A guide to ocean surfing: where to go, how to prepare, what to wear, what kind of board, safety precautions, and tips on technique.
Mahalo! The president was caught wearing a Hawaiian shirt on television. The Beach Boys are selling albums like never before. Kids are wearing seashells around their necks and using adjectives like "gnarly" and "tubular." You would have to be living under a rock to miss one the latest trends in fashion and sport- surfing. However, despite what some youth today might claim, surfing is by no means a "new fad". Rather, it is a lifestyle and culture passed down from many generations ago. The forefathers of the surfing pastime would be proud to see their favorite sport gaining popularity all over the world in this millennium, but they themselves truly understood the frightening power of the oceans, regardless of what continent or shore you?re on. This is significant for your first day learning to surf. It?s important that all groms hit the break with some knowledge and preparation, not to mention respect for mother ocean.
Let?s start off with the most obvious, yet most overlooked prerequisite for surfing- the ABILITY TO SWIM. If you are not a frequent swimmer, or are unsure of your ability to swim, it is important to gain a confident attitude. Spend a few weeks at your local pool swimming laps getting your body ready for intense physical activity. You should be able to swim a good 200 meters without stopping in order to be considered ocean worthy. Next, if you are not experienced with ocean water activities, take some time to accustom yourself with the saltwater and the waves WITHOUT a board. Just like Mom always said ?don?t talk to strangers?, surfers say, ?NEVER GO IN THE OCEAN ALONE?.
Secondly, you'll need a beach. One with an ocean and tides. This means no lakes. No ponds. No bathtubs! A lifeguard who will let you surf in his or her territory would be a plus, however unlikely.
The following water conditions are ideal for typical beginners for their first day on the water:
-clean, shore breaking waves anywhere from shin height to waist height. -water temperature of at least 40 degrees farenheit -smooth bottom, no rocks or boulders
Next, you need a surfboard. Yes, world famous surfing competitor Kelly Slater did in fact once surf a large wooden door; however, one wouldn't recommend hauling Grandma's back door to the nearest beach. Instead, head to your local surf shop and rent yourself a real log. Choose one as big as you can carry. Ask the storeowner about board recommendations for your height and weight. A general rule of toe is to get a board a little taller than your self. However, with so many different types of boards, uses and preferences revolving around surfboards these days, this rule may not suit you. When choosing a board, look for one that is light. This is important should you ever lose control of your board, or if it ever hits you, expected or not. A heavy board is more dangerous.
For your first trip, don't worry about how pretty the board looks, or if it has appealing colors. A rental board has most likely been used many times, and thus will not be a Brad Pitt. Just keep an eye out for dings, water, and cracks. As far as shape, a 'fish' is probably your best choice. Wide in the tail, thick rails, and round in the nose...this configuration gives beginners excellent control and buoyancy. Take care of your board. A good one takes a lot of time to design and make. Treat it with care.
You're going to need a leash. This is how you will keep track of your board when out on the water. The board is attached to your ankle by way of a long leash. The leash should be about one and a half times the length of the board. It should be sturdy and strong. You do not want to lose your board when out on the water!
You are going to need some board wax. There are many specialty types available in all surf shops. Just ask for what is best for you. Go cheap! Don't fall for marketing scams- you don't need anything fancy. This wax is your lifeline. When rubbed all over the top of your board, it will provide the traction necessary to keep your feet and your body from slipping off the board.
Depending on the temperature and condition of the water, you may need some protective garments. A wetsuit of appropriate thickness, hood, gloves, and/or booties may be necessary. Be smart. Keep your head and body warm. Your body cools much faster in water than it does in the air!
Take a course in oceanography. Ok, so the thought of teachers and chalk scratching on the board doesn?t send you running to the nearest school. Well, educate yourself. It is very important to learn about the ocean and its tides and currents. These factors differ depending on the area so it is your responsibility to ensure you are not endangering you or your peers. Find out if your spot contains prevalent ripcurrents, undertow, or dangerous underwater creatures. The resources are out there. Ask around; contact your local coastal environment centers or Harbor Master Department. Check out your local library, and don't forget the Internet. Try talking to locals in the oceanside community. Be aware of any dangers that may inhibit your enjoyment of surfing.
Last but not least, get stoked! It's time to ride some swell! It is impossible to read how to surf and then automatically be Maverick material. Practice, practice, practice! Surfing takes practice! If you've always ignored this familiar word before, stop now, it's unavoidable! Getting up on your board will take determination and concentration. You will get frustrated. You will get upset. You will get sand in your pants and seaweed in your ears. But alas, stay strong. Stay persistent.
Paddle, paddle, paddle!
Once you have gotten comfortable with floating belly down on your board and keeping balance while still in rocky waters, try paddling! When you're comfortable with that, it's time to try for a wave. Watch the water. Take the time to notice where the waves tend to be breaking in the water. Next, when the time is right, quickly paddle beyond that point, and then turn yourself, board parallel with the shoreline. If the waves are too close together or too big, you must swim through one, do not attempt to go over! You will only end up right back where you started from, if not further. To avoid this, go under the wave in a duck dive.
