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  • [TED: ideas worth spreading.]

  • Riding a wave is like suddenly gaining speed and gliding at the same time.

  • Like walking on water, like flying.

  • I think it's really about being one with a natural phenomenon.

  • [Small thing, big idea.]

  • [Made possible with the support of FutureLight and The North Face.]

  • The surfboard requires a lot of ergonomic thinking.

  • How do I stand on it?

  • How do I not slip off?

  • But at the same time, it really has to work in that fluid environment.

  • It's really considered for the rider in some areas and for water and physics in others.

  • A surfboard is made out of a core element which tends to be foam, which makes the board float, and the skin of the board is some kind of resin, epoxy, sometimes fiberglass.

  • There often is also a stringer, a wood piece down the middle, which makes it stronger.

  • The rocker is the curvature of the board in the front.

  • That is important because that determines what kind of wave you will be able to take, how steep the wave is.

  • The tail affects performance.

  • Different tails will make the board react differently, so it's a lot about personal preference.

  • Our understanding of surfing comes from when the Tahitians in 1200 AD brought it to Hawaii.

  • So when James Cook arrived around 1780, he was mesmerized by hundreds of people in the water, children, women, men, surfing naked.

  • Calvinist missionaries arrive and they're scandalized by it.

  • It becomes an illegal activity.

  • It becomes counterculture.

  • The father of modern surfing is a Hawaiian named Duke Kahanamoku.

  • He is an extraordinary swimmer, wins gold at the Olympics in 1912.

  • Goes around the world to show his swimming but brings surfboards and demonstrates surfing.

  • Imagine, people had never seen surfing before.

  • Suddenly, some person from a faraway place is standing on water, riding on water.

  • He comes back to Hawaii, and they start to make more boards.

  • Pre-Second World War, you're still looking at big, heavy wood boards.

  • Post-Second World War, new materials and new technologies become available, and those make the board lighter, more accessible, cheaper, but it continues to be a custom object, something that is made specifically for a person or for a certain spot.

  • It's a very symbiotic relationship between surfer and shaper.

  • There's so many different criteria that affect the physics of how that surfboard is moving in water.

  • A longboard is typically used on smaller waves.

  • The riding has a lot of style.

  • You can walk the board, put your toes over it, do a hang ten.

  • A shortboard will be faster.

  • They're harder to ride, they sink under the body.

  • Board design comes at the intersection between those physical factors, and really, how I want to put myself in the water.

  • It's an expression as much as it is a physical activity.

  • The draw may be because water is so elusive.

  • You can't fight it, you can't change it.

  • The best I can do is recognize what it does.

  • The surf may be big and getting bigger and surging while you're in the water.

  • The elements are changing.

  • The wind is coming up.

  • You have to be in symbiosis with the environment.

  • You need to look and feel for everything that's happening around you.

  • And yet, it's so short.

  • 5, 8, 15 seconds.

  • It's fleeting, but you have to go back to it.

[TED: ideas worth spreading.]

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How surfboards connect us to nature | Small Thing Big Idea, a TED series

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    Seraya posted on 2020/05/04
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