How Surfing Works

Surfing Tips

Tips for surfing safely include being familiar with the beach before you start surfing.
Tips for surfing safely include being familiar with the beach before you start surfing.
Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

Here are some tips for surfing safely:

  • Apply sunscreen before getting into the water.
  • If you're surfing in cold water, wear a properly-fitting wetsuit - a wetsuit that's too big won't keep you warm. Surfing in cold water without a good wetsuit could lead to hypothermia, especially in the event of becoming stranded without a board.
  • Make sure your surfboard is undamaged and has a good, bumpy coat of wax on its deck before getting into the water.
  • Attach your board leash securely to the leg that is farthest back when you are on the board.
  • Never paddle farther out than you can swim back if you lose your board.
  • Never surf alone.
  • Check the surf forecast before leaving home and obey all posted surf and swim warnings.
  • If you're a beginner, practice popping up and surfing in areas that aren't crowded with surfers and swimmers. Consider taking a class from an experienced instructor.
  • Familiarize yourself with the surf and shore of the beach before you start surfing.

To learn more about surfing, waves and related topics, check out the links below.


Related HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links


  • Anthoni, Dr. J. Floor. "Oceaongraphy: Waves." (5/21/2007)
  • California State University Monterey Bay. "News: Mavericks' Secret Revealed by Seafloor Mapping."
  • California Surf Museum
  • DeMestre, Neville. "Mathematics and Bodysurfing." Australian Mathematical Society Gazette. September 2004 (5/21/2007).
  • Eden Project. "Eco Surfboard."
  • Exploratorium. "Hanging Ten." (5/21/2007).
  • ExtremeHorizon. "Surfboard Construction."
  • Knowles, Ernest. "Introductory Oceanography." NCSU 11/28/2004 (5/21/2007)
  • NASA. "The Science of Surfing: Surfers Use Satellites to Chase Big Waves." 7/22/2002 (5/21/2007).
  • Rendon, Jim. "A Few Leagues Under the Sea." Popular Science. May 2007 (5/21/2007).
  • Surfing Waves. "Beginners Guide to Surfing." (5/21/2007).
  • University of Florida. "The Origins of Surfing."
  • Wimbush, Mark et al. "Ocean Waves." AccessScience @ McGraw-Hill. 8/25/2005 (5/21/2007).