Surferpedia - The Wiki Encyclopedia of Surfing

Surfing is a surface water sport in which the participant is carried by a breaking wave on a surfboard. There are various kinds of surfing, based on the different methods or surf craft used to ride a wave. The basic categories include regular stand-up surfing, kneeboarding, bodyboarding, surf-skiing, stand up paddle surfing and bodysurfing. Further sub-divisions reflect differences in surfboard design, such as long-boards and short-boards. Tow-in surfing involves motorized craft to tow the surfer onto the wave. It is associated with surfing huge waves, which are extremely difficult to ride and sometimes impossible to catch by paddling down the face. Each type of surfboard can be further subdivided into models, which are defined on the basis of how they combine various design features.

Numerous species of animal appear to enjoy being carried by the force of a wave, including penguins and various marine mammals, such as dolphins and seals. When the "surf's up", the level of enthusiasm felt by surfers is said to be on par with sex.


  • "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." [1] 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
  • "Surfing has a spiritual aura that you only get once you’ve experienced it yourself. It's always a journey to the inner self. It never will lose its soul and spirit, because the magic that envelops you, when surfing, is far too powerful.[2] Steffen Mackert
  • "Some argue that surfing is a religion. If so, the great Hawaiian surfer and Olympic swimming champion Duke Kahanamoku would certainly have to be seen as surfing’s messiah or prophet, and from the vantage point of the present day we can see that Tom Blake became his chief apostle."[3] Dave Parmenter
  • "When wars and flags and religions and nations and cities and rockets are gone, there will still be an order of things far beyond the order of power-crazed men. It will be the order of a universe at equilibrium with all natural forces in balance. And that's what riding a wave is."[4] Matt Warshaw
  • "We became hippies and got into yoga and that whole self realization thing and started to realize that those moments when you were completely focused on riding a wave are actually kind of spiritual religious moments."[5] Gerry Lopez
  • "I've heard other soul surfers talk in mystical terms about being one with the wave and feeling as if…they were no longer spectators in the ocean but part of it. This comes, I believe, from the total focus of energy and attention on the one task of surfing. It’s absolutely meditative ... Surfing make[s] all the noise of life melt away until it is just a surfer…and the wave in a perfect synchronous dance of life."[6] James Meacham.
  • "From the unique and extraordinary vision while riding inside a perfect wave the mystic kernel of the religious in surfing grows"[7] Glenn Hening and Bron Taylor
  • "Surfing is magic, riding liquid echoes of cosmic energy at the wild fringes of continents." [8] Drew Kampion
  • "The sea holds a magic for those of us who know her. A magic so simple, pure and powerful it works as an unseen force in our souls. We’re drawn to her. The spirit of the sea moves in us as we move within her, undulating folds in pursuit of our peace. As surfers, we inherently know this to be so. The sea brings comfort, solace, release and escape. The sea brings healing. The spirit of the sea, for some of us, is the very essence of life." [9] Keith Glendon
  • "My religion is the religion of surfing and nobody can tell me that what I and everybody I know does, and what we did yesterday, is not a religious experience ... When you practice something regularly, what you are doing is practicing union with nature in order to become aware of the things that are important to you and the things that a lot of of other like minded people happen to believe.When a whole lot of us do it, we become a formidable vibration on planet earth, able to influence and inspire others, maybe even help save the planet. I feel very strongly that surifng has been underrated from the religious side. I think it's been sold very cheaply, surfing. It should have been sold as an artform, ... and people would have got away from, well, who's the fucking winner, because this is what creates all the animosity, and it also creates the problems. Why do we need a winner? I don't need a winner. Needing a winner is a very crude way."[10] Nat Young
  • "Soul surfers consider surfing to be a profoundly meaningful practice that brings physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits. They generally agree on where surfing initially developed, that it assumed a religious character, was suppressed for religious reasons, has been undergoing a revival, and enjoins reverence for and protection of nature. This subset of the global surfing community should be understood as a new religious movement, a globalizing, hybridized, and increasingly influential example of what I call aquatic nature religion. For these individuals, surfing is a religious form in which a specific sensual practice constitutes its sacred center, and the corresponding experiences are constructed in a way that leads to a belief in nature as powerful, transformative, healing, and sacred. I advance this argument by analyzing these experiences, as well as the myths, rites, symbols, terminology, technology, material culture, and ethical mores that are found within surfing subcultures." [11] Bron Taylor


  1. Welcome to the Weird and Wonderful World of the Webber Clan, Interview by Tim Baker, Surfing World Magazine, Issue no. 271 (2004)
  2. Surf: A Visual Exploration of Surfing.
  3. The Uncommon Journey of a Pioneer Waterman.
  4. The Encyclopedia of Surfing.
  5. Surfer Magazine interview.
  6. Tao of Surfing.
  7. Surfing (in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature).
  8. The Book of Waves.
  9. Chad Compton: The Comeback Kid.
  10. Nat Young's Dream, by Tim Baker.
  11. Surfing into Spirituality and a New, Aquatic Nature Religion.