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!