Surfing begins with the surfer eyeing a rideable wave on the horizon and then matching its speed (by paddling or sometimes, in huge waves, by tow-in). When a surfer catches a wave he quickly jumps to his or her feet and proceeds to ride down the face of the wave, generally staying just ahead of the breaking part (white water) of the wave, called « the pocket » or « the curl ».
Surfers’ skills are tested not only in their ability to control their board in challenging conditions and/or catch and ride challenging waves, but also by their ability to execute various maneuvers such as turning and carving. Some of the common turns have become recognizable tricks such as the « cutback » (turning back toward the breaking part of the wave), the « floater » (riding on the top of the breaking curl of the wave), and « off the lip » (banking off the top of the wave). A newer addition to surfing has been the progression of the « air » where a surfer is able to propel oneself off the wave and re-enter.
« Tube riding » is when a surfer maneuvers into a position where the wave curls over the top of him or her, forming a « tube » (or « barrel »), with the rider inside the hollow cylindrical portion of the wave. This difficult and sometimes dangerous procedure is arguably the most coveted and sought after goal in surfing. « Hanging Ten » and
« Hanging Five » are moves usually specific to longboarding. Hanging Ten refers to having both feet on the front end of the board with all ten of the surfer’s toes off the edge. Hanging Five is having just one foot near the front, and five toes off the edge.