equipment. So even though you may advance in these other sports quickly and save more energy doing them, ensure you’re safe.

Also, some activities may require additional training, which includes learning how to balance correctly with the equipment.

If you’re interested in joining any sport besides surfing, you might consider taking lessons before starting. This way, you’ll know what you’re getting into.

Surfing Safety

Surfing Safety

To stay safe on a surfboard, you must always wear the proper wetsuit protection. A surfboard is very heavy, so you could get seriously injured if you fall off.

Also, if you lose control over your board, it could end up floating away, leaving you in the water without anything to hold onto. Therefore, you must treat every situation like a potential danger zone.

If you fall off your board, immediately swim toward the land where you can safely get out of the water. Do not jump off because this will cause your board to flip underneath you and possibly injure you further.

If you cannot reach the land, float until you see someone who can help you. If no one comes to your aid within five minutes, call 911 if you can.

You must also make sure that all of your gear is correctly strapped down when surfing. Surfers can wear knee pads, wrist braces, elbow protectors, shoulder straps, thigh pads, and earplugs.

You should always check the instructions for each piece of equipment. Ensure that you attach everything securely and avoid placing anything too far from your body.

Tips For Becoming A Better Surfer

You should consider doing several things to become a better surfer:

  1. It’s essential to learn about different types of surfboards. It helps to rent an assortment of boards to try new ones.
  2. You should learn how to pick up a board and learn when to put your feet forward. In addition, you should know how much weight you should add to your board.
  3. You should develop good upper-body strength and train your leg muscles.
  4. It would help if you practiced balancing yourself on a surfboard.

In addition, you should keep track of your progress by keeping notes and measuring your skill level.

Different Types Of Surfboards

There are many kinds of surfboards available today. The most popular type is a shortboard. These are typically made of foam or plastic.

They are designed to move through shallow and intermediate waves.

Another kind of surfboard is a longboard. Longboards can be constructed from fiberglass, wood, carbon fiber, Kevlar, or high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

Longboards usually measure six to nine feet in length. Longboards are also known as cruiser boards. You can ride them either in the deep water or alongshore break lines.

There are also touring boards. Touring boards are generally smaller than longboards, and they are designed to maneuver around large waves and rough waters.

Surfboard Construction Basics

Before you begin learning how to surf, you need to understand some basic facts about construction. Different types of surfboards have varying degrees of strength.

Therefore, before purchasing any board, you should consider its stability, flexibility, and durability. If you plan on riding big waves, you should look for a stronger board.

However, if you prefer to catch small waves, a lighter board might suit you.

The shape of a surfboard determines the way the board performs during a wave. Most surfboards are shaped with a nose and tail section and two fins located at the front of the board.

Importantly, fins are used to control the direction of movement and board orientation. You may be interested to know that some surfboards may not have fins because they don’t require them.

These surfboards tend to perform well in flat water conditions. 

Other surfboards will serve better in choppy water. Stability refers to the ability of a board to resist falling over while moving in the water.

This depends upon the thickness of the board, the number of layers of material, and the core. Thin boards have better stability, but they also have less structural rigidity.

Thicker boards are more stable, but they do not flex easily. Layers of foam and resin create a sandwich of materials that makes a surfboard strong enough to withstand constant pressure. 


To conclude, the first step toward becoming a professional surfer is to learn what equipment you need and how to use it properly.

When choosing a board, remember that different styles and sizes are available. After you find the right one, make sure that it fits comfortably.

Finally, keep your eyes open for other surfers when you’re surfing. Learn their moves and techniques so that you can improve your skills.

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