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Surfing is a sport in which people stand on boards and ride waves.



The Moche of Peru would often surf on reed craft, while the native peoples of the Pacific surfed waves on alaia, paipo, and other such water craft. Ancient cultures often surfed on their belly and knees, while the modern-day definition of surfing most often refers to a surfer riding a wave standing on a surfboard; this is also referred to as stand-up surfing.

Surfing appears to have been introduced to the developed world in 1885, when three teenage Hawaiian princes attending a boarding school in California surfed the mouth of the San Lorenzo River on custom-shaped redwood boards. It was popularized by land baron Henry E. Huntington who had seen boys in Hawai'i surfing the island waves. He brought surfing to the California coast by hiring a young Hawaiian to ride surfboards. Huntington wanted to entice visitors to the area of Redondo Beach, where he had heavily invested in real estate.


Many popular surfing destinations have surf schools and surf camps that offer lessons. Surf camps for beginners and intermediates are multi-day lessons that focus on surfing fundamentals. They are designed to take new surfers and help them become proficient riders. All-inclusive surf camps offer overnight accommodations, meals, lessons and surfboards.

Most surf lessons begin with instruction and a safety briefing on land, followed by instructors helping students into waves on longboards or "softboards". The softboard is considered the ideal surfboard for learning because it is safer, and has more paddling speed and stability than shorter boards. Funboards are also a popular shape for beginners as they combine the volume and stability of the longboard with the manageable size of a smaller surfboard. New and inexperienced surfers typically learn to catch waves on softboards around the 210 to 240 cm (7 to 8 ft) funboard size. The chance of getting injured is substantially reduced by softboards.

Typical surfing instruction is best-performed one-on-one, but can also be done in a group setting. The most popular surf locations offer perfect surfing conditions for beginners, as well as challenging breaks for advanced students. The ideal conditions for learning would be small waves that crumble and break softly, as opposed to the steep, fast-peeling waves desired by more experienced surfers. When available, a sandy seabed is generally safer.

Surfing can be broken into several skills: paddling strength, positioning to catch the wave, timing, and balance. Paddling out requires strength, but also the mastery of techniques to break through oncoming waves (duck diving, eskimo roll also known as turtle). Take-off positioning requires experience at predicting the wave set and where it will break. The surfer must pop up quickly as soon as the wave starts pushing the board forward. Preferred positioning on the wave is determined by experience at reading wave features including where the wave is breaking. Balance plays a crucial role in standing on a surfboard. Thus, balance training exercises are good preparation. Practicing with a balance board, longboard (skateboard) or swing board helps novices learn to surf.

The repetitive cycle of paddling, popping up, and balancing requires stamina and physical strength. Having a proper warm-up routine can help prevent injuries.


Map of Surfing


Surfing underpins an important part of the Australian coastal fabric. It forms part of a lifestyle in which millions participate and in which millions more have an interest. Virtually every coastline, except along the top end from Cairns across to Karatha, has surf and surfers there to ride it.

  • 1 Bondi Beach (Sydney). Its gorgeous sweep of golden sand is great for beginning and experienced surfers Bondi Beach (Q673418) on Wikidata Bondi Beach on Wikipedia
  • 2 Manly Beach (Sydney). known for its laid-back surfing culture, and its consistent breaks Manly (Q509716) on Wikidata Manly, New South Wales on Wikipedia
  • 3 Byron Bay, New South Wales. a popular hangout for surfers Byron Bay (Q1018597) on Wikidata Byron Bay on Wikipedia
  • 4 Bells Beach. A 90-minute drive from Melbourne, it attracts professional surfers. It hosts the largest surfing museum in the world, and a well-known surf competition. Torquay (Q726992) on Wikidata Torquay, Victoria on Wikipedia
  • 5 Phillip Island. It offers some of the best surfing in Victoria. Phillip Island (Q785760) on Wikidata Phillip Island on Wikipedia
  • 6 Rottnest Island, Perth. It has over 60 beaches, but Strickland Bay, Salmon Bay and Stark Bay are well-known for their breaks. Rottnest Island (Q585317) on Wikidata Rottnest Island on Wikipedia
  • 7 Gold Coast, Queensland. A one-hour drive from Brisbane, it offers some of Australia’s most exhilarating surfing, and the Superbank a large, man-made sandbank that creates one of the longest wave rides in the world. Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach are particularly more popular with surfing than some of the Gold Coast's other beachside destinations. Gold Coast (Q140075) on Wikidata Gold Coast, Queensland on Wikipedia
  • 8 Sunshine Coast, Queensland. It is renowned for its expansive beaches, and stylish shops, restaurants and accommodation. Sunshine Coast (Q828357) on Wikidata Sunshine Coast, Queensland on Wikipedia
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  • 9 Tofino, British Columbia. Canada's surfing capital has 3 surfing beaches, and many surf shops that provide rentals and lessons. Tofino (Q462564) on Wikidata Tofino on Wikipedia

