Archive for the ‘Everything Surfing Related’ Category

Four Surfer’s Ear Fallacies Blown Out Of The Water

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

Surfer’s ear is a common cause of hearing loss in younger people. It is caused by the cooling of the outer ear and the bone behind it by sea water and wind. Here we will blow four surfer’s ear fallacies out of the water.

1) Alcohol and vinegar mix prevent surfers ear. Many surfers think that a mixture of alcohol and vinegar will protect them against surfer’s ear if they put it in their ears after being in the sea. This is not true. Some people believe that the vinegar dissolves the bony lumps but the overlying skin means that the vinegar does not reach the bone. The mixture is good at preventing swimmer’s ear; infection of the outer ear. Both these agents are effective at killing fungi and alcohol is also good at killing bacteria.

2) A surfer’s ear operation stops the condition coming back. Having your ear canal chiselled or drilled to treat surfer’s ear does not stop it coming back. A significant number of people have the operation more than once. The only way to prevent the condition is to wear ear plugs and a cap whenever you go in the sea.

3) Ear plugs are enough to prevent surfer’s ear. Recent research by ZenPlugs showed that most surfers believed that wearing ear plugs was enough to prevent surfer’s ear. Most were not aware that a cap is also required to keep the condition at bay. This is because the cooling effect of the water and wind also acts on the bone behind the ear.

4) Surfing in summer and tropical waters does not cause surfer’s ear. It seems logical that if surfer’s ear is caused by cold wind and water then surfing in the summer or in tropical waters will not cause the condition. This is not the case. A surfing cap and ear plugs both need to be worn in all conditions because wind chill and evaporation of water from the here and the bone behind it can both cool the area below air temperature.

Summary. The only way to prevent surfer’s ear is to wear a cap and ear plugs. Wear them all year round and in all climates to give yourself full protection.

New Research Explains Why Some Surfers Are 17 Times More Likely To Go Deaf

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

If you are a regular surfer it is likely that you have heard of surfer’s ear. It is a condition affecting surfers, sea swimmers and anyone who spends time in the sea without taking precautions.

The cooling effect of the wind and sea water on the outer part of the ear and the bone behind it leads to small bony lumps forming. They gradually grow around the opening to the ear. This leads to progressive deafness and an increased risk of ear infections.

ZenPlugs wanted to find out how much people knew about prevention. In addition they wanted to know how much effect taking precautions makes to the risk of the condition.

They conducted a survey which was completed by 203 people. They found that most people knew that they needed to wear ear plugs only a small minority were aware that they needed to wear a surfing cap as well. The reason for the cap is that it keeps the mastoid bone warm; this is the bony lump behind the ear. It contains air cells which connect to the middle ear space and so cooling here can also lead to surfer’s ear.

The survey found that without any precautions people were developing surfer’s ear after 8 or 10 years of surfing. The more they wore both hat and plugs the longer they went without surfer’s ear. If they wore them for at least 90% of the time they all remained free of the condition at the time of the survey, reducing their risk of surfer’s ear by 17 times. For some people this was after surfing regularly for more than 23 years.

The surfers in the survey had spent an average of 2880 hours in the water. This was from an average of 2 hours per surf, 8 surfs a month and 15 years of surfing. As you can see, they were a keen group of surfers.

Summary. Wearing a surfing cap and surfing ear plugs more than 90% of the time you are in the water reduces your risk of developing surfer’s ear by 17 times.

Surfing Beginner’s Guide: Bottom Turn

Friday, April 27th, 2012

So you’re learning to surf and things are going well? We’re stoked for you! If you have a specific goal to reach, or if you just want to see what’s possible there are several building block maneuvers that almost every surfer uses. These are the foundations for aerials, nose-rides, power carves and everything in between. In the following posts I’ll break down the maneuvers with definitions and a few tips. For experienced surfers honing these skills will keep your surfing sharp and allow you to progress as well!

Before these tips become useful you will want to have a good grasp on take-offs, and riding the white-wash straight into shore. It is crucial that you are able to be fully standing before you reach the flat water infront of the sloping wave-face. Look for slow-rolling waves to start.

Bottom Turns

Image from

A bottom turn is a change of direction performed at the bottom/ trough of a wave (as opposed to the face or top of a wave). The function of the bottom turn is to set up for a “ride down the line.” To ride down the line means to ride a wave parallel to to the shore line (technically you’ll be moving towards the shore at an angle. Check out almost any surf video and this is what you’ll see surfers doing!

