Surfing vs Skateboarding: The Similarities and Differences

Surfing vs. skateboarding, what is better? In this article, we explain the differences and similarities between the two sports.

What is Surfing?

woman surfing

Surfing, which might have started out as a pastime, is now an international sporting phenomenon. It requires the surfer to ride the waves of the water on a flat board, as the waves carry the surfer back towards the shore. The best waves suitable for surfing are usually found in ocean waves from beaches.

Using the surfboard, surfers can either surf standing while maintaining different stances or they can also surf while lying on the surfboard. This is known as bodyboarding. Modern-day surfing originated from the Hawaiian Islands before spreading to California and other parts of America and later Australia.

What is Skateboarding?

man skateboarding down the road

When thinking of the similarities between skateboarding vs. surfboarding, we see that they are both active sports. Skateboarding is an action sport and pastime that involves riding on a skateboard. It started by surfers who wanted something fun to do during the days when the waves were flat.

Additionally, it is known as sidewalk surfing. The first set of skateboards were a combination of small wooden boards and roller skate wheels. As the sport gained popularity and traction, the skateboards became better as time went on.

Not only that, it is now a whole industry with magazines, skate ramps, parks, and competitions of its own. As of today, skateboarding is a billion-dollar industry, and in 2016. Also,  skateboarding will make its maiden appearance as an Olympic sport at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Skateboarding is also a great means of transportation.

From the above introduction, we can clearly see that there are many similarities between surfing vs. skateboarding. In this article, we will consider both their similarities and their differences.

Similarities: Surfing vs. Skateboarding

surfing vs skateboarding

There are many similarities between both sports. For example, they are both outdoor sports and are both mainly individualistic in nature. Unlike other sports that require a team to perform, you can enjoy the sport alone.

Also, they are both board sports. Surfing and skateboarding can’t be done without the boards. And since they both have boards, it means that the sports also require balance.

With that, both sports share similar skills and tricks. They also require the ability to maneuver while in motion. They both also present dangers when riders and surfers fall off their boards.

Additionally, they are both standing sports. Other standing sports have you stand with your feet side by side. With surfing and skating, you place one foot ahead of the other with the body bent at an angle and leaning forward.

Differences: Surf and Skate

surfing on water and skateboarding on concrete and ramps

Now, let’s talk about the differences between surfing vs. skateboarding.

One thing that is quick to realize is that even in their similarities, they show differences. The first major difference is the location where both sports take place. In order to surf you need a body of water, and in order to skate you need land. Skateboarders usually practice in parks or specially built skateboard ramps.

Shapes of Skateboards and Surfboards

Also, the boards are different too. A surfboard is in the shape of a waterproof plank. This is usually made of wood or foam and reinforced plastic used to surf on waves. It also has a fin at the bottom end of the board.

This fin acts as a rudder, this gives the board and its rider directional stability and maneuverability. Additionally, these surfboards are usually around 15 ft in length and are quite big.

Skateboards are narrow, wooden, or plastic platforms mounted on two pairs of wheels. With that, the skater stands and propels himself or herself with a push along the ground with one foot.

The skateboards are mostly concave in shape as this allows the rider(s) to perform tricks. There are two types of skateboards, longboards, and shortboards. Longboards mainly help improve one’s speed while the shortboards are very much your best choice for performing tricks.

Transportation and Balance

Another difference to note is that skateboarding is a mode of transportation while surfing is not. Another difference we should talk about is that of balance.

Both board sports require balance. Some say it is easier to balance on a skateboard vs. a surfboard. This is because surfers perform surfing on the shifty and unstable water surface, in contrast to the stable land. Finally, it is hard to balance on a surfboard than it is on a skateboard.

couple of friends trying to balance on surfboards

Dangers with Surfing vs. Skateboarding

The issue of balance leads us to the next differences. The dangers are inherent within both sports. It is evident how dangerous it is to fall off of a board moving at a fast speed. Also, the dangers posed by the different environments between surfing vs. skateboarding makes a difference.

In surfing, the main danger is drowning. Like all sporting activities in aquatic conditions, they all carry inherent risks of drowning. Anyone at any age can learn to surf, but it’s advisable that they know how to swim. While the board keeps a surfer afloat, it can also separate from them. This leaves the surfer at the mercy of the raging waves.

Another danger is a collision with reefs, sand bars, surfboards, and other surfers. This can lead to cuts, bruises, lacerations, and in some rare cases, death. The cuts and bruises are not really the danger here but rather the possibility of infections. Another danger is attacked by marine life forms such as sharks, jellyfish, and stingrays.

Surfers could also get caught in a riptide and moved out to sea. The riptide currents are strong making swimming back ashore very difficult. There are also dangers to the ears, eyes, and even spinal cord.

Skateboarding Dangers

Small cracks, rocks, or outcroppings along the road can easily throw skateboard riders off their boards. Most skateboarding injuries include cuts, scrapes, bruises, and sprains. Also, these are most common among beginner skaters.

Skateboarders suffer some serious injuries, including broken bones in the arms and legs, and in severe cases, they experience traumatic head injuries and death. When skaters use skating as a form of transportation, they expose themselves to the dangers of traffic as well.

Another difference between the two sports is in their communities. While both communities tend to be closely knit, they vary from each other.

The majority of the skateboarding community tends to be much younger from kids to adolescents, and even people in their late twenties and early thirties. Also, this community is male-dominated. However, the surfing community is quite the opposite as it is much more diverse in terms of gender, age, and race.

Final Take: Surfing vs. Skateboarding

Skateboarding and surfing are both past times that evolve over time and grow from a cult of sorts into an international sporting phenomenon. They both have a rich culture and following. Additionally, they both have inherent dangers unique to them due to their environment.

Nevertheless, skateboarding and surfing provide avenues for all who want a smile on their face. These sports make you feel a sense of achievement with every skill and maneuver that defies the laws of nature itself. Now at Surfing Feed, we support all sports and activities whether that’s on the cement or out in the water. Before you go out to your nearest beach, come check out our surfboard product page so you can pick a board that’s suitable for your skillset, height, and weight.

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