Surfing on James Bay is possible but difficult; the area is remote and the water cold. The easiest access is by train to Moosonee, Ontario; for the Quebec side of the bay, see Baie-James.


  • 10 Pichilemu. Puntilla and Punta Lobos beaches have several surf schools Pichilemu (Q25304) on Wikidata Pichilemu on Wikipedia

Costa Rica[edit]

  • 11 Pavones. a remote surf town known for its big, heavy waves at its famous point break, however there are a couple of beach breaks with smaller waves for beginners Pavones (Q3898367) on Wikidata Pavones District on Wikipedia


See: Surfing in Indonesia


  • 12 Bukit Peninsula. Has several white sand beaches suitable for surfing Bukit Peninsula (Q1087346) on Wikidata Bukit Peninsula on Wikipedia
  • 13 Kuta. A well known destination amongst surfing enthusiasts. A long sandy beach with a lack of dangerous rocks or coral and several surfing businesses make the area attractive for beginners Kuta (Q994499) on Wikidata Kuta District on Wikipedia


  • 14 Batu Karas. One of the best places to learn to surf in Indonesia. Batu Karas (Q10981490) on Wikidata
  • 15 Cimaja. A number of breaks, many suitable for intermediate surfers and many others reserved for experienced surfers only. Cimaja (Q12479022) on Wikidata
  • 16 Pangandaran. A relaxed beach with surf schools. Pangandaran (Q27715) on Wikidata Pangandaran on Wikipedia


  • 17 Puerto Escondido. Oaxacan beach in southern Mexico, known for big waves and the infamous Mexican Pipeline. Puerto Escondido (Q1752991) on Wikidata Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca on Wikipedia
  • 18 Troncones. Check out Troncones Point, a steady left break, where Troncones Beach meets Manzanillo Bay just to the north. Troncones (Q7845433) on Wikidata Troncones on Wikipedia
  • 19 Ensenada. A favorite destination of California surfers. Playa Hermosa is suitable for beginners whereas pros will want to head to San Miguel or Todos Santos. Ensenada (Q1548691) on Wikidata Ensenada Municipality on Wikipedia
  • 20 Boca de Pascuales. Sparsely populated beach area with consistently good surfing conditions. Boca de Pascuales (Q24040452) on Wikidata


  • 21 Siargao. This is the country's best-known surfing destination.
  • 22 San Juan (La Union). Another surfing area, closer to Manila.


  • 23 Nazaré. Thanks to an underwater canyon just offshore, this part of the Atlantic coast has the biggest rideable waves in the world. Nazaré (Q497179) on Wikidata Nazaré, Portugal on Wikipedia


  • 24 Toucheng. It hosts national surfing competitions annually Toucheng (Q706299) on Wikidata Toucheng on Wikipedia

United Kingdom[edit]


  • 25 Newquay. Well known as a surfer's paradise Newquay (Q943517) on Wikidata Newquay on Wikipedia

United States[edit]


  • 26 Beach Cities. California has become associated with surf culture internationally Beach Cities (Q4875694) on Wikidata Beach Cities on Wikipedia


Stay safe[edit]

Main article: Water safety
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