Surf culture includes the people, language, fashion and life surrounding the art and sport of surfing. The history of surfing began with the ancient Polynesians. That initial culture directly influenced modern surfing which began to flourish and evolve in the early 20th century, with popularity spiking greatly during the 1950s and 1960s, principally in Hawaii, Australia, and California. It continues to progress and spread throughout the world. It has at times affected popular fashion, music, literature, films, jargon, and more.
The fickle nature of weather and the ocean, plus the great desire for the best possible types of waves for surfing, make surfers dependent on weather conditions that may change rapidly. Surfer Magazine, founded in the 1960s when surfing had gained popularity with teenagers, used to say that if they were hard at work and someone yelled "Surf's up!" the office would suddenly be empty. Also, since surfing has a restricted geographical necessity (i.e. the coast), the culture of beach life often influenced surfers and vice versa. Localism or territorialism is a part of the development of surf culture in which individuals or groups of surfers designate certain key surfing spots as their own.
Aspects of 1960s surf culture in Southern California, where it was first popularized, include the woodie, bikinis and other beach wear, such as boardshorts or baggies, and surf music. Surfers developed the skateboard to be able to "surf" on land; and a number of other boardsports. Of these the most popular being snowboarding and skateboarding, in addition to other spin-offs that have grown out of the sport ever since.
Surfing is a surface water sport in which the wave rider, referred to as a "surfer", rides on the forward face of a wave, which is most often carrying the surfer towards shore. Waves suitable for surfing are primarily found in the ocean, but can also be found in lakes or in rivers in the form of a standing wave or tidal bore. However, modern-day surfing can also be done in man-made sources such as wave pools and boat wakes.
The term "surfing" refers to the act of riding a wave and not the form (with or without a board) in which the wave is ridden. For instance, the native peoples of the Pacific surfed waves on alaia, paipo, and other such crafts on their belly, knees, and feet. Not to mention, Bodysurfing, the act of surfing a wave without a board, is considered by some to be the purest form of surfing. That much said, the more modern day definition of surfing tends to refer to when a surfer rides a wave standing up on a surfboard, which is referred to as stand-up surfing or paddleboarding. Although, another prominent form of surfing in the ocean today includes bodyboarding, which refers to when a surfer rides a wave either on the belly, dropknee, or stand-up on a bodyboard. Not to mention, knee boarding, surfmatting (riding inflatable mats), foils, bodysurfing, and so forth.
Three major subdivisions within sitting-up surfing are longboarding, shortboarding, and stand up paddle surfing (SUP), reflecting differences in board design, including surfboard length, riding style, and the kind of wave that is ridden. In tow-in surfing (most often, but not exclusively, associated with big wave surfing), a motorized water vehicle, such as a personal watercraft, tows the surfer into the wave front, helping the surfer match a large wave's higher speed, which is generally a higher speed than a self-propelled surfer can obtain. Surfing-related sports such as paddleboarding and sea kayaking do not require waves, and other derivative sports such as kitesurfing and windsurfing rely primarily on wind for power, yet all of these platforms may also be used to ride waves. Recently with the use of V-drive boats, wakesurfing, in which one surfs on the wake of a boat, has emerged. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized a 78 feet (23.8 m) wave ride by Garrett McNamara at Nazaré, Portugal as the largest wave ever surfed.