Is Surfing a Sport?

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Sunrise surf at Dominical Though surfing has been practiced for hundreds of years it’s recognition as a sport is still questioned, or unclear. It’s common to find people asking “is surfing a sport?” or “what is surfing?”.

Definition of a Sport

I think first off we must consider the definition of what a sport is. The two most common definitions I found were from

an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature

and from wikipedia:

A sport is an organized, competitive, entertaining, and skillful physical activityrequiring commitment and fair play, in which a winner can be defined by objective means. It is governed by a set of rules or customs

Where Does Surfing Fall?

Under the first definition I would have to agree that surfing is considered a sport. However, when looking at the definition given on Wikipedia I would hesitate to call surfing a sport because in a competitive arena there is no objective way by which to define a winner.

In surfing competitions surfers are scored on a scale of 1 to 10 based on a surfer’s ability to execute the most radical maneuvers with speed, power, and flow in the most critical sections of a wave. This is definitely not an objective scoring system. However, I must say that for the most part, whenever I watch a surf competition the judges do coincide about which surfer surfed the best in a particular heat, so maybe there’s no need for objectivity.

Is It, or Is It Not?

All things considered I don’t think it matters whether surfing is considered a sport or not because surfing can be different things for different people. For some it may be a job, for others it may be a recreational hobby, and for others it may be a way of life. People from all walks of life enjoy gliding across the face of a wave, and the important thing is to continue doing so.

Let’s forget about putting a label to surfing. Instead, leave us a comment telling us what surfing is for you.

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About the author


Adrianne is the fun-and-food-loving socialite of Bodhi Surf + Yoga. If she's not whipping up a feast for Bodhi Surf + Yoga guests, she's probably busy writing for the Bodhi blog or keeping people up-to-date on the goings on via social media!


  1. Rukoo on March 13, 2013 at 12:40 am

    I love to surf but I moved away from water

  2. Adrianne on April 2, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Rukoo, that’s too bad, guess you’ll have to start planning your next surfing vacation 🙂

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