Surfing: you don't need drugs to ride this wave

They help you surf better, they pump your adrenaline, they keep you focused and even shape a surfer's body. Meet drugs in surfing, a lethal escape that may end your life sooner.


Anthony Ruffo, Neco Padarataz and Andy Irons are only a few known surfers among many who have had different relationships with drugs. Sometimes, drugs are part of injury recovery. They are administered by professional doctors but may halt surfers from competing in official contests.

Ruffo had a serious problem with methamphetamines for a long time. The iconic surfer would get high in the morning, right after a night sleep. Fortunately, he had the strength to survive the addiction and is now getting back to a top form, free of drugs. There's a surf movie about his life.

Methamphetamine increases alertness, concentration, energy, and in high doses, can induce euphoria, enhance self-esteem, and increase libido. It is a highly addictive drug and may lead to depression and suicide.

In 2005, Neco Padaratz was suspended from professional surfing until January 1st 2006. The Brazilian surfing legend was caught with performance enhancing anabolic steroids, during the 2004 WCT event in Hossegor, France. Padaratz cooperated with the testing authorities and claimed that he had taken the prohibited steroids as part of a course of self-treatment for a chronic back injury.

In 2007, Joel Parkinson has backed calls for more rigorous drug testing in surfing. The Australian rider believes there should be a regular analysis. Parkinson said if surfing was to be considered in the same league as other big sports, there had to be an increased number of regular testing.

After the death of Andy Irons, the discussion arose on the use of drugs in the wave arena. Moreover, if surfing wants to get into the Olympic Games, there should be a clear message from the international contest organizers.

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) does not conduct its own drug testing, but permits it so long as the drug testing complies with the testing protocol set forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

If the ASP agrees that the test result is legitimately positive, the surfer shall be suspended from competing for at least one full year. Meanwhile, the ASP says it is closer to getting ratified by the WADA. Will it happen in 2012? The list of prohibited substances is available online. Remember, that like in any other sport, drugs don't work in surfing.