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Skurfing is a towed water sport similar to waterskiing, in that an individual is pulled behind a boat on a tow rope. However, instead of water skis, the sport uses a skurfboard which is a floating platform the user balances on, similar to a surfboard, but typically much shorter, with two foot-straps that prevent falling off the board and three fins positioned on the bottom that make it easier to maneuver when the board is being towed. The word itself is a portmanteau of skiing and surfing. Skurfing is often considered the precursor to wakeboarding.
Skurfing was inspired by an unknown man being pulled by a boat on a surfboard in Lake Havasu, Arizona. The boat was being towed behind a motorboat at planing speed with a tow rope similar to that of knee boarding and wakeboarding. The planing speed of the motorboat was equivalent to the speed generated by a wave and allowed the skurfer to ride behind the boat the same way a surfer would ride a wave. One of the advantages of skurfing, when compared with surfing, is that when the water is flat, skurfing is still possible.
In 1985, California surfer Tony Finn invented the "Skurfer", a shorter, more narrow version of a surfboard with foot straps.
Although the "Skurfer" was originally trademarked by Tony Finn, the word skurfing was potentially first coined in New Zealand by surfboard shaper Allan Byrne. Byrne lent a surfboard to a man named Jeff Darby, in Queensland Australia who then started to make his own, and later came in contact with Finn, who would later produce the brand 'Skurfer' under royalty.
Prior to Tony Finn and the 'Skurfer', Australian surfboard shaper and inventor Bruce McKee, along with associate Mitchell Ross launched the world's first mass-produced plastic roto-molded construction skurfboard. Its original name was the "Mcski", later renamed "SSS" skiboard, or 'Wake-snake' in Australia. The board had adjustable rubber foot straps, a concave tunnel bottom, and a keel fin. Two smaller side fins were later added for greater hold and more maneuverability.
The launch of the product's American version being named the 'Surf-Ski' was in 1984 at Chicago's 'IMTEC' show. At the show, McKee also met Tony Finn who was the proposed Californian representative. Tony Finn went on to do his own negotiations with Darby, and the result were the US boards later launched under the 'Skurfer' brand name.
Skurfing has developed into its own unique sport but has also been used in adapting other sports such as surfing. Before skurfing was invented there were limitations to paddling onto larger waves when surfing because surfers lacked the speed needed to stay in front of the wave. Skurfing has shown the world the potential of big wave surfing by towing the surfer towards big waves. Therefore, giving the surfer the speed needed to catch the wave successfully.
The first Skurfer championships were televised on ESPN in 1990.
Surfing is highly popular in the state of Western Australia and in many other places in the world. Unlike most other water sports where the participant is towed, skurfing is not a professional sport and has no official competitions. It is a freestyle sport with highly individualistic style and form. There are no defined styles or conventions, rather it is about personal style.
There are two main styles of water skurfing: noseriding – mostly used by people who surf on a longboard – or using cutbacks, carves, and other turns.
The maneuvers on a skurfboard are similar to those on a surfboard. These maneuvers include:
Freeriding is when the wake is surfed without the rope. First, the rider pulls themselves up the rope so that they are skurfing in the largest part of the wake. The rider then gently pumps the board to maintain speed and moves their weight further forward to help them stay on the wake wave. Once they are being propelled by the wake the rope is thrown back into the boat.
The latest style of skurfing is riding with the fins removed from the bottom of the board. This finless style requires more balance and finesse than having the fins attached. Not having fins limits cutbacks and carving, but allows the rider to spin the board around in a 360-degree rotation.
Surfing is a surface water sport in which an individual, a surfer, uses a board to ride on the forward section, or face, of a moving wave of water, which usually carries the surfer towards the shore. Waves suitable for surfing are primarily found on ocean shores, but can also be found in standing waves in the open ocean, in lakes, in rivers in the form of a tidal bore, or in wave pools.
Wakeboarding is a water sport in which the rider, standing on a wakeboard, is towed behind a motorboat across its wake and especially up off the crest in order to perform aerial maneuvers. A hallmark of wakeboarding is the attempted performance of midair tricks. Wakeboarding was developed from a combination of water skiing, snowboarding and surfing techniques.
Boardsports are sports that are played with some sort of board as the primary equipment. These sports take place on a variety of terrain, from paved flat-ground and snow-covered hills to water and air. Most boardsports are considered action sports or extreme sports, and thus often appeal to youth. A large proportion of youth partaking in these sports, together with aesthetic damage to property from sports like skateboarding, has led to many board sports being marginalized by the greater world of sports in the past. However, many board sports are ever-more frequently gaining mainstream recognition, and with this recognition have enjoyed wider broadcast, sponsorship and inclusion in institutional sporting events, including the Olympic Games.
