Surfing seems easy when you watch surfers from the shore, but it is one of the most difficult sports to learn. It takes a lot of persistence and practice! However, it is a really fun sport to practice as of the first day doing it.
Surfing begins with the surfer eyeing a rideable wave on the horizon and then starting paddling in order to match its speed. As soon as the wave has started to carry the surfer forward, the surfer jumps to his/her feet and rides down the face of the wave, staying just ahead of the breaking part (white water) of the wave.
Many factors determine the quality of waves, like wind conditions, swell directions, ocean tides, and the topography of the seabed directly behind and immediately beneath the breaking wave. In order to know a surf break, one must be sensitive to all of these factors. Each break is different, since the underwater topography of one place is unlike any other. At beach breaks, even the sandbanks change shape from week to week. Also weather conditions change daily. So it takes commitment to get good waves. That is why surfers experience surfing more as a lifestyle than a sport.
There are many different surfboard sizes, shapes, and designs in use today. In general you can divide experienced surfers in two groups, longboarders and shortboarders. Longboards (generally 9 to 10 feet in length) provide more flotation and in order to maneuver a longboard, you have to walk up and down the board. A longboard is often used by surfers that like to surf in a relax way. Shortboards (generally 6 to 7 feet in length) are easier to turn, therefore this board is used by the type of surfers that like to make extreme moves and tricks on the wave. Midsize boards, often called funboards , provide more maneuverability than a longboard, with more floatation than a shortboard, mostly used by less experienced surfers.
If you want to learn surfing you should take a few days course with an official surf school. They will teach you all about safety, paddle techniques and how to jump on the board. Nowadays there is a surf school present in almost all countries where you will find waves. After a few lessons you can start practicing surf by yourself. Enjoy the ride!