Contrary to popular belief, surfing isn’t limited to the ocean. It’s impossible to say which type of surfing is ‘best’ or ‘better’ than other types because there isn’t an answer that applies to every surfer; it comes down to personal preference. If you’re up for adventure and a little risk-taking, try them all and discover which you like best.
Lake surfing requires a large body of water and strong storms to produce large waves. The Great Lakes is a popular place for lake surfing because it often provides ideal conditions in the fall and winter seasons. There are several major differences from ocean surfing, such as reduced board buoyancy, shorter frequency between waves, and rougher conditions due to the storm system being closer to the waves they produce.
River surfing is the art of surfing standing waves or tidal bores. The origin is relatively unknown, but it’s believed that Jack Churchill made the discovery by surfing 1.5 miles down the River Severn in 1955. This claim remains unproven however, since river surfing wasn’t documented until the 1970s.
Standing waves are stationary waves found behind large river rocks. The surfer faces up-stream and catches the wave. They’ll have the feeling of traveling very quickly, but they won’t actually be moving. In some parts of the world, annual competitions are held to find the best stationary wave surfer.
– Tidal Bores
Tidal bores occur in few locations around the world. These waves usually occur in places with large tidal ranges and where incoming tides are funneled into a narrow river through a broad bay. Large bores are dangerous for boats, but provide ample opportunity for river surfing.
This is by far the most popular form of water surfing. Ideal conditions for ocean surfing are a light or moderate offshore wind which create barrel waves. Famous ocean surfing locations include Mavericks California, which is considered a major winter destination for the world’s best big waves surfers.