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History of Ocean SurfingSurfing Gear

Surfing LingoWhere to Surf

neon surf shop sign Do you want to catch the perfect wave?  Well, every serious surfer needs the right equipment to ride the waves!  Taking to the water well-equipped can mean the difference between a great experience and a bad one.  To that end, it pays to get educated before you buy surfing equipment.

Surfboards come in three basic varieties:  the longboard, the shortboard, and the medium length "funboard."  Longboards provide a slower, steadier ride on which you can hang ten and are best suited to beginning and intermediate surfers.  Shortboards are used by more experienced surfers for surfing tricks.  "Funboards" are exactly what they sound like!  If you are a surfer who wants to ride the waves and have fun, this length board could be perfect for you!

surfboard on a Hawaiian beach You'll want to make sure you have the right accessories before you hit the waves as well.  Always make sure you use a leash to avoid causing a "killer" board from getting away from you and injuring someone else in the water or on shore.  Know the water temperature before choosing your surf wax, which gives extra grip on the top of the surfboard.  And if you are surfing in cold waters, you'll appreciate a hood, booties, and a wetsuit.  In warmer waters, board shorts and rashguards are usually worn to provide adequate protection from skin abrasion or rashes while paddling around on your surfboard.

To make your surfing experience a perfect 10, check out the wide variety of surfboard and surfing equipment retailers listed on  Surf shops are most often found along the East (Atlantic Ocean) and West (Pacific Ocean) coasts, but you can also shop online and find everything you need to catch the perfect wave — from surfboards to surfing accessories.  If you are new to surfing, be sure to visit our surfing lingo page for a few common surfing expressions.  In the USA, ocean surfing is a popular sport in Hawaii, along the Atlantic coastline from New Jersey to Florida, and along the Pacific coastline from Oregon to California.  For more specifics, and pointers on choosing a good surfing beach, visit our where to surf page.

dog surfing the waves on a surfboard
Some surfers like to catch a wave with their four-legged friends.  Others watch their dogs surf on their own.  And if that's not enough, there are surf dog competitions and surf-a-thons, complete with dog surfing costume contests and prizes!  See the Lowes Surf Dog Competition blog for more information.

Online Surf Shops (Featured Listings)

    Find cool sandals, surfing gear and beachwear from Reef, Rainbow, Roxy, and Quiksilver.
  2. Ron Jon Surf Shop
    Visit this world-famous surf shop — online!
    Your shop for surf wear, surf gear, and all your surfing needs.
    Surfwear and surfing lifestyle shop with multiple locations in the USA.

Surf Board and Accessories Makers

  • Rip Curl
    Designer and manufacturer of wetsuits, surfboards, and accessories.
  • Roxy
    Offers beachwear, swimwear, wetsuits, and eyewear for women.
  • Quiksilver
    Features wetsuits, surfing apparel, and eyewear for men.
  • SurfTech
    Designs and manufactures strong, lightweight, epoxy surfboards in both shortboard and longboard styles.
  • Stewart Surfboards
    Maker of performance boards, classic longboards and short funboards.
  • Rusty
    Offers surfboards, swimwear, and beach sportswear for men and women.
  • Wave Riding Vehicles
    Find a selection of surfboards and surf gear.
  • Robert August
    This California-based company offers longboards, fun boards, shortboards, and surfing gear.
  • Gordon And Smith
    This California surfboard producer offers modern performance funshape and longboard designs as well as surfwear.
  • Mavericks Surfshop
    Visit this shop near the big wave surfing at Half Moon Bay, California.
surfer wave surfing in the ocean

Surfing History and Museum

Surfing in North America dates back to the year 1885, when three princes from the Hawaiian islands were attending Saint Matthew's Military School in San Mateo, California.  During their spare time, they constructed surfboards from local redwood, and tested the waves near Santa Cruz.  Read more about the origins and development of this popular water sport on our history of surfing web page.

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