The art of surfing
-- by Jakob Jelling
Since its hey day in the 1960ís, surfing through the ocean has become a popular past time. Riders love to pound the surf with their waxed boards and ride large waves into the shore. As like any sport, there is risk associated with surfing. Surfing implies that a rider can successfully use their arms and legs to maintain balance upon a surfboard as the wave begins to swell and crest.
Most beginners will enjoy this sport because the cost of getting into surfing is relatively low. A good board can cost $200 - $ 1,000 depending on the material itís made from. Many beginners can buy a good board used and can take up the sport at a nearby beach. Before you begin, there are several things you should learn.
How to keep your board nearby should you wipe out
How to swim out towards an incoming wave
What to do should you collide with another surfer
What conditions are right for surfing and which ones are dangerous
Surfers should know how to swim. Itís the basic necessity to keep you afloat should you go out too far or if you lose your board on a wipe out. Most surfers start out on their boards flat on their stomach and begin to kneel into a crouching position as they approach a wave. Upon reaching the swell of the wave, they should be in a upright position heading into the ebb or top of the wave. As soon as the reach the top they begin to navigate through the remainder of the wave using their feet to steer into the cresting tide. Usually most surfers ride a wave from right to left.
There are times when a surfer can get closer to another surfer and collide. Try to remain as far away from swimmers as possible and keep a clear 180-degree view as much as possible to avoid dangerous situations. Know exactly how far you are from the beach at all times. There are times when surfing is at its premium right before a storm or when currents are at their strongest. During this peak time, it is good to exercise caution for your own personal safety. Depending on how warm the water may be you may have to be concerned with sharks. Although a shark attack is considered rare, there is always a possibility in some regions.
Surfing has become so popular that there are various spin-offs of this sport including windsurfing and kitesurfing, which allows the user to reach heights of 20í above the ocean. Depending on the location wave swells can grow upwards of 15-20í high; so the more experience you amass the more challenges you will seek. All beginning surfers should take at least one or two lessons to get the basics down. In no time at all you will be hunting the monster waves and hanging ten with the best of them.
Jakob Jelling is the founder of http://www.kitesurfingnow.com. Visit his kitesite for the latest on kitesurfing equipment, kiteboarding lessons, places to surf and much more!