Unlike any other thrilling water sport, surfing around the waves in the open sea is not easy for everyone. It is an extremely thrilling sport that requires finesse in mastering all the techniques related to surfing, swimming, and getting yourself alive out of the massive sea waves. Though this does not imply that surfing is an impossible sport, what it does mean is that you should have complete mastery over swimming in any given condition.
Secondly, you cannot dip your feet in the arena of surfing just by going on and reading about it. Learning to surf requires strenuous and continuous exercises along with knowing everything about surfing gear and the different types of surfing waves. The choice of surfboards matters a lot too. If you are a beginner, the surfboard you require might be different from the one required by a professional having years of experience.
So, let us dive into this article first so that you can get to know almost all there is to know about the different types of surfing and the surfboards.
Types of Surfing Waves
It is important to understand that the waves crashing at the seashore might be just ordinary sea waves for others but for the surfers these waves have personalities; they break at different points at the shore with various angles. Wind, swell, and the shape of the ground at the bottom of the sea are some of the fundamental factors that contribute to the variability of the waves.
Winds blowing above the ocean push the water in a manner that it forms concentric circles that gradually increase according to the wind speed and direction. These concentric circles in the ocean are where the waves are initially formed. The way all these different types of waves then travel to the shore and end, vary from one another. Following are the various types of surfing waves:
1. Reef Break
These types of surfing waves typically result in more predictable surfing experience – the surfers can easily foresee the pattern of waves breaking on the North as compared to the West. This is because the reef break waves – as the name suggests – break over a reef. As the shape of the reef or seabed is permanent, the reef breaks are influenced by the swell direction mostly.
Beginners are usually known to avoid these surfing waves as they can be massive and heavy. The biggest threat in this type of surfing is hitting the reef or hard bottom.
2. Beach Breaks
The main differential point of the beach break waves from the former one is that the beach break waves crash at the sand bottom. As the sand bottom is not an actual seabed or a hard reef, it can change its size or even location. One time it might be there, the other time it might not.
On the one hand, surfing on beach breaks is relatively easier as there is comparatively less threat of hitting the hard bottom. On the other hand, due to the uncertainty or shift in the sand bottom, the surfers are sometimes unable to predict the pattern in the waves.
3. Point Break Surfing Waves
These types of surfing waves do not hit the shore directly but are stopped before the shore perpendicularly. This forms a headland which results in larger and much longer waves. This type of surfing wave has been an ideal spot for international surfing competitions such as the World Surf League (WSL).
Things You Need To Know About Surfboards and Their Different Types
Surfboards were initially made out of wood. However, they are now handmade by professionals out of a thick fiberglass outer coating. The inside of the surfboards is stuffed with foam. The former helps in making it strong while the latter makes it light. The types of surfboards vary according to various styles and shapes.
However, you cannot just go and buy the surfboard you like based on its shape or design. There are different surfboards for different types of surfing.
Parts of the Surfboard
Before you get to know about the different types of surfboards available, you need to understand the main parts of the surfboard:
- The Deck: It is the upper side of the surfboard – the side where the surfer stands.
- The Nose: The shape of the nose of surfboards varies from one type to another. The nose of the surfboard is supposed to be out of the water helping in maneuvering.
- Surfboard Tail: It is the rear side of your surfboard. It is a fundamental part of the surfboard and can significantly contribute in enhancing your surfing experience.
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The Different Types of Surfboards
Ranging from 5 to 7 feet in length, the shortboard surfboards are made for steep and fast waves. The shortboard surfboards are extremely good at maneuvering. They are not usually recommended for beginners as they are quite challenging to paddle compared to the longboard surfboards.
The fish surfboards are more suitable on slower waves. They are a perfect match for surfing on the breaking waves as their maneuvering is better than the shortboards. They are shaped like a fish and are sometimes shorter in length than the shortboards.
One of the major advantages of fish surfboards is that they provide more grip while paddling. However, they are not suitable for steep waves. Novice surfers love the fish surfboards because they offer greater volume than the others, so balancing is much convenient.
This type of surfboard can be any surfboard that lets you catch more waves and has greater volume. Its deck is wider than the other types; thus, offering more stability. This feature of the surfboard makes it more popular among the beginners.
Have you seen surfers easily moving around their surfboards sometimes? They are usually using longboards as these surfboards are much longer (8 to 11 feet), offering more paddling and catching of the waves. Due to their length, it is much easier to catch waves on a longboard. Although this surfboard is usually found suiting the beginners, some professionals love to surf on this board as well.
A hybrid surfboard is a mixture of two similar surfboard designs. Usually, the shortboard and the fish surfboard are combined to create a sturdier and more thrilling surfboard that allows massive maneuvering with more grip.
SUP stands for a standup paddleboard. This type of surfboard is the largest of all and has increased buoyancy for supporting paddling while standing. For using this surfboard, a paddle is required, and you need to have excellent balancing skills. This surfboard is suitable for all types of waves: big or small.
Read more about standup paddleboarding here.
With a narrow rear (tail) and nose, this type of the surfboard is meant to defy all the speed and intensity of the waves. It is an ideal surfboard for professional surfers who have plenty of maneuvering experience at hand.
Surfing is the ultimate thrilling sport. It is ideal for maintaining a tough, but healthy mind and body as the sea is claimed to have a healing effect. Whether it is scuba diving or surfboarding or any other water sport for that matter, using the right gear is the key.
If you have the right surfboard and know all about the surfing waves, then you are good to go on a learning adventure of your lifetime. Now that you know all about the different surfboards, you should be able to make the right decision.