A surfboard is a narrow plank used in surfing. Surfboards are relatively light, but are strong enough to support an individual standing on them while riding an ocean wave. They were invented in ancient Hawaii, where they were known as papa he'e nalu in the Hawaiian language, they were usually made of wood from local trees, such as koa, and were often over 460 cm (15 ft) in length and extremely heavy. Major advances over the years include the addition of one or more fins (skegs) on the bottom rear of the board to improve directional stability, and numerous improvements in materials and shape.
Kiteboarding or kitesurfing is an extreme sport where the kiter uses the wind power with a large power kite to be pulled on a water, land or snow surface. It combines aspects of paragliding, surfing, windsurfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and wakeboarding. Kiteboarding is among the less expensive and the more convenient of the sailing sports.
Windsurfing is a surface water sport that is a combination of surfing and sailing. It is also referred to as "sailboarding" and "boardsailing", and emerged in the late 1960s from the surf culture of California. Windsurfing had gained a following across North America by the late 1970s and had achieved significant global popularity by the 1980s.
Kneeboarding is an aquatic sport where the participant is towed on a buoyant, convex, and hydrodynamically shaped board at a planing speed, most often behind a motorboat. Kneeboarding on a surf style board with fin(s) is also done in waves at the beach. In the usual configuration of a tow-sport kneeboard, riders kneel on their heels on the board, and secure themselves to the deck with an adjustable Velcro strap over their thighs. Most water ski kneeboards do not have fins to allow for easier surface spins. As in wakeboarding or water skiing, the rider hangs onto a tow-rope. The advantages of kneeboarding versus other tow-sports seems to be an easier learning curve and a sense of being closer to the water when falls occur.
Laird John Hamilton is an American big-wave surfer, co-inventor of tow-in surfing, and an occasional fashion and action-sports model and actor. He is married to Gabrielle Reece, a professional volleyball player, television personality, and model.
A foilboard or hydrofoil board is a surfboard with a hydrofoil that extends below the board into the water. This design causes the board to leave the surface of the water at various speeds.
George Hamilton Perkins Greenough is an influential surfer known during the 1960s and 1970s for his designs and work in film, board design, fin characteristics, and other creations for the aquatic medium. Greenough's and McTavish's contributions to developing the shortboards resulted in a wave of new advancements in surfing technology and shapes used to design boards.
Waveskis also previously known as "Paddle Ski" are a type of surfboard that allows the rider to 'sit’ on top of the surfboard. Waveski surfing is a dynamic sport combining paddle power with the manoeuvrability and performance of a surfboard. A Waveski resembles a larger volume surfboard, with the addition of a seat, fins, foot straps, and seat belt, enabling the rider to 'eskimo roll' if overturned. The waveski rider or waveski surfer uses a double ended paddle for paddling motion while seated in the waveski. To turn the rider uses his weight to lean on the side rails and paddle to pivot or propel the board up the wave.
Artificial waves are human-made waves usually created on a specially designed surface or in a pool.
Wakesurfing is a water sport in which a rider trails behind a boat, riding the boat's wake without being directly pulled by the boat. After getting up on the wake, typically by use of a tow rope, the wakesurfers will drop the rope, and ride the steep face below the wave's peak in a fashion reminiscent of surfing. Wakesurfers generally use special boards, designed specifically for wakes.
Wakeboard boats also known as wakeboats, surfboats or tow boats are designed to create a large, specially shaped wake, for a wakeboarder to jump the wakes from side to side doing aerial tricks. They developed from the Runabout type.
Liquid Force is a manufacturer of wakeboard and kiteboarding related products, gear, and clothing, based in the United States. The company also has a wakeskating and wakesurfing division besides the wakeboarding and kiteboarding focus. Liquid Force now counts as one of the leading manufacturers in the wakeboard related products and clothing market. Besides manufacturing wakeboard related products and clothing, the company sponsors numerous events and athletes to promote the sport. Liquid Force was founded in 1995 by Tony Finn and Jimmy Redmon, both pioneers in the sport of wakeboarding. Its headquarters are located in Encinitas, California.
Centurion Boats, owned by Fineline Industries, is a manufacturer specializing in the production of water sports boats, primarily tow boats for wakesurfing and wakeboarding. It was founded by current owner Rick Lee. Its headquarters and manufacturing operations are in Merced, California.
Aquaplaning is a surface water sport which involves riding a board (aquaplane) over the surface of a body of water towed behind a motorboat.
Horse surfing is an extreme sport invented in 2005. It requires two people, a horse, and a board. Horse surfing involves one person riding either a kite-board, surfboard, wake-board, or skim-board, while being towed behind a horse, ridden by a second person, through shallow water, at speeds up to 40 miles per hour (64 km/h). After originating in England the first official horse surfing competition was held in 2006 in La Baule, France, and over the last 14 years the sport has continued to spread internationally. Today there are several international competitions with globally established rules and categories.