Surfing quotes: inspiring thoughts from legendary surfers | Photo: Shutterstock

Legendary surf quotes have inspired many generations of wave riders. The world's greatest surfers have made historical statements and expressed unforgettable thoughts.

The most memorable surfing quotes are often revolutionary, groundbreaking, and inspirational.

In addition, surfer quotes introduce controversial points of view, humorous jokes, provoking ideas, and curious reflections on life, career achievements, and waves.

Duke Kahanamoku, Kelly Slater, Bethany Hamilton, Frosty Hesson, Andy Irons, Laird Hamilton, Mark Foo, Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz, Miki Dora, Tom Morey, unknown authors, and even James Cook and Ziggy Marley have all delivered great surf quotes that are cited regularly in academic works, books, and speeches.

The best surfing quotes of all time can change a surfer's life forever. They can even make sense and dazzle those who have never had the pleasure of surfing waves.

Most of these more or less philosophical reflections address the power of Nature, surfers' attitude toward society and the world, escapism, respect and friendship, fine-tuning our mindset, and the unpredictability of the ocean waves.

There are also timeless passages about surfing's unique connection with the universe, tube riding and fear, the spiritual side of surfing, the environment, and wave-riding as a confidence and self-esteem booster.

Quoting surf quotes at the right moment might also earn you the admiration of your friends, work colleagues, and lovers.

So, pick your favorite quotes on surfing, memorize them, and impress everyone around with your knowledge:


The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.
Phil Edwards

Out of the water, I am nothing.
Duke Kahanamoku

My passion for surfing was more than my fear of sharks.
Bethany Hamilton

Surfing is attitude dancing.
Gerry Lopez

Surfing to me is like playing music. You play different melodies with different boards.
Skip Frye

We're all equal before a wave.
Laird Hamilton

Never drive away from good surf.
Roger Sharp

Being spat out of one of those giant, roaring Hawaiian tubes is the most amazing sensation I've ever experienced in my life. It's joy, fear, and accomplishment all rolled into one experience.
Shaun Tomson

Foam is your friend. Don't be scared of it. A little bit of extra foam here and there is good for the soul and your surfing.
Rob Machado

Surfing's one of the few sports that you look ahead to see what's behind.
Laird Hamilton

A big wave is like a beautiful woman, exciting to look at and thrilling to ride.
Buzzy Trent

The biggest sin in the world would be if I lost my love for the ocean.
Laird Hamilton

There is not one right way to ride a wave.
Jamie O'Brien

There are a million ways to surf, and as long as you're smiling, you're doing it right.
Unknown Author

Surfing in crowds is like mind over matter. If I don't mind, it doesn't matter.
Brodus Rogers

There's a lot more to life than winning a championship. All it signifies is who's best at getting four waves to the beach, and when you look at it in that form, it's really insignificant.
Tom Curren

Wiping out is an underappreciated skill.
Laird Hamilton

It's like the mafia. Once you're in - you're in. There's no getting out.
Kelly Slater

I'm not into doing the same thing that's always been done. I'm into evolution.
Cheyne Horan

I don't see any difference between bodyboarding and surfing - it's all surfing.
Tom Morey

Your surfing can get better on every turn, on every wave you catch. Learn to read the ocean better. A big part of my success has been wave knowledge.
Kelly Slater

Style is a natural extension of who you are as a person.
Mark Richards

Sometimes, I feel like a two-bit version of Mickey Dora.
Phil Edwards

It's all about where your mind's at.
Kelly Slater

I invented localism.
Miki Dora

The joy of surfing is so many things combined, from the physical exertion of it to the challenge of it, to the mental side of the sport.
Kelly Slater

I think when a surfer becomes a surfer, it's almost like an obligation to be an environmentalist at the same time.
Kelly Slater

I don't need sponsors. I surf better when I'm broke, anyway.
Dave Parmenter

I'm just a surfer who wanted to build something that would allow me to surf longer.
Jack O'Neill

I took off on a wave, went down the side, popped out the other end, and went, s--t, I'm still alive!
Greg Noll

If you don't understand the wave, you can't respect it. And if you don't have respect, it's only a matter of time before the ocean teaches you to get some.
Laird Hamilton

It's a culmination of your life of surfing when you turn and paddle in at Mavericks.
Jeff Clark

I surf to get a tan.
Shane Dorian

If you're having a bad day, catch a wave.
Frosty Hesson

If in doubt, paddle out.
Nat Young

Surfing is a release from exploding tensions of 20th-century living, escaping from the hustling, bustling city world of steel and concrete, a return to nature's reality.
Fred Wardy

I am not famous. I am a worker.
Adriano de Souza

It's not tragic to die doing something you love.
Mark Foo

Eddie would go.
Mark Foo

I've committed to surfing for the rest of my life.
Lance Armstrong

I think you could build a couple of humans with the amount of skin lost on the reef at Pipe.
Martin Potter

I try changing my surfing, which is the absolute worst thing you can do. Everyone surfs their own way. If I try to surf like someone else, I look like a dork.
Andy Irons

Waves are not measured in feet and inches. They are measured in increments of fear.
Buzzy Trent

Surfing is very much like making love. It always feels good, no matter how many times you've done it.
Paul Strauch

Surfing is for life.
Bruce Jenkins

Surfing for me is more than my lifestyle; it's my passion, my love, and it's a part of me.
Bethany Hamilton

