25 Fun Facts About Surfing, Costa Rica’s Most Beloved Passion

  1. Surfing was first discovered by Captain Cook on the island of Polynesia in 1778, where he witnessed local fisherman and islanders riding the waves on rugged wood “planes” for enjoyment. It soon became an integral part of Hawaiian and island culture.
  1. Panamanian Gary Saavedra set the record for the longest surf ride ever, staying up on an artificial wave created by a powerboat for 55 minutes.
  1. Huge waves that can top 50 feet high are called Rogue Waves, occurring in the open sea when other smaller waves combine.
  1. The biggest wave ever recorded was a jaw-dropping 1,738 feet high (500 feet taller than the Empire State Building,) a tsunami that rolled through Lituya Bay in Alaska in 1958.
  1. But the largest wave ever surfed was about 100 feet high, ridden by Hawaiian surf legend Garrett McNamara in 2013 off the coast of Portugal.
  1. 47 people once crowded onto a 12-meter surfboard and hit the waves, setting the official world record.
  1. But the record for the most crowded wave ever ridden was set at the 2009 Earthwave Festival in Cape Town, South Africa, where 120 people surfed the same wave.
  1. No official records exist for the longest barrel ride in history, but it’s largely believed that Ozzie Wright’s 53-second ride in Indonesia has to be the top.
  1. Surfing isn’t just for human beings anymore, as K9s have ridden the waves the last five years at California’s annual Surf City Dog event in Coronado Beach.
  1. Where does the Hawaiian “shaka” come from? The origins are somewhat of a mystery, though some people think it’s a sign that came from placing a Hawaiian lei over someone’s head, while others think Spanish explorers of yesteryear made the sign to islanders when they were looking for a drink but it was misinterpreted as a greeting. A third theory states that the “shaka” was the hand signal some kids first made to communicate silently that the coast was clear to jump onto rail cars since the security guard on duty there had lost his three middle fingers.
  1. The windiest surf spot on earth is the capital city of Wellington in New Zealand.
  1. Is surfing dangerous? Of course the ocean is to be respected and surfers have to know what they’re doing in the waves, but still, surfing is listed as only the 20th most dangerous sport in the world.
  1. A well-trained surfer can often hold his breath for an astounding four minutes. Still, that pales in comparison to the World Record of 11 minutes.
  1. The average surfer spends only about 8 percent of their time in the water actually riding waves, the other 92 percent spent paddling out, waiting for the right wave, and generally looking cool.
  1. The irrational fear of waves is called Cymophobia.
  1. About one in three surfers eventually suffer an injury.
  1. The University of Plymouth was the first university in the world to offer a degree in surfing with its course work in Surf Science and Technology in 1999.
  1. A “Neptune Cocktail” is the slang term for the seawater you inadvertently gulp down when you wipeout surfing.
  1. It was 1992 when the first reference appeared of “surfing” in reference to browsing around the Internet.
  1. June 20 commemorates International Surf Day, or ISD, all around the world.
  1. Surfers are prone to shark attacks in some waters so to help protect them, Australian researchers invented a colorful wetsuit that is supposed to be visually repulsive to the ocean predators.
  1. Speaking of those dreaded sharks, a survey by American Surf Magazine revealed that 66 percent of surfers have them on the mind when they are in the water.
  1. Iconic surfer Kelly Slater described the unshakable passion for the sport best when he once said, “Surfing is like the mafia. Once you’re in – you’re in. There’s no getting out.”
  1. Kelly Slater is the most famous surfer in the world, having won 11 world titles and amassing a net worth of about $25 million.
  1. Costa Rica has been considered one of the best places in the world to surf for decades, attracting millions of visitors to the country’s 40 mapped surf beaches. In fact, Mal Pais, Dominical, Playa Hermosa, Playa Bejuco, Pavones, and many others around the Playa Jaco area are world famous for their inviting waves where surfers can paddle out and play in the Pacific’s perfect waves.

Costa Rica Gurus is a Full Service Travel Agency that can help with every detail of your Surf or Adventure Vacation to Costa Rica.  From Vacation Rentals, Transportation, Adventure Tours and so much more.  Reach us is Costa Rica at 1-954-495-9330.


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