Top 14 Reasons Why Surfing Is So Popular

Chances are, you’ll have heard of surfing from someone, somewhere. Whenever someone mentions ‘surf,’ pictures of sun-kissed sand, rolling waves, and chiseled arms holding a longboard will often come to mind. From popular media to the real world, surfing is a cultural phenomenon that continues to grow in popularity. So, why is surfing as a pastime so popular?

1. Surfing has a cool aesthetic

It’s undeniable that the very word ‘surf’ comes with a barrage of distinct sights, sounds, and sensations. Whether you’re a veteran wave chaser, a casual appreciator, or someone who’s never seen a wave in your life, there’s a certain image that comes with surfing territory - an image of unparalleled impressiveness.

Nothing screams ‘cool’ like a picture of a dude in sunglasses riding on literal water with just a surfboard under their feet. You’re standing on a wave, for Pete’s sake!

2. Surfing happens in beautiful places

The best surfing spots are usually found in beautiful pockets of paradise, such as Montanita Beach in Montanita, Ecuador, the Crescent Head in Tasmania, Australia, and White Beach in Okinawa, Japan.

These are just a few of the areas home to beautiful surf waves. Some of the most beautiful and popular surfing places are host to crystal clear water, clear blue skies, and sparkling sand.

3. Surfing is a great tourist activity

Places like Playa Grande in the Dominican Republic and the ever-famous Malibu Beach in California, USA, are flocked with surf-chasing tourists, and for good reason.

Looking amazing on the beach and soaking in the often gorgeous sights that come with the surfing territory are all just part of the beach and surf experience.

4. Surfing is exciting

Not everyone has the skills for surfing and even after learning the basic surfing skills you’ll need just to get on the board and keep yourself up, surfing as a hobby is unpredictable, especially because of how the waters move and change. The waves will never be exactly the same, and a wipeout will spell disaster.

5. Surfing has a worldwide reach

You didn’t think that only the coasts of California and Hawaii were surf-worthy, did you? When it comes to choice waves, you can find them all over the world. From Australia to Indonesia to England, surfing is a sought-after activity in many different countries, even ones that you’d never expect to have any choice waves.

The most popular spots for surfing are still going to be the coastal areas in tropical nations such as Hawaii and Polynesia, but if you’ve got the itch to ride waves, you’ll likely be able to find a place somewhere in or near your current location.

6. Surfing is thrilling

The power of the ocean is not to be underestimated. A third of hobbyists will experience some sort of surfing injury each year, especially as they’re paddling out. There are definitely some dangerous surfing spots that will make even expert surfers think twice about paddling out to ride that wave.

But to other surfers, they wouldn’t have it any other way. As long as you know your limits and keep alert, there’s no reason why you can’t get that adrenaline going while also staying safe while surfing.

7. Surfing as meditation

Some surfers love getting in the water to forget their troubles. When they get into the water, it seems like the rest of the world melts away, and their mind is cleared from their responsibilities and other distractions because of how much attention is needed to actually surf.

Being out in the water can be exhilarating, but allowing yourself to get absorbed by the blue waters around you and the sun’s rays can give you an indescribable sense of peace.

8. Surfing is rewarding to learn

There’s no way to avoid it: Learning to surf can be tiring and takes up plenty of time and dedication. But the payoff is undeniable once you’ve reached a level where you can stay steady on your board long enough to ride an incredible wave.

There are plenty of surf spots, such as Uluwatu and Kuta, located in Bali, Indonesia, that cater to beginner surfers and experts, so you can enjoy the view while steadily getting better. Whichever level you’re at, you won’t be missing out on the beautiful glass surfaces of those perfect waves. 

9. Surfing challenges you

Some of the greatest of greats have difficulty surfing, and there are surfers who want to make their way to the top. For those who want a real surfing challenge, the highest of peaks are the Mavericks and Pipeline.

With the former in sunny California and the latter being the promised land for surfing buffs, these massive and formidable waves are lauded as the most difficult to conquer. Naturally, you’ll get the best bragging rights from riding the best waves on the planet.

10. Surfing connects you to nature

For many surfers, nothing comes close to the feeling of harnessing the raw and pure energy of an incoming wave rushing to crash against the shore. When they feel the water on your skin, the wind whistling past their ears, and the sun beaming down, they just know that they’re experiencing Mother Nature’s most primal elements. You feel like you’re in your element.

11. Surfing as exercise is fantastic

Not only do you get to see new places, but surfing as an exercise is excellent at keeping you fit while having a lot of fun. You can stay in great shape if you’re an avid surfing enthusiast, as well as an added endorphin boost every time you hit those waves.

As an active sport, you need to keep steady on your feet. You get to take on new challenges, and it’s an ever-changing experience.

12. Surfing can give you new experiences

Surfers often go to the most beautiful and surreal places and travel the world for their next surfing adventure. Killer Point at Taghazoute, Morocco, is so named because it hosts not only a great surfing location but also a number of killer whales that can be found around the area.

Then there’s the surfing capital of Canada at Tofino, Vancouver Island. Here, a sprawling rainforest surrounds the surfing area. There are many places like this that make surfing a brand new experience every time.

13. Surfers travel to different places

There are plenty of unforgettable areas to surf. ‘China’ isn’t exactly the first place you think of when ‘surfing spots’ come to mind, but Riyuewan on Hainan Island is host to a relatively untouched paradise, with areas for both beginner surfers and experienced practitioners alike.

Heck, there’s even a place to catch waves in Munich! Found in a completely landlocked artificial river, the wave in Eisbach lets you surf endlessly on their one-meter wave until you fall off or decide that you’ve had enough fun. 

14. Surfing and meeting new people

There is no shortage of enthusiasts, trainers, and like-minded new friends for a surfer to meet. Wherever you may go where there are choice waves, there will be other people looking to enjoy surfing.

There’s a strong sense of camaraderie with people who love riding waves just as much as you do, and if you’re lucky enough, you may find some lifelong surfing friends who will always be down for another trip to the coast.


With the sun in your eyes and waves at your feet, surfing as a sport can give you great new experiences, crazy challenges, or a way to relax and unwind. Whether you’re surfing for fun or to soar to new heights, it’s not hard to see why surfing continues to be an exciting and mesmerizing activity for people from all walks of life to enjoy.

James Davis

Written by James Davis

I'm a true California local, and I've spent my life riding the waves along our stunning coastline. Surfing has always been my greatest love, and in my writing, I try to capture its genuine essence. My words aim to transport you into the heart of the surf culture, where the ocean and surfers come together in perfect harmony.

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