Surferpedia - The Wiki Encyclopedia of Surfing

Surf culture is the culture surrounding the sport of surfing. In essence, it involves the constant search for waves, whether locally or internationally, as well as the many forms of expression representing the surfer's lifestyle, such as clothing, music, literature, film and television, language, art, sculpture, contests, multimedia, tourism, activism and education.

Although surfing is traditionally a male dominated sport, more and more female surfers are taking to the water. Today, surfers come from all walks of life, making them impossible to stereotype. However, they do share a passion for the shape of the wave, placing particular value in the tunnel formed by the wave when its top spills forward as a curtain of water. Riding inside this "tube" is a highly sought after experience, which is said to momentarily slow one's sense of time.

Surfing's unique relationship with nature afforded it a mythic quality, which set the stage for its commercial simulation.[1] Mainstream advertising has embraced surfers and surfing because they engender a genuinely raw context, which has proven effective in attributing authenticity to just about any product. In this way, surf culture complements the role traditionally played by sexuality in advertising.

However, there remains a vital core to the culture, which is both local and global in scope. These "hard core" members of surf culture are united in their dedication to the sport's essential practice of riding waves. A disciplined surfer usually checks local surf conditions at dawn, having already assessed the prospects, based on the previous night's weather report.

When surfing conditions are ideal, social commitments are typically relegated to secondary priority. In this way, surfers defy the temporal order imposed by capitalist culture. Through direct involvement with nature, surfers appreciate the intrinsic value of the biosphere. Their world view embodies the very principles underpinning ecosophies such as deep ecology and ecophenomenology. The surfer's lifestyle is centred on the aesthetic appeal of naturally occurring patterns and processes. The obvious contradiction between the surfing experience and its depiction to serve commercial interests highlights the contemporary western history of separation from the natural world, its utilitarian valuation and exploitation.


  • “It's just the best way to start your day. People who surf, they know the object is to have fun. You work hard, but you work hard to have fun.” Cynthia Derosier
  • “Surfing wasn't about money back then. Surfers always lived cheaply and scraped by.” Mark Cunningham.
  • “It's a culmination of your life of surfing when you turn and paddle in at Mavericks.” Jeff Clark.
  • “It's all about where your mind's at.” Kelly Slater.
  • "It was so big [the wave], it didn't even know we were there." [2] Dan Webber.
  • "Surfing soothes me, it's always been a kind of Zen experience for me. The ocean is so magnificent, peaceful, and awesome. The rest of the world disappears for me when I'm on a wave." Paul Walker
  • "How would you like to stand like a God before the crest of a monster billow, always rushing to the bottom of a hill and never reaching its base, and to come rushing in for a half mile at express speed, in graceful attitude, until you reach the beach and step easily from the wave?" Duke Kahanamoku
  • "Out of the water, I am nothing." Duke Kahanamoku
  • "Sometimes in the morning, when it's a good surf, I go out there, and I don't feel like it's a bad world." Kary Mullis
  • "There is that desire to go surf the waves by yourself, just you and nature and I will never do it again, never." Davis Bunn.
  • "Surfing is the tool to find out what life is all about." Diego Garcia

See also[]


  1. Flynn, P Waves of Semiosis: Surfing's iconic progression. The American Journal of Semiotics. Vol.5, Issue. 3/4.
  2. Welcome to the Weird and Wonderful World of the Webber Clan, Interview by Tim Baker, Surfing World Magazine, Issue no. 271 (2004)