Extreme Sports Series: Understanding The Demands of Surfing (Part 2)

So on this blog I will continue to expand on the demands of surfing. In part one I focused on its most popular version, shortboard riding. Part 2 will also shed some light into other popular forms of surfing and some general injury management advice for surfers.

Differences in board equipment

Surfboards can vary in size. By default we call longboards those above 2.5m in length. These are easy to paddle and very stable boards which are relatively easy to stand up on. However, all this stability comes at the cost of decreased maneuverability.

Stand-up Paddling board or SUPs are thicker and wider than longboards. Some will have up to 5m in length and are designed for flat waters and speed. Other will be shorter and adapted for wave riding. A paddle is used to propel the board forwards and assist in directing the board as needed.

Tow-in boards are similar to surf skis, heavier, narrow and about 2m in length with foot straps attached to it. Apart from being less likely to become airborne, that allows the surfer to navigate through more turbulent waters at higher speeds with good control. Tow-in is a modality reserved for big wave riding when a surfer cannot generate enough speed to catch the wave by paddling into it.

Finally, bodyboards are used to ride waves in a prone position and with the assistance of short swimming fins. Apart from helping the surfer to catch a wave, the fins in conjunction with the board’s rail are used to assist in steering the board given that bodyboard are fin-less. Different from other boards, these are made of foamy material. Despite been easier to ride and popular among inexperienced surfers and children, professional bodyboarders are known to charge at waves most surfers tend to avoid.

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