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Surfing - How Waves Behave

Sep 11, 2008
Waves swell and crash because of a complex interaction between the wind, the ocean, and gravity. A surfer doesn't need to be a scientist to learn how to judge the waves. But being aware of some of their behavior and how to react to them will keep you safer.

The wave tube is formed by a swell, which results from continual strong waves brushing over the surface of the ocean near the shore. The stronger the offshore wind, the bigger the swell.

Reefs, sand bars and other formations under the water play a big role in how the water moves. As a swell passes over a reef it will tend to rise.

Waves crest because the water builds up as the land gets more shallow. But they can only sustain themselves to a certain point before gravity brings the crest down.

Until you get more experience, stick with simple environment conditions. Don't go out when the weather is extremely bad or good. Big winds mean big swells. Keep the waves you attack down to about 3-4 feet (1-1.2 m). Anything larger is too big a challenge at this stage.

As you paddle out to the wave, be aware of what's nearby and what goes on around you. Piers, and rocky outcroppings can alter the way the wave acts. As the wave moves around them it tends to produce a swirl. Paddle out away from all obstructions, past any near shore barriers, then turn around.

Once you're out far enough, you'll want even more to keep an eye on the water's movements. You'll need to keep glancing over your shoulder to judge the wave speed, direction and size. At the same time, you need to be aware of how close you are moving toward the shore and any other nearby surfers.

Wear sun protection swimwear and a sun hat, apply sunscreens where possible. Skin protection should be a priority when spending a lot of time on the beach learning how to surf or studying how waves behave. After all, surfing should be fun, exiting and safe. There are special type of swimwear for surfing, such as surf shirt, swim tights, sunsuits, stinger suits, and sun hats. Make sure your surfing gear provide maximum sun protection with UPF50+ UV protection.

Stand, be counted and be safe. your surfing experience should be like no other. This sport is well loved by outgoing and sports minded people and it is open to all to enjoy. There are many websites that promote surfing, so take your time to get more information and study how you can become a good surfer.

Safety is number one. Protect yourself against the sun's UV radiation and learn good surfing techniques.
About the Author
J Edmond have been working in the sun protection clothing industry for several years. The main aim is to raise awareness of the sun' UV radiation and it's effect on human skin. Click here for more info about sun protection swimwear and UV protective clothing.
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