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Spring Break Surfing


isaacgagarinas

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This spring break I'm getting to flying down to Florida to visit my friend Aaron! Aaron is a big surfer so while I'm down there I'm going to get to learn to surf along with him. With break now approaching, i figured it would be a good opportunity to look into a little bit of the physics of surfing! First there is a lot of basic application such as the fact that the force that the board exerts on the water, is exactly equal to the force the water exerts onto the board. However as a researched more I found there is more complexity to it than I had realized. One major principle that plays in buoyancy. Buoyancy is the ability to float which is due to the density of the board. Another reason that board is able to so easily glide across the water is due to the surface tension. If you've ever gone skiing or tubing, you may recall that when you fall off the water is seemingly hard. Well the reason for this, is because the molecules that make up water are attracted to each other, therefore their bonds are very strong at the surface. Finally, some of the basic forces play into surfing. Gravity is what keeps the surfer on the water and it pulls it down, just as the normal force, equal in strength pushes back up from the water. Then there is also the frictional force from the water between it and the board. However this is attempted to be kept at a minimum, which is why surfers wax their board to create a very smooth surface, decreasing the amount of friction. Obviously there is a lot of physics involved in surfing and I can't wait to give it a try next week!

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