Surfing begins when the surfer finds a ridable wave on the horizon and then attempts to match its speed (by paddling or sometimes, by tow-in). Once the wave starts to carry the surfer forward, the surfer stands up and proceeds to ride down the face of the wave, generally staying just ahead of the breaking part (white water) of the wave (in a place often referred to as the pocket or the curl). A common problem for beginners is being unable to catch the wave in the first place, and one sign of a good surfer is the ability to catch a difficult wave that other surfers cannot.
Surfers’ skills are tested not only in their ability to control their board in challenging conditions and/or catch and ride challenging waves, but by their ability to execute maneuvers such as turning and carving. Some of the common turns have become recognizable tricks such as the cutback (turning back toward the breaking part of the wave), the floater (riding on the top of the breaking curl of the wave), and off the lip (banking off the top of the wave). A newer addition to surfing is the progression of the air where a surfer propels themselves off the wave and re-enters. Some of these maneuvers are executed to extreme degrees, as with off-the-lips where a surfer over-rotates his turn and re-enters backward, or airs done in the same fashion, recovering either with re-rotation or continuing the over-rotation to come out with his nose forward again.
When tube riding, the surfer maneuvers into a position where the wave curls over the top of him or her, forming a tube (or barrel), with the rider inside the hollow portion of the wave. This difficult and sometimes dangerous procedure is arguably the most coveted and sought-after goal in surfing.
Hanging Ten and Hanging Five are moves usually specific to longboarding. Hanging Ten refers to having both feet on the front end of the board with all of the surfer’s toes off the edge, also known as noseriding. Hanging Five is having just one foot near the front, toes off the edge. Hanging Ten was first made famous by James (Rip) Carman from the early Californian surfing beaches.