What Makes Surfing Unique? Here Are 12 Facts About Surfing

Why surfing is so unique?

Have you ever dreamed of having a superpower? For me, it was flying. Since I was a kid I wanted to have the ability to fly, not just on a plane, but literally feeling like I’m splitting the air into two. This is what I feel about surfing – it’s the ultimate activity that has it all in one.

Surfing is unique and different from other kinds of activities because it is one of the few sports that allows you to use the natural environment to your positive advantage.

With surfing, you are constantly battling against the ocean and trying to read its moods in order to get the most out of each ride.

We explained in our prior posts why it’s so fun and how it makes you feel happy and chilled and this time, I want to showcase some facts about what makes it so unique.

Keep on reading to embrace the stoke!

12 Facts About Surfing That Makes It So Unique

  1. In 1778, Captain James Cook was the first person to document surfing in detail. He observed someone surfing in Hawaii and described them as “who had the most supreme pleasure while he was driven so fast and smoothly by the seas.”
  2. Surfing is one of the oldest sports on Earth. Although its precise origins are undetermined, ancient stone carvings from 5,000 years ago in Chan Chan, Peru showed people surfing.
  3. The first major surf contest was held all the way back in 1928 in California.
  4. According to new research, surfing is increasing in popularity since it represents the anti-type of contemporary society, which emphasizes pure pleasure and eternal youth. Sounds like a great perspective of life.
  5. Surfing is a £25 billion-a-year industry with more than 25 million surfers worldwide. We’re among the 25 – million, surfers.
  6. Not a source of pride, but WWII spurred the invention of several chemicals and materials that helped revolutionize surfboard construction. These include styrofoam, fiberglass, and resin; all of which work to create boards that are both sturdy and lightweight.
  7. Surfing used to be a rather exclusive and hallowed pastime mostly in the islands. After WWII, with more leisure time and beach films, surf fashion, and a TV program called Gidget, surfing became a commercialized, multibillion-dollar industry.
  8. The invention of the cars allowed surfers to explore the California coast and expand areas where surfing was possible. Surf safaris or “Surfaris” emerged, in which a group of surfers would spend entire weekends exploring the coast.
  9. Hawaii is credited with being the soul and heart of surfing, but California is recognized for developing the technologies that allowed it to spread across the world. More hydrodynamic boards, wave prediction, and wetsuits are examples of technological developments.
  10. Duke Kahanamoku (1890–1968) is considered by many to be the “Father of Modern Surfing”, an Olympic swimmer.
  11. Surf science and technology is offered at Plymouth University in the UK since 1998.
  12. While surfing traditionally flourished around the coastlines, new technology in artificial waves and wave parks is creating a new surfing industry inland.


There you have it! These were just a few facts about surfing in particular and what makes it so unique.

And not only that, it’s the feeling of stoke that you are granted when driving to the ocean, or waking up in the morning.

I hope that these facts inspired you to jump in the water, or at the very least, get you stoked about surfing. It’s time to feel more confident and embrace the sport that we love so much.