Surfing is the term is used for a surface water sport in which the person surfing moves along the face of a breaking ocean wave (the "surf"). However, surfing is not restricted to saltwater, but can sometimes take place on rivers, using a standing wave. The main use of the word "surfing" is for riding waves using a board on which the surfer stands. Other forms include bodyboarding, in which the individual riding the wave only partly raises his upper body from the board surface, and from bodysurfing, where no board at all is used.
Two major subdivisions within contemporary stand-up surfing are longboarding and shortboarding, reflecting differences in surfboard design and riding style.
Depending on wave size, direction, and on wind conditions, sailboats can also surf on larger waves on open sailing waters. Unlike "surfers", sailors usually do not surf in beach waves, and they usually do not go out in order to surf; instead, the wave and wind conditions may allow them to boat surf during a sailing trip. More recently, the same principle of craft-based surfing has been increasingly used by kayakers, notably in the sport of playboating, which is mostly carried out on rivers (see playspot).