The common theory is that surfing originated in Hawaii, but the Polynesians are responsible for its creation. The Polynesians brought surfing to Hawaii during their voyages, and it became an integral part of Hawaiian culture. Since its origin days, surfing has traveled around the globe, thousands of miles from the birthplace. Any place with a coastline and a wave has surfing, and surfers roam the globe in constant search of new waves to ride.
In the latest episode of The Adventures of V-Man, our content writer, Vinnie, donned his wetsuit and jumped in the chilly waters of Malibu, CA. Fortunately, there were no sharks during the making of this adventure. Well…at least we didn’t see any. That is a valid fear that many people have, and shark stories remain a never-ending topic of conversation in regards to the ocean and surfing. The focus of this adventure is not about what lies beneath, though. Let Vinnie share his love for surfing with you below.
To be completely honest, I don’t think I ever had a choice. Growing up in Hawaii predisposes you to some sort of involvement with ocean activity, be it paddling, surfing, sailing, or kayaking. I started surfing at the spry age of five and have been riding waves ever since. That doesn’t make me a professional or incredibly “sick at carves and airs, bruh,” but it does mean I have a deep passion for the sport.
Surfing is attractive to many people and it’s brought me a lot of joy over the years. Like any sport, evolution is always possible and you can learn or appreciate it more over time. No two waves are the same, so there is always a learning curve or adjustment period when paddling out to a new spot. How does the wave break? Where is the peak? What are the reef/rock formations that you have to avoid during the rides? No surfer is immune to answering these questions, and the mental aspect of surfing is one of the reasons I love it so much.
Surfing At Malibu
Each surf spot has a different vibe, depending on the crowd of course. Some advanced spots, which are more localized, can be unfriendly to newcomers and beginners. Other spots are easy going and the unwritten rules of the ocean don’t mean anything. The latter describes most spots in the Malibu area. People catch waves without looking if other people are coming their way and collisions are frequent. That’s part of surfing at those breaks, but there are ways to avoid the commotion.
I surf the Malibu area because it’s cleaner-looking water than Venice Beach, Santa Monica, and other neighboring areas. The waves also break differently near Malibu. The rides are longer and the waves have more shape, compared to the beach break closeouts of many South Bay surf breaks. I take a longboard out to Malibu because I don’t want to compete for waves on a shorter board. Believe me, that takes all the joy out of surfing.
As is evident in the video, the waves were not very big the day that I went surfing. In fact, they are rarely bigger than shoulder-height, but it’s always a fun time. Any day that I can jump in the ocean is a great day. There’s something cleansing, communal, and rewarding about being in the ocean. Even though surfing is a solo activity, there’s a familial vibe out in the water, unless you are the one taking all the waves. Nobody likes that guy.
Does Surfing Have Health Benefits?
The simple answer is: yes. Anytime you can incorporate movement into your life, you are doing the body a favor. Surfing strengthens the back and shoulder muscles because of the paddling involved. The primary muscles that you build include the trapezius, oblique, pectoral, deltoid, lat, bicep, tricep, lumbar, and rectus abdominis muscles. Some argue that it is also a cardiovascular exercise, but it’s more strength training than anything. Many surfers incorporate additional cardiovascular training into their regimen in order to be better conditioned for consistent paddling.
When it comes to riding the waves, core strength is necessary. Stability is key when you’re on the board, which requires strong core, legs, and glutes. Surfing is not just about muscle building, though. Surfing is an excellent outlet to reduce stress and built-up tension in the body. Spending time in the ocean soaking up the sunshine is a great way immerse yourself in the natural world. That’s why I continue to do it. Sometimes, the waves are irrelevant and it’s nice to be present in the water. There are no distractions that pull you out of the experience. It’s just you and the ocean that exist in a beautiful relationship until you end it by paddling in.
Although surfing works different muscle groups, it also requires mental dexterity. You have to learn which waves to paddle for and when to paddle for them. There are signs that indicate a set of waves is coming your way, so you do have to pay attention to the ocean’s movement. Is the current pulling you away from your lineup? There are myriad lessons to learn in surfing, but that’s why it’s so easy to love. It takes time to master the craft and you can continue surfing throughout a lifetime. Start chasing waves before it’s too late. Maybe I’ll see you out in the water one day.