How Dangerous is Surfing? 10 Danger Facts You Should Be Aware of

Surfing has a long living history in the relationship between humans and the oceans. Just like other outdoor sports, it is not totally risk-free.

Even if you have mastered this art, you should look for precautions. Nowadays one of the commonly asked questions is – How dangerous is surfing?

Well, the answers vary from situation to situation. Here we will go into some of the biggest threats in this adventurous journey. So, continue reading the article till the end.

Is Surfing Dangerous?

Yes, there are several reasons why surfing is considered a dangerous sport. Even if you are an expert surfing can be dangerous for you in many ways.

According to different studies, every year around 10 people die while surfing. So, it is not quite understandable that surfing can be dangerous for anyone.

However, it doesn’t mean you have to quit surfing. A little cautiousness can always save you. 

Top 10 Dangers in Surfing Everyone Surfer Must Know

Before you’ve learned surfing is dangerous. But now you’ll learn why it is dangerous. So keep on reading till the end.

1. Drowning


It’s obvious that a risky water sport can lead you to such a critical situation as drowning even if you are an expert. About 2.30 per 100,000 people per year drown while surfing.

Some of the reasons include imbalance, unconsciousness after a clash, getting detached from the surfboard, getting stuck in the reef, and so on.

Since the salt water of the ocean has a different consistency and deep underwater atmosphere, it is better to get used to swimming there.

So you can get back to the shore safely. Also, it’s better to surf with a group of people or at least a friend who can help whenever you need.

2. Big waves

Big waves

Ocean waves are huge and strong as well. No matter how long you take to learn to surf,  Those waves can cause serious injuries and even death.

Especially the people who are new and not familiar with big wave catching yet. A suggestion is to always check surf reports and tides.

Beginners should not surf when waves exceed 4 feet. Plus, wait and watch out for at least one set.

3. Hypothermia


Hypothermia is a serious medical condition caused by a long period of contact with freezing water. Those who surf in European winter surf destinations are exposed to cold water for a long time.

Thicker wetsuits – 4/3 and 5/4 models, neoprene boots, gloves, and hoods are a must to surf below 40ºF (4ºC) to 60ºF (16ºC) temperature.

4. Marine Creatures

Marine Creatures

The living creatures of the ocean are full of diversity. A lot of species are poisonous. Jellyfish, stingrays, weever fish, stonefish, sea urchins, etc. are commonly expected there.

Chances are you might get in touch with their venomous stings and bites. Sharks are the biggest danger among all of the ocean habitats in surfing areas.

Research says, almost 300 shark attacks were recorded between 2000 and 2015 in Florida alone. They do not come with a warning. Watch out carefully for the no surfing zone signs. Don’t forget to wear booties when you surf.

5. Marine Currents And Riptides

Marine Currents And Riptides

These are other common reasons which make surfing dangerous. They can get around 8 feet per second high.

If you are not cautious enough, those powerful sapping currents can take you to davy jones’s locker within seconds. Each year more than 100 deaths in the U.S. are attributed to rip currents. 

Here is a trick that can save your life. It may sound weird but do not struggle to swim back instantly. Instead, let it take you away. Rips never pull surfers underwater.

After it takes you further, start to swim toward the breaking waves. This way you will safely reach the sea coast by staying calm.

6. Local Surfers

Local Surfers

In surfing territories, local surfers tend to dominate others. Some of them are not so friendly and approachable. Their abusive verbal exchange and aggressive physical behavior can make the situation worse.

At that time, humans can become more hazardous than natural obstacles. If you don’t want to get into trouble, maintain proper surf etiquette.

7. Surfboards, Fins, Leash Tangle

Surfboards, Fins, Leash Tangle

The most important equipment for surfing can become the most dangerous at times. So do the fins and leash of that board. Why? Here’s the reason.

Sometimes the leash is too long and gets tangled around your leg, or neck or gets stuck in the seaweed and corals, then that can transform into a weapon.

Fins are pointy and sharp. They can even slice you up. A wipeout, a closeout, a faulty duck dive, and an unattended board can cause irreplaceable damages.

You should be careful all the time with your balance and control on the surfboard.

8. Sunburns


Pro surfers spend countless hours surfing. This lets a surfer direct sun exposure for a long period of time. The sun has UV (ultraviolet) rays. It is harmful to anyone.

There are also several unsafe decreases of sun exposure for too long like sunburn, skin aging, and cancer. That’s why sunscreen is a must-have item for a surfer.

9. Marine Pollution

Marine Pollution

Not only environmental pollution, but marine pollution is also an increasing problem in this era.

The urban garbage, plastics, runoff, chemical spills, oil leaks, pesticides and fertilizers, sewage, etc. are affecting saltwater resources.

These can also come across the way while surfing. Try to avoid polluted beaches.

10. The Rocks under the Sea

The Rocks under the Sea

Surfing terrain is not as smooth as it seems all time. There are huge rocks and coral reefs on the seabed.

Seconds of recklessness and get hit your head or cut like a sharp blade. Wearing a helmet and proper suit is good practice to avoid it.

Other Potential Surf Hazards

Excluding the surf hazards we discussed above, there are a bunch of other dangerous enemies that make surfing dangerous. Some of those are given below –

  • Overcrowded surf terrain
  • Disrespectful surfers and beginners,
  • Table falls and collisions
  • Changing weather
  • Surfing alone


We hope the article on “How dangerous is surfing?” didn’t scare you to leave the surfing idea behind. It was rather to help you with a gentle reminder to keep you stay alert.

A lot of lives can be saved if we follow the instructions properly. To wrap it up, do not forget to enjoy each wave.

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