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5 Gripping Facts about Surfing You May Not Know

by Cristina Costea

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Did you know that Garett McNamara broke the world record for the biggest wave ever surfed? Or that Kelly Slater is the highest paid surfer in the world? Or that the first official surf contest took place in 1928, at Corona Del Mar, California? You probably do, because in the world of surfing, this type of information travels fast! 

That said, there are probably plenty of obscure facts you may not already know about surfing. In this article, BookSurfCamps brings you five gripping facts to add to your surfing knowledge!


There are At Least 5 Physics Principles that Make Surfing Possible


Facts about Surfing


Aside from Newton’s laws of motion that explains how an object in motion (a wave) reacts to a still object (surfer), there are at least 5 physics principles that make surfing possible. The first one is, naturally, gravity! The surfboard is pulled by gravity, otherwise we would float up in the sky when we surf.  As fun as that may sound, that wouldn’t be the surfing that we love so much. Then, there is buoyancy that actually allows the surfboard to float, thanks to its density (think iron surfboards – would they float?). Another principle is surface tension that refers to the molecules that bind together on the surface of the water, which also contribute to the surfboard floating. A spider is so light that the surface tension of the water allows it to walk on water. Then there’s the shape and mass of the surfer and the surfboard, which in partnership with hydrodynamic forces that dictate how the water moves, allows surfing to exist. It sounds complicated, doesn’t it? That’s because it is!


Surfers Still Can’t Agree Upon the Origins of the Shaka Sign


Facts about Surfing


The shaka sign can mean so much more than a simple hello or alright. Many consider the sign as the embodiment of the Aloha spirit, which pretty much means, according to the Aloha International "the joyful (oha) sharing (alo) of life energy (ha) in the present (alo)." But where did the sign originate from? Well, surfers still can’t agree on that thing. Some say that it comes from a Hawaiian fisherman who was missing three fingers, others believe that it originates from the way the hands are hold when a lei is put around someone’s neck. Other have gone as far as to say that it comes from the Spanish explorers who were suggesting having a drink to the Hawaiians and them interpreting it as a salute. This one sounds too silly to be true! Either way, the sign is here to stay!


You Can Go to College to Study Surfing and Also Get a Bachelor Degree


Facts about Surfing


It all started with Plymouth University in the UK. They were the first university to offer the degree program, back in 1999. The Surf Science and Technology (BSc) offers students a chance to study all about surfing, from surf culture to fitness, marketing and delve into environmental studies so that once they finish, they can carve a career in the ever-expanding surfing industry. Other universities who specialize in surf studies include the University of Lisbon (Portugal), Swansea University (UK), University of La Laguna (Tenerife, Spain) and more. If you just want to learn how to surf well, we recommend you book a surf camp and spend hundreds of hours in the waves. But if you want a career in surfing, going to college is the right way to do it!


Surfers Only Spend 8% of the Surf Session Actually Riding Waves


Facts about Surfing


SPRINZ, or the Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand, has revealed that surfers spend around 8% of their surf session actually surfing, 28% waiting for the right wave and a whopping 54% of the time paddling. The numbers were the results of the institute’s research into the performance of professional surfers during surfing events, which means that if you’ve only been surfing for a couple of years, you’re most likely spending even less time in the water. Imagine is tennis players only spent 8% of their game actually playing tennis, and the rest of the time, waiting or fixing their racquet!


Surfing’s Not Just for Humans


Facts about Surfing

Photo credits: Abbie's website

As we’ve mentioned earlier, Kelly Slater is the highest earning surfer in the world and one of the most famous ones, but do you know who the most famous surfer dog is? Yes, some dogs actually surf and they have their own competition in Huntington Beach, California. Australian Kelpie, Abbie, was found on the side of the road by a Humane Society and adopted by Michael Uy, who brought her to the beach to work on her social skills. In 2014, she was inducted in the International Surfing Hall of Fame, becoming the first dog ever to be inducted. She’s not only been competing longer than any dog has, she’s also amassed the most awards and entered the Guinness Books of World Records! Go Abbie!


Did this article whet your appetite for surfing? How about you book a surf camp in Europe and see how long you can ride your wave! 

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