When the surfs up, your life is too.
Wilhelm Sverdvik

If there were no such thing as barrels, I probably wouldn't even surf.
Clay Marzo

You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
John Kabat-Zinn

Life is a lot like surfing. When you get caught in the impact zone, you've got to just get back up. Because you never know what may be over the next wave.
Bethany Hamilton

The three most important things in life: surf, surf, surf.
Jack O'Neill

One drop-in is an accident, two is rude, three is a twatable offense.
Roger Sharp

Sometimes in the morning, when it's a good surf, I go out there, and I don't feel like it's a bad world.
Kary Mullis

Surfing makes me happy, so that's just what I plan on doing.
Alana Blanchard

Surfing soothes me. It's always been a kind of Zen experience for me. The ocean is so magnificent, peaceful, and awesome. The rest of the world disappears for me when I'm on a wave.
Paul Walker

One of the greatest things about the sport of surfing is that you need only three things: your body, a surfboard, and a wave.
Naima Green

I've tried body surfing. It's nice.
Ziggy Marley

It's funny, 'cause you think surfing is your whole life, but then when you make a family and it seems like it's not at all.
Joel Parkinson

Surfing is almost a way to fly.
Jeff Hakman

Surfing is the most blissful experience you can have on this planet, a taste of heaven.
John McCarthy

This is the kind of challenge that the wild, unfurling ocean presents to surfers: the music it makes is often impossible to follow, but surfing is about improvising in brilliant ways that utilize the sea's surprises.
Sam Bleakley

There is nothing, nothing, more sad than a surfer who used to surf.
Unknown author

I love surfing more than cricket. It's more interesting, and you meet great people.
Hansie Cronje

There's nothing quite like surfing by yourself in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but unpredictable weather patterns, below-deck accommodation, sea snakes, coral cuts, and packs of reef sharks make it a trip for the committed seadog.
Mark Thornley

I wanted to be the best shaper in the world - except, you later realize, there's no such thing.
Al Merrick

Surfing, alone among sports, generates laughter at its very suggestion, and this is because it turns not a skill into art but an inexplicable and useless urge into a vital way of life.
Matt Warshaw

As for my own surfing, let's just say that when the waves start pushing 10 feet, I get this tremendous urge to make a sandwich.
Bruce Jenkins

Surfing is such an amazing concept. You're taking on Nature with a little stick and saying, 'I'm gonna ride you!' And a lot of times, Nature says, 'No, you're not!' and crashes you to the bottom.
Jolene Blalock

If it swells, ride it!
Unknown author

I could not help concluding this man had the most supreme pleasure while he was driven so fast and so smoothly by the sea.
Captain James Cook

Live to surf, surf to live.
Mike Doyle

What I love the most about surfing is that it's my first love. It's the first thing I can remember being consumed by.
Stephanie Gilmore

There's no secret to balance, you just have to feel the waves.
Frank Herbert

Surfing is simply the most fun I know how to have on this planet.
Antony Garrett

Surfing's the source. Can change your life. Swear to God.
The Surf Shop Kid (Christopher Pettiet) in Point Break

Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.
Patrick Swayze

Living at the beach isn't the answer. Guys who live at the beach get waterlogged. I'm there for the waves, nothing else.
Miki Dora

The only one who can whisper to you the ways of the surf is the wind.
Wilhelm Sverdvik

Waves are toys from God.
Clay Marzo

Charlie don't surf.
Lt Col William Kilgore

Thank God for a few free waves.
Miki Dora

Surfing is all about uncertainty. That feeling of taking a risk, that leap of faith every time I jump into the ocean, that paddle out among things unseen - all of these make surfing very special.
Shaun Tomson

It's a cakewalk when you know how.
Gerry Lopez

Surfing leads you through life, especially when you're young and with hope in your heart.
Tom Blake

The reason he [Duke Kahanamoku] didn't like me was that I liked him too much.
Dorian Doc Paskowitz

You can take a surfer out of the surf, but you can not take surf out of the surfer.
Bob McTavish

Sliding a wave removes our brains out of the ordinary and slips us into the extraordinary of being there now - no more worries about mortgages or strife of being poor or rich. When you enter the domain of an ocean cylinder, that moment, those split seconds belong to the Zen part of just being. Period.
Bill Hamilton

I don't want to be connected with surfing in a business way. I'd like to be a plumber.
Butch Van Artsdalen

Climbers have Everest. Surfers have Nazaré.
António Silva

Surfing is a secret garden, not easily entered. My memory of learning a spot, of coming to know and understand a wave, is usually inseparable from the friend with whom I tried to climb its walls.
William Finnegan

Some of the most profound realizations that I came to about health did not derive from medicine but derived from surfing.
Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz

Our lives are clickbait.
Albee Layer

I'm a four-foot and under, man.
Mike Dora

Nobody gets to the end of their life and wishes they surfed less.
Bradley Hook

I feel really at home in the ocean; surfing is a huge part of who I am.
Easkey Britton

There's an independence to surfing, it's just you and the ocean. There aren't a bunch of rules.
Lee Clow

I've always thought surfing is a reflection of who you are.
Kelly Slater

Where I grew up, surfing was a way for people to celebrate their love and respect for the ocean.
Tristan Prettyman

Pipeline is for the f-----g girls!
Caitlin Simmers

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