Advanced surfers will use the bottom turn as a platform for top turns or other maneuvers. This makes bottom turns one of the most important surfing skills, even for pros!

Bottom turns can be done frontside (toes to the wave) or backside (heels to the wave). Follow these steps to get started:

1. Take off with the nose of your board pointed to the beach

2. From take off, ride down the face of the wave (still pointed towards the beach)

3. Point your leading hand towards the unbroken face of the wave. Let your upper body follow the line of your hand and arm.

4. As your upper body opens to the direction you’d like to go, simultaneously weigh your toes(frontside) or heels (backside)

5. As your board and body move up towards the face of the wave unweight your turn and set a path down the line of the wave

Bottom-Turn Tips:

-Steps 1-5 happen in a very short succession. Imagine linking them into one fluid movement and you’ll become one with the wave (or something like that).

-Don’t jam into turns. As you learn to weigh your toes or heels into a turn proceed gently. It doesn’t take a whole-lotta force to turn a surfboard. There will come a time to throw your weight when you become a full fledged power surfer.

-If you find that your body is moving and your surfboard is staying-put (this always ends with a splash) remember to keep your body centered over your board. It’s easy to get excited and leave your board behind.

Remember the bottom turn is the first thing you’ll be doing once you take off. It sets up the entire ride!

In the next beginner’s guide we will tackle top-turns and more.

If you’ve got any tips or great examples of bottom turns let us know on Facebook!

How to Hang | Intermediate Longboard Skills

Friday, April 13th, 2012

I recently came across this video of Joel Tudor explaining to Robert “Wingnut” Weaver his approach to Nose-Riding, Cross-Stepping and Drop-Knee Turns. I decided to break down some of the skills discussed in the vid for those who aren’t familiar with them. You’ll also find some of Tudor’s talking points! Like the narrator Robert “WIngnut” Weaver (a legend in his own right) mentions, Joel Tudor makes the art of long boarding look easy. Who better glean a few tips from?

  • If you consider yourself to be of an “intermediate” level of longboard surfing chances are these are some maneuvers you’re working on. If you consider yourself to be an “advanced” long boarder then take some tips from a pro!

Kassia Meador

Kassia Meador cross-step guru.

What is cross stepping? Trim is the optimal state of glide on a board, usually this means the board is perfectly flat on the wave and moving it’s fastest. If you’ve learned to trim a longboard then you know that it requires some footwork. Shuffle-stepping is a very functional way to get around, but lets face it, it doesn’t look so hot. Cross stepping is the smoothest way to move around  a board. Cross stepping can put you in position to turn, set your board in trim, or allow you to hang.

  • Joel’s Tip: The speed of your step should reflect the speed of the wave. If its a short beach break wave you’re riding, you will get the most out of your ride by making quicker larger steps. If you’re cruising a point-break or slow reef you have time to make smaller calculated steps.

Joel Tudor Noseriding

What is Nose Riding? Ever heard “hang ten” or “hang five” ? Sure you have! Hanging is a fun trick that involves cross-stepping to the front of your board and placing the toes of one or both feet over the nose. Skilled nose-riders can maintain their perch for a short time and then retrace their steps back to continue maneuvering the board. Intermediate riders should focus on learning when to nose ride and how place their board in the pocket of the wave so they don’t nose-dive!

  • Joel’s Tip: When hanging five-frontside both feet will be on the toe-side of your your board. The opposite is true hanging backside. On the nose move your back foot forward as a wave slows, and move it back as the wave speeds up. This will help you get a longer and more controlled nose ride!

Robert Wingnut Weaver -Acrylic on Wood by Hannah Vokey

Check out this awesome painting of Wingnut doing a drop-knee turn. Click on the image to see the artist’s homepage.

Drop-Knee Turns are a turn which can be done as a bottom turn or as a cutback. They involve extending your back foot and turning your back knee downward to apply pressure to the inside rail. The wider stance of this turn requires both knees to be bent more than usual.

  • Joel’s Tip: When turning position your back foot over the top of the fin-box at the front edge of the fin.

Who’s your favorite longboard style maestro?

Are headstands the ultimate performance maneuver?

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Did you know that Nice Rack Heavy Duty Surfboard Racks are the best for storing your longboard on your wall or ceiling?