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Gazing out to sea, the sight of surfers carving through waves often sparks our curiosity: “How fast does a surfer go?”. A common query among surf lovers and curious onlookers centers around the speed of surfers on the waves. Let’s delve into the details and explore how fast surfers go and what factors influence their speed.

The Average Speed of a Surfer

From the shores to the big wave, the speed of a surfer varies in rhythm based on one’s experience and skills.


Taking their first strides, beginners are often more focused on stability and understanding the waves. Beginners typically clock in at 5-10 mph as they learn to harness the ocean’s energy.

Intermediate Surfers

Intermediates tend to achieve speeds ranging from 10-15 mph with a firmer grasp of techniques and wave patterns. This newfound speed stems from improved confidence and the ability to harness the wave’s power more effectively.

intermediate surfers

Advanced Surfers

With experience under their belts, advanced surfers comfortably ride between 15-20 mph speeds. Their intimate knowledge of waves allows them to seek out and conquer larger, more powerful breaks.

Professional Surfers

The professionals can reach astounding speeds of 25-30 mph. Their exceptional skill set and years of training allow them to control the ocean’s might like no other.

professional surfers

How Fast Do Surfers Go on a Big Wave?

On large waves, especially those that are considered “big wave” surfing conditions which can range from 20 to 60 feet (6 to 18 meters) or more, surfers can reach speeds between 20 to 30 miles per hour (32 to 48 kilometers per hour). However, in some exceptional cases, particularly during record-breaking rides on massive waves, speeds can sometimes exceed 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour).

What is the Best Speed for Surfing?

The ideal speed for surfing isn’t a fixed number because it varies based on the wave conditions, the surfer’s skill level, and personal preference. However, for most recreational surfers, a comfortable speed is around 3 to 10 mph (5 to 16 km/h) on average-sized waves. This speed is enough to maneuver along the wave face and perform various surfing moves without being too fast to control. Professional surfers may go much faster to perform advanced maneuvers, especially in competitive surfing or on larger waves.

3 Factors Influencing a Surfer’s Speed

To surf fast, a few key elements come into play. It’s not just about hopping on a board and hoping for the best; there are certain factors that determine how fast you’ll go.

1. Wave Characteristics

The ocean’s mood, reflected in its waves, is foundational and waves’ characteristics significantly influence the speed:

  • Wave Size: • The bigger the wave, the more push you get. It’s like having a turbo boost!
  • Wave Shape: Hollow waves, compared to gentle rollers, offer the adrenaline rush of increased speed.
  • Wave Break: The nature of the break, whether point, beach, or reef, dictates the rhythm. Point breaks, for instance, offer a consistent, longer ride conducive to maintaining speed.

2. Equipment Used

The board is an extension of the surfer. Its design, length, and material can unlock more incredible speeds or impose limits. The right gear acts as a surfer’s ally in slicing through waves:

  • Board Type: Shortboards are like the sports cars of the surf world: quick and agile. Longboards, on the other hand, feel like cruising on a laid-back road trip, smooth and steady.
  • Fins: Think of these as the surfboard’s steering wheel. They help with control and direction, so surfers can ride the wave’s energy just right.
  • Board Material: Modern surfboards are crafted for performance. Lightweight materials offer rapid acceleration, and a bit of heft ensures it keeps going.

3. Surfer Skills and Experience

No two surfers are the same, and here’s how their unique touch plays into speed.

  • Paddling Power: The faster and stronger a surfer paddles into a wave, the better the initial speed boost.
  • Impeccable Technique: A surfer’s moves, from sharp turns to perfect pop-ups, can dictate the pace on the wave.
  • Experience’s Edge: Over time, surfers develop this instinct, a sixth sense, if you will. They know when to adjust, turn, or speed up, making every wave a chance for a fast surf.
surfer skills and experience

World Records and Top Speeds of Surfing

Pursuing speed on the waves has led to some jaw-dropping records in surfing. Here is what’s possible when skill, determination, and the ocean’s might come together.

Nazaré, Portugal

Renowned for its monstrous waves, Nazaré has witnessed some of the most mind-boggling surfing speeds. Sebastian Steudtner—setting the current Guinness World Record with a colossal 86-foot wave ride on October 29, 2020. Surfers riding the enormous waves at Nazaré’s North Beach can reach speeds exceeding 80 miles per hour. This speed range typically fluctuates between 60-80 miles per hour, depending on the conditions and the surfer’s proficiency.

Jaws, Hawaii

Peahi, fondly known as Jaws, boasts massive waves ranging between 30 and 80 feet. Given these waves’ sheer size and power, surfers have been recorded to reach dizzying speeds of over 50 miles per hour. Notably, Yuri Soledade surfed a 71-foot wave here in February 2016.

Pipeline, Hawaii

One of the surfing world’s crown jewels, Pipeline, presents large waves ranging from 8-20 feet, consistently close to the shore. With the optimal conditions and skills, surfers can surf between 30 to 40 miles per hour, sometimes even surpassing that. Among its champions, Andy Irons reigned with passion. Following such spirit, Bruce Irons displayed bold moves, while Jamie O’Brien (JOB) seamlessly blended boldness with innovation, setting his mark as a modern-day icon.

From these records, it’s evident that “how fast does a surfer go” isn’t solely about individual talent. Instead, it’s a symphony of the perfect spot, wave dynamics, and passion for the sport.

How to Surf Faster?

The pursuit of speed in surfing is timeless. Every fast surfer understands that the ocean’s power requires a mix of skill, experience, and sometimes, a touch of technology. When we wonder, “how fast does a surfer go on a big wave?”, we must consider several factors and tools at play.

This is where electric fins come in, serving as a motor boost to your surfboard. They help you paddle faster, making it easier to catch waves. Great for less powerful waves or big gaps between sets. A simple upgrade that can make a big difference in your surfing sessions.

how to surf faster

Enter Boost Surfing. It’s worth understanding how these tools can influence one’s surfing speed.

  • Understanding Boost Fin:

At its core, Boost Fin aims to add a significant thrust to your surfboard. It’s like having the combined force of 15 rowers propelling a canoe. This dynamic addition can:

  • Enhance Speed: Boost Fin can surge a surfer’s speed up to an impressive 10 mph, and catching waves becomes easier and exhilaratingly faster.
  • Longer Rides: The battery life ensures surfers can maintain their momentum, offering 60–90 minutes of consistent surfing on a single charge.
  • Flexibility: For those not wanting to part with their beloved board, Boost Fin integrates seamlessly, rejuvenating its potential.
  • Durability and Precision: Made from top-notch materials and equipped with a responsive remote, the Boost Fin ensures your ride is smooth, controlled, and resilient against the ocean’s challenges.
  • Economical Upgrade: Priced at $499, Boost Fin presents an affordable avenue to revolutionize your existing board, making electric fin benefits accessible to all.

See the Boost Surfing review and understand why the Boost Fin is the go-to for champions and weekend warriors alike! Give your surfboard the electric edge it craves, and treat your budget with the respect it deserves.

Riding the Wave to Future Speed

From the calm shores to the heart-throbbing waves of Nazaré, surfing is a dance with nature, a test of limits. The pursuit of “how fast does a surfer go” shows that surfing’s true essence lies in the harmonious blend of tradition and innovation.

As the ocean’s waves evolve and technology like Boost Surfing becomes more accessible, the boundaries of speed in surfing will continue to expand. Dive in, surf fast, and let the waves inspire.

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