Surfing is among the most popular beach activities in the modern world. Some passionate surfers even travel all across the globe in order to catch the best waves. Along with this, the sale of surfboards, surfing lessons, and other surfing-related goods plus services are steadily growing in popularity in most places.
If someone is interested in water sports, or just beaches in general, they would do well to learn more about surfing in particular. After all, this sport is one of the main reasons for making the most famous beaches what they are today. Some of the most interesting facts about surfing are discussed below:
The Death Rate
The first thing to know about surfing is that it’s not a completely safe activity. There are several surfers killed every year due to many reasons while they’re riding the waves. These include wiping out and getting hot in the head by their board, being injured, or eaten by sharks. The highest number of shark attacks on surfers is in the United States, with the statistics increasing every year.
In fact, there have been more surfers killed on the waters in the past fifteen years than in the forty years before that. This is mainly because of the sport becoming so popular, especially the concept of big-wave surfing.
A Surfing Degree
Many people tend to think of surfers as jocks who’re just chilling out on the waves. The sport itself is also mostly assumed to be a hobby by those who don’t know any better. However, there is a way to make surfing a career and even study it as an academic subject.
Plymouth University, for example, offers a degree in Surfing Science and Technology who really want to focus on this area. This is a course where surfers can work on their knowledge and skills in order to truly excel in their chosen path. The degree itself takes just two years to complete.
Beach activities have resulted in many world records, and surfing isn’t any different. The world record for the most people mounted on one surfboard, for instance, is 66. These surfers got on a huge surfboard on June 20th, 2015. This was in California’s famous Huntington Beach.
The previous world record was in Australia, which is on par with California for putting surfing on the map. On March 5th, 2005, 47 people balanced on a surfboard at one time.
The Biggest Wave
Surfers usually seek out the largest and tallest waves in order to have the most challenging experience. Needless to say, though, such waves are hardly safe. The Megatsunami in Southern Alaska, Lituya Bay, is the largest recorded wave to date. This was back in 1958, and nothing has come close to beating it.
The height of this wave was around 530 meters or 1,738 feet. This makes it tower above even the Empire State Building by about 500 feet.
There’s also a world record for the longest surf ride, albeit it’s on a man-made wave instead of a natural one. This is only logical since natural waves don’t last so long. There are hence motor-powered waves I order to help surfers get a good long ride. The world record for this so far is about 3 hours and 55 minutes. It’s held by Gary Saavedra, a surfer from Panama.
The act of surfing waves originated in Hawaii, where surfing was only done by the royal class. In fact, it was regarded as an almost sacred ritual and not for the common man.
By the end of the Second World War, however, there were several beach-themed movies making a hit with the masses. This means that the surfing fashion and beach culture in general had experienced a boost in popularity. Hence, a large surfing industry was born.
While Hawaii might have provided us with the actual act of surfing, it’s the state of California we must thank for the technological progress of this sport. Californians have not just popularized surfing with musical acts like the Beach Boys, but several surfing inventions also stem from that area. These include items like the wetsuits of the hydrodynamic surfing board, both of which took surfing to new levels.
The Surfing Industry
Speaking of this industry, it’s actually quite a lucrative one and growing every year. Even with all the death and injuries related to this activity, many people view it as a fun and exciting pursuit. The global surfing industry itself is worth over $10 billion, with about 20 million people participating in it.
This sort of boom is due to surf tourism, where many companies advertise their surfing activities and the latest destinations for surfing. The print media, as well as television, the internet, and movies, are all advertising surfing through several positive portrayals. There are also better traveling accommodations provided for surfers all over the world, as well as more access to the best waves.
Dog Surfing Competitions
Huntington Beach in California isn’t just famous for the world record of most people on a surfboard. It’s also famed for several other activities connected to surfing, such as the dog surfing competition. This began in 2009 and has been held every year since. There are dogs of several breeds, sizes, and shapes taking part in the 3-event. The proceeds are donated to many organizations working for animal welfare.
The popularization and commercialization of surfing are partly due to a man named Dale “Hawk” Velzy. He was a surfboard shaper, perhaps the first one who did this job commercially. His contribution to surfing was to open up the one of the first surf-shops in the world. This was again in California, this time at Manhattan Beach. Velzy was also among the first people to endorse surfers.
However, it was Duke Kahanamoku who is actually known as the father of modern surfing. He was an Olympic swimmer and a five-time medalist as well. Due to his talent and surfing exhibitions, he was the one who actually made surfing popular across America.
Thinking About Sharks
There are a lot of things a surfer might think about when they’re riding their boards. However, studies show that the most common worry for surfers are sharks. This is not surprising, as their actions usually take them quite near a shark. The great white shark is the most common threat in such cases.
Surfing is an activity that has gained popularity all over the world, with several musical acts and even movies revolving around it. Many experienced surfers may not be aware of all these facts we’ve listed above, but they should. The more one knows about surfing, the more they can understand it and pursue the activity in a safer manner.