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sport of gliding on a breaking wave. Surfers originally used long, cumbersome wooden boards but now ride lightweight synthetic boards that allow a greater degree of maneuverability. Boards are typically from 4 to 12 ft (122 to 366 cm) long; the larger surfboards have a stabilizing fin in the rear. The surfer begins at the point where the waves begin to form, then, facing shore, paddles toward the beach with an oncoming wave. When the wave catches the board, the surfer stands up and glides along the wave's crest—or, in the case of a large wave, in the "tube" formed by its overhead curl. Standing waves in rivers and tidal bores can also be surfed.

Although the origins of surfing are obscure, it is clear that it developed in Hawaii, where it was popular during the 19th cent. It spread to the California coast during the 1920s and became very popular with youth in the United States, Australia, and other countries by the 1960s. Since the late 1990s aerial tricks similar to those done by skateboarders and snowboarders have become an accepted part of competitive surfing. With lifestyles and regimens freer than those of most athletes, surfers comprise a unique sporting subculture.


See B. Finney, Surfing (1996).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a water sport in which participants compete for speed, distance, and duration while riding large, breaking waves in a standing position (without fasteners) on special boards made of cork, plastic foam, or other material. Surfing is popular in Australia, New Zealand, the Hawaiian Islands, and coastal areas in the USA, Indonesia, China, and some other countries.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the sport of riding towards shore on the crest of a wave by standing or lying on a surfboard
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


("Internet surfing") Used by analogy to describe the ease with which an expert user can use the waves of information flowing around the Internet to get where he wants. The term became popular in the early 1990s as access to the Internet became more widespread and tools such as World-Wide Web browsers made its use simpler and more pleasant.
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Examining online material, such as databases, news clips and forums to find some item of interest. It implies quickly moving from one item to another, like "TV channel surfing," the rapid changing of TV channels to find something of interest. See Web surfing.
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References in periodicals archive ?
public's use of any lands needed in order to access a surfing
Steve Price, founder and chief executive of Emerge Surf, said: "It's an incredibly exciting time in the development of surfing. The mental and physical benefits of the sport are increasingly understood and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will hugely increase levels of interest and participation.
"Our vision is to not only provide a worldclass surfing experience for surfers of all levels but also a wide range of complementary activities.
Bach appeared to end French Polynesia's hopes of hosting surfing competitions at the 2024 Games due to the 15,700 kilometers distance from France.
Boasting toilets, showers, storage space, an office, changing rooms and an elevated judging area for contests, it is now nearing completion and should revolutionise the experience of surfing at Scotland's most famous break.
A great compliment to the Bordners' business mission, Citywave[C] offers more than just surfing as the flexibility of this wave allows for body surfing, boogie boarding, stand up paddle boarding, and river kayaking.
After a car accident when he was five years old left Smyth's right arm paralysed, doctors suggested he take up surfing -- the paddling, they said, would encourage him to use both arms.
The World Surf League is the home of professional surfing. World Qualifying Series events are given Star Ratings and this particular event would be a 6-starevent, the highest rating in this series, up with the Hawaiian events and attracting the very best of professional surfing's top performers.
With first-class waves, the Taiwan Open of Surfing is held each November, attracting surfers worldwide to come and face the challenge.
Although the waves are not very high in July and August, there are some regions where you can enjoy surfing, according to North Korean propaganda media DPRK Today's Sunday report.
The East Coast of Taiwan, with its Pacific breakers, is where the best surfing on the island can be found and the best place to head to is generally agreed to be Donghe.