Surfing is one of those sports that, unlike skydiving or BASE jumping, everyone wants to try at some point. The idea of gliding through crisp water with the wind at your heels and the sun on your back is universally appealing. If you can’t hit the surf yourself, however, watching professionals take on swells through the lens of a GoPro camera is a pretty fine substitute.
Here are five of the best GoPro surfing videos to prove it.
Man and Wave
Fundamentally, surfing involves staying parallel to, yet just ahead of a wave, so that when it breaks, it doesn’t catch you. You can see during the rides in this surfing video that the wave eventually starts to fall and the surfer manages to stay under it without getting swallowed up. It is amazing to watch the surfers run whichever of their hands is closest to the wave through it as they go by, demonstrating that they are dependent on the wave itself while also needing to keep it at bay. Surfing is reciprocal.
No matter how much you think form matters in surfing, it probably matters even more. As he’s hurtling through the wave, the surfer in this video has the flexibility and stamina to keep his body low enough to avoid hitting the wave. Not only does he need to occupy that position for a prolonged period of time, he also has to be able to do it while still balancing on the board. Balance is the backbone of surfing; you need to stay put while being thrown around by the power of the ocean.
Waves come in all different shapes and sizes. The one the surfer hits at the beginning of this video is so big that he doesn’t need to crouch down at all – he stands straight up as he cruises through and the crest is still well above his head. Then it eventually collapses, ending with him falling and having to regain his board and his composure. Wipeouts are an inevitable part of surfing, though, and there’s certainly no shame in them – even the best are not immune.
One of the things you can glean from this surfing video is that this sport involves even more than staying in a certain position, balancing on the board and letting your momentum carry you through. Even just getting started is tough – you need to paddle out on your stomach and then hoist yourself up onto the board, all without upsetting your balance. Then, the wave batters you and the spray gets in your face, making it hard to even see where you’re going. You have to keep your eyes open and vision clear throughout that whole process, ensuring that you don’t go hurtling into the side of the wave or fall out of it. You also have to be able to hold your breath to avoid inhaling water. Surfing definitely has a learning curve.
The Challenge is Worth the Reward
To add to the long list of skills surfing requires, you need to be able to constantly cut up and down the wave with sharp turns of your board to keep up momentum. Plus, there’s the obstacle of other people in the water who need to be avoided, no matter how in the zone you are.
If you are willing to take on all the mental and physical challenges of surfing, you may just find yourself taking on swells right next to one of these pros soon.