Dude, the surf’s up in Wonderopolis! Ready to catch some totally gnarly waves? Rock on! Grab your longboard and let’s hit the water.

Have you ever tried to surf some big waves in the ocean on a real surfboard? It’s not as easy as it looks. In fact, learning to surf can be one of the most difficult sports to grasp.

Not only do you have to be a good swimmer and know a lot about the ocean and how waves work, you also have to be physically fit, have good balance and be able to maneuver along a constantly-shifting wall of water as it hurls you toward the shoreline. If you’re up to the challenge, though, learning to surf can be extremely rewarding, as it provides thrills and a view that’s hard to beat in any sport.

If you’ve ever been around surfers for very long, you’ve probably heard the phrase “hang ten” thrown about. Hanging ten is one of the most difficult surfing stunts you can ever learn to do. If you can hang ten on a longboard, your friends will be impressed and you could be well on your way to becoming a surfing icon!

To hang ten, you have to perfectly balance your surfboard — usually a heavy longboard — so that the back of the board is covered by the wave. Doing so allows the rider to walk all the way to the front of the board and hang all ten toes over the front of the board. That’s where the “hang ten” comes from!

Of course, if you successfully complete the hang ten move, you are then obligated to give your fellow surfers the hang ten hand gesture. To do so, raise your fist and extend your thumb and pinkie finger, keeping your other fingers curled. Some surfers will also wiggle their hand back and forth and utter profound words of wisdom, such as “Dude!” and “Righteous wave, man!”

The hang ten move has become so famous — and the hand gesture so popular — that you’ll find many surfers referring to the move and giving the hand gesture far away from the water. Many surfers give each other the hang ten hand gesture as an informal greeting whenever they see each other. It’s like the surfer’s secret handshake!

22 Join the Discussion

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    • HOORAY, Mteam132! We are so excited that you enjoyed today’s WONDERful surfing Wonder– and we really enjoy your prediction for tomorrow! Have a SUPER day! :)

    • You’re right, Emma– what a SUPER connection to two of our Wonders! Great work, Emma! Thanks for sharing your comment! :)

    • Hey there, Kate, we hope you’ll be able to try surfing sometime in the future! Who knows, you could be great! Hang ten, Wonder Friend! :)

    • Hey there, Kylie, we are so excited that you learned something new today! We hope you can go surfing in the future and maybe you can hang ten! :)

  1. I think surfing is cool and we should try it out and it was nice to learn new thinks about surfing and I think tomorrow’s wonder is about hanging something.

    • Hi Wonder Friend Kaleasha, we are so excited to Wonder with you today! We hope you do try surfing soon– what a wild ride! We love your prediction for tomorrow’s Wonder, too! :)

    • WOOHOO, what a fantastic prediction, Oreo123! We look forward to finding out what the next Wonder will be, too! Have a Super Saturday! :)

  2. LOL! Funny wonder. I have never been surfing, but when I go to Hawaii I go boogie boarding! I am pretty good at balancing, so I wonder if i could hang 10! :)

    • We think you’d do a SUPER job of “hanging ten”, Wonder Friend ACT! We hope you have a SUPER time on your adventure to Hawaii! Aloha to you! :)

  3. Hi wonderopolis
    I liked the video. I like this website. Have you ever seen Duck dynasty? Do you like fish? Do you have a pet? What is your name.
    I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about castles.

    • Hey there, Matty 1! We’re so very excited that you’re here today! We are so impressed with your super questions, too! What a great imagination you have, Wonder Friend!

      Some of us here at Wonderopolis have seen the TV show Duck Dynasty, and others really enjoy fishing! We have lots of Wonder Friends here at Wonderopolis… with so many different interests! Check out our under-the-sea Wonder #789: Can You Ride a Seahorse? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/can-you-ride-a-seahorse/ :)

      Thanks for sharing your comment and prediction, Matty 1! See you soon! :)

    • We’re sorry to hear that this Wonder video isn’t one of your favorites, but we’re glad you visited us today, Jenna! We Wonder if you have ever tried surfing before? :)

    • We Wonder if you can “hang ten”, Wonder Friend Steph? We hope you can try to surf sometime soon! Thanks for sharing your SUPER comment today! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What does it mean to hang ten, dude?
  • What is the hang ten hand gesture?
  • What other interesting lingo do you use regularly?

Wonder Gallery

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Try It Out

Surf’s up! Grab a friend or family member — and a surfboard, if you have one! — and try out one or more of the following fun activities:

  • What better way to learn about hanging ten than to give it a try! Of course, not all of our Wonder Friends live close enough to a large body of water that would allow them to surf. But some do! If you live near an ocean or a body of water large enough to surf in, then go give it a try! Borrow a surfboard from a friend or rent one from a local surf shop. Hit the water and catch a few waves. Bonus points if you can actually hang ten! Don’t worry, though. That special trick usually only comes after a lot of practice!
  • Even if you don’t surf, you might use some surf lingo from time to time. Have you ever stopped to WONDER about some of the other common phrases you use often? Grab a friend or family member and take some time today to think about the words you use. What quirky or unusual phrases do you use on a regular basis? Think about the sports you play and the hobbies you enjoy. Are there any phrases you use regularly that come from those activities? Are there any words or phrases that you’re not sure where they came from? If so, look them up in an online etymology dictionary. You might be surprised where your favorite phrases originated!

Up for a challenge? Check out The Science of Surfing to learn more about the physics of turns, buoyancy, gravity, balance, and net force. There’s also a lot of science behind the weather that creates those monster waves. Learn more about those aspects of science when you visit NASA’s Science of Surfing website.

Still Wondering

In National Geographic Xpeditions’ Finding Monster Waves lesson, children learn about the varying sizes of ocean waves, what causes the variation, and where to find giant waves. They learn the parts of a wave and discuss wave height, wavelength, and wave period. They also experiment with creating waves on the National Geographic Wave Simulator and discuss how geography affects waves.

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Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day takes a look at the homes of kings and queens!

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