Look left and keep an eye on the shore. Wave to your Mom and say cheese to the camera. It is time to ride your first wave. Look right and keep an eye out for a swell that makes you feel in your heart like it could pick you up and carry you home. As soon as you see it, paddle TOWARDS THE SHORE. FAST! Move those arms like Fred Flintstone's legs! If you feel it pick you up and it just goes right under you... you missed it. Try again. BUT, if you suddenly feel this intense sensation like a giant hand is picking you up by the back of your pants and you are suddenly racing towards the shore at speeds you didn't think were possible without an engine....congratulations! You caught your first wave!!
Next time just try it standing up!!
The contents of this article should give you a good start for things to think about when heading out to ride some waves for the first time.
Glossary of slang terms:
1. grom-someone new to surfing 2. gnarly-term of exclamation 3. tubular-term of exclamation 4. log- big, long surfboard 5. Brad Pitt-beautiful 6. duck dive-a maneuver involving pushing the board down into and under the wave with all your body weight, allowing the wave to roll over your head and body with minimal resistance. 7. Tail-back of board 8. Rail-side of board 9. Nose-front of board 10. Stoked-excited Have fun, be safe, and hang ten.
What you need to know about men's fashion
GQ Magazine offers several style tips that will help you earn the "best dressed" status symbol. There are some of the "commandments" they list for men's fashion to achieve this look:
1. Honor thy tailor. According to GQ, even the best suits need altering. In men's fashion this is probably the most important detail that is not always adhered to. Pants need to be shortened, jackets need to be brought in, sleeves need to be narrowed (yes, you can ask your tailor to slim down your sleeves), and buttons need to be realigned with buttonholes (most guys' shoulders aren't entirely even, meaning your jacket often sits a bit askew).
If you're going to buy off the rack, you should always buy your correct size, then have a tailor customize it to your body. GQ says that the chances are you're wearing your suit a size too large. Its shoulders should hug your shoulders (not jut out past them). Also, have your tailor size the sleeves so they stop at the hinge of your wrist (not halfway down your thumb) and to size the pants so they break once (not gather in a baggy mess at your heels). Having your tailor properly fit your suit is the difference between being appropriately dressed and being stylishly dressed.
Custom tailored suits and even dress shirts are another option. Custom tailoring means that everything will fit right - and if you need to have a lot of alterations done on ready-made clothes, it may be an economical alternative.
2. Thou shalt learn when to cuff 'em. If you're wearing a trim, modern suit with flat-front pants?the kind often shown in men's fashion magazines?you should not cuff your pants. However, if you're a guy who likes a classic suit with a single pleat, go for a cuff?but not more than one and a half inches deep.
3. Thou shalt match your socks with your suit. Another must in men's fashion. When choosing socks, the basic rule is to consider the suit instead of the shoe?in other words, if you're wearing a navy suit with black shoes, reach for navy socks. And when wearing a light suit, make sure the socks are darker than the suit but a shade or so lighter than the shoes.
4. Thou shalt not wear a tie that is too slim. Unless you're a hard-core men's fashion guy who favors a superskinny tie, stick with one that measures about three inches at its widest point. It will be narrower than traditional ties, but not by too much. Tie one on and you'll look modern and sophisticated. We assume that's the look you want to achieve!
5. Remember thy undershirt. This one's an interesting and tricky men's fashion tip. If you're wearing a conventional white broadcloth dress shirt (which means it's fairly see-through), you have two options: Skip the undershirt and you'll look clean and stylish. Or, if you're a hairy guy who perspires a lot and you feel safer in an undershirt, wear a crewneck. The lines of a V-neck or tank top will be visible beneath your shirt and tie and you'll look cheesy. GQ suggest that if you prefer a V-neck or tank top, you might consider other dress shirts. Go for ones with checks or stripes, which make an undershirt less visible. Or opt for hardier fabrics, like an oxford cloth, which make undershirts all but invisible.
6. Thou shalt put your wallet on a diet. Your wallet should not be as fat as a burrito. In fact, GQ says that you should get rid of your wallet and you should trash all the receipts, video cards, that's stuffed into it. Buy an elegant, slim leather credit card holder and stock it with your essential cards. Then, fold your cash in a money clip. All that other nonsense can go in your desk drawer. You don't need it.
7. Thou shalt wear brown shoes?with nearly everything. Black dress shoes are easy?they're understated and tasteful. In men's fashion, the GQ experts say that brown dress shoes up the style factor. People notice them. They go best with gray, khaki, or navy. Dark brown shoes are easier to pull off than light brown ones.
Other men's fashion tips worth noting are:
Buy a two-button suit. It will give you a slimmer, more streamlined look, and it will better show off your shirt and tie. According to the fashion experts, the days of three-button dominance are over.
Put toe taps on your leather-soled dress shoes. They will significantly increase the shoes' life span.
If you're going to own one sweater, make it a charcoal gray v-neck. It goes perfectly with a dark suit in fall or winter and with jeans or cords in spring.
A black J.M. Weston belt works with khakis, jeans, suits, everything. It is the one belt every man should own.
A dark, slim tie will instantly give any ensemble a younger, cooler feel. And unlike wider ties, it looks as good with a jean jacket as with a suit jacket.
And, the last men's fashion tip is: Invest in a classic one- or two-button tuxedo with peak or notch lapels. It makes no sense (stylistically or fiscally) to rent a tuxedo each time you attend a black-tie event.
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