Surfing or Snowboarding?

December 24, 2016
  • 1. Surfing
  • 2. Snowboarding

Sun-kissed beaches or frosty mountain peaks? Waves or powdery snow? When it comes to the adrenaline-infused world of sports, surfing and snowboarding are two of the most iconic activities to grace the extremes of temperature. But which one would you choose? Let’s dive into a snowy wave (see what we did there?) and compare the two.

The Birth of Boarding

To appreciate the choices, one must understand the origins. Snowboarding, often associated with the rebellious younger sibling of skiing, made its dramatic debut in the 1960s. “It’s not just a sport. It’s a lifestyle, it’s a freedom,” said Jake Burton, founder of Burton Snowboards.

On the other hand, surfing dates back centuries, especially within Polynesian culture. Legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku once said, “Out of the water, I am nothing.” And isn’t that the truth for many surf aficionados?

Surfing: Riding the Ocean Waves

Why would one choose surfing? For starters, nothing beats the sensation of catching a wave, feeling the rhythm of the ocean, and gliding seamlessly across its surface. It’s like dancing on water, with nature leading the waltz.

Here’s why one might choose surfing:

  • Connection with Nature: Oceans cover about 71% of the Earth’s surface. By surfing, you’re literally immersing yourself in the majority of our planet.
  • Fitness Factor: A study from California State University found that surfers burn 400 to 500 calories per hour. That’s one way to stay beach-body ready!
  • Year-Round Fun: While certain places like California enjoy year-round surf, there’s always summer somewhere on the globe. Time to catch waves in Costa Rica or Australia when the U.S. gets chilly.
  • Iconic Locations: From Hawaii’s North Shore to California’s Huntington Beach, the U.S. boasts some of the world’s most iconic surfing destinations.

Snowboarding: Carving the Mountain Peaks

On the flip side, snowboarding offers the thrill of descending mountains with style, carving through fresh snow and feeling on top of the world (literally).

Here’s why someone might slide towards snowboarding:

  • Epic Landscapes: Mountains provide an unparalleled beauty. Whether it’s the Rockies, Sierra Nevadas, or Appalachians, snow-covered peaks are pure magic.
  • Cardio Boost: According to the American College of Sports Medicine, snowboarders can burn up to 600 calories per hour. No wonder they can afford those après-ski snacks!
  • Parks & Tricks: Snowboarding isn’t just about descending; it’s also about style. The U.S. has some world-renowned snow parks, perfect for mastering that next trick.
  • Sense of Community: Shaun White, an Olympic gold medalist, once mentioned the camaraderie in snowboarding. Mountain lodges, après-ski activities, and lift chats make it social and fun.

Fun Facts to Break the Ice (or Wave?)

  • Did you know? The world record for the largest wave ever surfed is a whopping 80 feet. This record was set by Rodrigo Koxa in Nazaré, Portugal.
  • Cool statistic: The National Sporting Goods Association stated that in 2019, roughly 7.5 million Americans said they had been snowboarding in the past year, while about 2.7 million had gone surfing. A chill divide!
  • Quirky Quote: “Surfing’s one of the few sports where you look ahead to see what’s behind.” – LaVern J. Plagge. On the contrary, in snowboarding, you’re often looking down to admire your line on the slope.

Surfing: Riding the Ocean’s Finance Waves

Initial Investment:

  • Surfboard: Beginner boards, often soft-tops, range from $100 to $500. As you advance, you might want a custom board which can run from $500 to $1,000+.
  • Wetsuit: Depending on your location and the water temperature, a wetsuit might be necessary. Prices vary from $50 (for basic spring suits) to $500 (for high-end full suits).
  • Accessories: Leash ($20-$50), surf wax ($1-$5 per bar), and potentially board fins ($20-$100+).

Ongoing Costs:

  • Board Maintenance: Ding repairs can cost from $20 to $100+, depending on the damage.
  • Travel: If you don’t live near a beach, travel costs can add up, especially if considering surf trips to international destinations.
  • Lessons: For beginners, lessons might be beneficial. Group lessons usually cost between $50 to $100 per session.

Snowboarding: Carving Up Your Wallet on Slopes

Initial Investment:

  • Snowboard and Bindings: A beginner setup can be acquird for between $300 and $600. Advanced boards can easily run $600 and up.
  • Boots: Crucial for comfort and performance, snowboard boots range from $100 to $500.
  • Clothing: Quality snow pants ($50-$250), jackets ($50-$500), and under-layers ($20-$100 each) are necessary for the cold conditions.
  • Safety Gear: Helmet ($50-$150) and goggles ($20-$200).

Ongoing Costs:

  • Lift Tickets: Depending on the resort, daily lift tickets can range from $50 to $200+. Season passes are often a good deal for regulars, ranging from $300 to $1,000+.
  • Maintenance: Board waxing ($15-$50 per season) and edge sharpening ($20-$50 per season).
  • Travel: Similar to surfing, if you don’t live near a mountain, travel and accommodation costs can be significant.
  • Lessons: For novices, lessons can cost anywhere from $50 to $150 per session.

The decision becomes even tougher in the U.S., blessed with extensive coastlines and impressive mountain ranges. Whether you prefer the salt in your hair or the snow in your boots, both sports offer a unique blend of adrenaline, beauty, and connection to nature.

The question isn’t about which sport is better, but which one calls out to your spirit the loudest. Perhaps it’s the gentle lull of the ocean waves or the crisp whisper of the mountain winds.

In the end, surfing and snowboarding celebrate our planet’s magnificent extremes. They remind us of the sheer power and beauty of nature, and our humble, thrilling place within it. So, which board will you pick? The choice, dear reader, is all yours!

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