Surfing is a surface water pastime in which the wave rider, referred to as a surfer, rides on the forward part, or face, of a moving wave, which usually carries the surfer towards the shore. Waves suitable for surfing are primarily found in the ocean, but can also be found in lakes or rivers in the form of a standing wave or tidal bore. However, surfers can also utilize artificial waves such as those from boat wakes and the waves created in artificial wave pools.
There are several types of boards. The modern-day definition of surfing, however, most often refers to a surfer riding a wave standing on a surfboard. This is also referred to as stand-up surfing. Another prominent form of surfing is body boarding, when a surfer rides the wave on a bodyboard, either lying on their belly, drop knee (one foot and one knee on the board), or sometimes even standing up on a body board. Other types of surfing include knee boarding and surf matting (riding inflatable mats). Body surfing, where the wave is surfed without a board, using the surfer's own body to catch and ride the wave, is very common and is considered by some to be the purest form of surfing. The closest form of body surfing using a board is a handboard which normally has one strap over it to fit one hand in.
Three major subdivisions within stand-up surfing are stand-up paddling, long boarding and short boarding with several major differences including the board design and length, the riding style, and the kind of wave that is ridden.