Each onslaught requires moving fast and making the appropriate decisions during the process; the challenge is to stay on the board as long as possible, being careful not to be dragged by the wave.

An important factor to take into account is the size and shape of the waves. That is why there are waves far away from the shore and waves near it. The latter tends to be more dangerous since, if you are not careful, it can drag you to the shore or, in the worst case scenario, to the bottom of the sea. The last one is not a minor detail: the wave varies according to the type of bottom where it breaks; this can be a sand, rock or choral bottom. Surfing on choral bottoms is not advisable, mainly if you are just beginning. Other types of danger are usually the waves breaking suddenly and not progressively; these are called “bars” and it is impossible to take them.


The wave size measurements have been set up according to the place where we are. For example in Canaries, they are measured from behind; in Spain, however, it is done from the front part, from the sea level to the highest point of the crest. A usual way of measuring it is comparing the wave to the human body. In this way, we can sort them out in three groups:

“Small” waves (Shoulder wave): They are usually used to slide towards other surfaces and not to actually surf; the surfer tends to swim lying on the board searching for bigger waves.

“Middle” waves (Waist wave). An ideal wave to learn to surf and the easiest one to find. However, they are usually deceptive.

“Big” waves (a man and a half wave). They are both the most coveted and the most dangerous ones. Learning to surf on them is a great achievement.

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