Surfing is as much a skill and science as it is instinct and timing. It begins with learning how to read ocean swells to anticipate wave formation in order to execute a maneuver quickly.
Here, we explain what you need to know about surfing to appreciate the Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games this month.
learn the lingo
Surfing has its own language, and the first thing you should know about surfers is that they have a lot of popular phrases to express your enthusiasm and enthusiasm for a good ride.
Stoked. Foamy. Gurley. Sick. Red.
Waves are formed in a swell way along the bottom of the ocean, called a break. Beach breakage – such as the Olympic site at Tsurigasaki Beach – is caused by sandbars, which can move over time or due to storms. Point breaks are made against a point on the ground, such as a jetty. Reef breaks often occur in and out of the ocean.
Knowing the technical structure of a wave is also important oceanography. The lip of the wave is the curling part at the top, the face of the wave is the blue water, and the white water is the foam that is produced by the energy of the breaking wave.
Think of it as a mental warm-up that is essential to successful surfing.
Arrive at the beach early in the morning and you will find swarms of surfers swimming in the ocean, seemingly full of zen and sitting on their surfboards bouncing in the water. What they’re really doing is focusing on measuring the feel of surf conditions.
Serious surfers also study oceanographic and atmospheric data before jumping into the water. Smart surfers become science junkies. They study weather forecasts, wave height, wind direction and tidal speed in obsessive detail.
“A lot of surfers will look at satellite maps and see storms coming over the ocean, which are going to cause swell. And then there are buoys that measure the height of the swell in the gap between waves and there’s tides and wind, says Richard Schmidt, a retired pro surfer who now runs a surf school in his native Santa Cruz, Calif. “And to get really great surf, a lot of those elements all have to match up and put together. Must come.”
ride the wave
Timing and position are everything when it comes to riding the wave. In a nutshell competitive surfing is all about deciding which wave to take and which trick or tricks make the best use of what the ocean has to offer at the moment.
Carissa Moore says, “Doing any maneuver, you want to get a lot of speed and going into a turn, laying it all on the rails and pushing really hard but matching the power of the waves.” so that you don’t slide out.” The defending world champion and the woman to beat at the start of the surfing Olympics.
While men’s competition is usually dazzled with explosive air, women’s sports often have a more dance-like rhythm that showcases the speed, power and flow of the ride.
Most of the maneuvers are turn type; Wherever you look, your body will go.
To do a barrel – where the surfer is riding inside the tube of the wave – it’s important to find the part of the water that is steep and hollow, then balance within the height of the curl so that the water surrounds you. Surfers who disappear into the barrel and then smoothly exit at the end show control. Younger surfers may enjoy fitting into the tube without bending over or bending down.
For a wind, look for a soft piece of wave to gain momentum before launching toward the beach to harness the speed of the wave.
“You have like a wave that’s never the same, so what you’re seeing is constantly adjusting and adapting to the situation,” says Moore.
judge the ride
Unlike other sports, competitive surfing is done on a virtually uneven playing field: mighty and uncontrollable oceans.
Every ocean wave and every beach is different, so the decision criteria depend on what the surf conditions are like during the summer and how well the maneuvers are executed. Scoring is admittedly subjective and conditions are unpredictable, which makes surfing a uniquely four-dimensional sport with the vagaries of the ocean as a factor of X.
In competitive surfing, athletes take turns in timed heats, riding their chosen waves based on their position in the surf zone during the heat.
For the Olympics, a panel of five judges will then award scores – up to a perfect 10 – for each wave a surfer rides during the heat, which can range from 20 to 35 minutes. The highest and lowest scores are thrown away, leaving the middle three as the average as the ride score. Then, each surfer’s top two ride scores are combined to form their heat score, out of a total of 20 points. The score doesn’t progress, so each summer is a fresh start.
The judges take into account difficulty, innovation, combination, variety, and speed, power, and fluency for the overall impression of each wave. Where they perform in the wave is important; The most important section is where the blue water meets the white water.
There is no hierarchy in how to maneuver. But if there are two identical moves, pulling off the big wave will prove to be more difficult.
“One can do really crappy wind in a small section of water – it’s like 2.5 (in the score). And then someone can do a really sick turn in a significant section – it’s like 6 is,” says Tori Gilkerson, who will be scoring as an Olympic judge. “There is no ceiling or floor to every maneuver. It’s about how they are executed and the technique and quality of the maneuvers.”