# Speed Measurement

I thought this was interesting: http://www.zigzag.co.za/features/exclusives/6116/How-Fast-Can-You-Go?&nbsp;

Average speed of 62 km/h, and top speed of 83 km/h, surfing at J-Bay.  Much faster than I would have thought.

Tim

Wow!!!

I predict a Roy sighting on this thread before it ends.

You said his name!! You said his name!!

Bannage!

; ()

I am suspicious of these results.  83 kmph is 51 mph.  Hitting the water at that speed has significant consequences that aren’t typical of what surfers experience when wiping out on 5’ waves.

The article says…

"How does it work though? The waves are moving and there are other forces at play. “This recorded speed is including wave speed,” said Jacobs. "

This is one of the many problems in measuring the speed of a surfer and board.  This one is like standing on the deck of a moving ship reading 20 mph water speed, going down a river flowing at 10 mph and then a person (surfer) running from stern to bow at 10 mph.  Is one running at 40 mph?  Or 10 mph?  What if you zigzag port to starboard along the way?  What if the ship does? Your still running 10 mph, but distance covered is way greater.  Even the surfers vertical path is zigzagy.

51 mph??  Deduct wave speed of 10 - 20 mph? from the calculation and maybe max speeds around 30 mph might be more realistic.

This is only one of the many difficulties in accurately measuring a surfers speed.  A lot needs to be considered before touting extreme speeds.  Though they do make great press releases, helpful in selling products.  Certain base standards of measurement need to be established such that fair comparisons (and statements) can be made.

Is it the speed over land that matters?  Or water speed over the hull, that matters.  Or distance traveled in a certain amount of time?  A surfers path is often zigzagy, is it point to point removing the zigzags?  What if speed through the air is used to measure the surfers speed?  How fast does an offshore wind move up the face of a wave?  What about if it is onshore?  What if the current is running down the point?  Or up the point?  If water speed is used, is the pressure and accelerated release of water under the board in a bottom turn a true measure of the surfers max speed?

Lots to consider…

My question is basically "who gives a f**k about speed? Aren’t you trying to stay with the wave? I came to surfing from a windsurfing background where speed was a big consideration, but on a surfboard? Are you looking to outrun the wave? Is JBay typical of most of our home breaks? This doesn’t hold a lot of interest for me.