How Surfing Works

Surfing Gear

Surfing gear
Surfing gear

A surfboard allows a person to ride the waves, but several other pieces of equipment help protect riders from the water and the elements:

  • Wax adds a high-traction layer of bumps to the board's deck, or standing surface. Different waxes are most suited for different water temperatures. The wax layer helps the rider stay on the board, and it gradually smoothes out during use. Surfers can then add new wax or refresh the existing layer using a wax comb.
  • Board shorts are sturdier versions of swim trunks. With the increased popularity of women's surfing, manufacturers have developed board shorts that fit women.
  • Rash vests are fast-drying shirts that help prevent chafing, scrapes and injuries from impact with water. Many rash vests also offer protection from the sun by blocking UV radiation.
  • Wet suits help surfers stay warm in cold water.
  • A leash connects to a plug or cup on the board, helping to keep the surfer from losing the board while surfing.

Of course, surfing also requires a mode of transportation for getting to the beach. We'll look at what happens once the surfer gets to the water in the next section.