Famous Surfing Quotes to Inspire

Surfers are laid-back folks. In fact, they tend to be men and women of few words who live to surf and surf to live! They love action and they do most of their reflecting and meditation right there in the water, either while waiting for the next big wave, or when they’re inside a barrel. This is probably why wise words from surfers aren’t all that easy to come by!

That said, we managed to put together a collection of  quotes from famous surfers that will surely get you starting the new year on the right foot!

10. “It’s not tragic to die doing something you love.” – Mark Foo


Professional surfer Mark Foo’s words became a grim omen, as Foo died doing what he loved. On December 23th, 1994, during the first day of the Mavericks big-wave surfing competition at Half Moon Bay, California, Foo drowned. His words, as well as his legacy, live on and continue to inspire surfers and people from all corners of the world.

9. “Waves are not measured in feet and inches, they are measured in increments of fear.” – Buzzy Trent


Buzzy Trent was a pioneer of big wave surfing, and this quote is part of his incredible legacy. It’s not the waves that can bring you down (even though, literally, they’re the ones that knock you off your board), it’s your own fear that can hinder your surfing.

Fear the waves, but don’t let fear guide your surfboard!

8. “We’re all equal before a wave.” – Laird Hamilton


Laird Hamilton, one of the world’s surfing legends, is a big-wave surfer and co-inventor of the already popular tow-in surfing. He was so right when he uttered the words above, as the ocean doesn’t care about who you are, how much money you have or what color your skin is. It treats everybody the same, and you need to be mindful of its power in order to be good at surfing.

7. “Out of the water, I am nothing.” – Duke Kahanamoku


Duke Kahanamoku was a Native Hawaiian swimmer who helped make surfing the popular sport that it is today. We absolutely love this particular quote, as it shows that a true surfer needs to become one with the waves and to work with the water, not against it. Also, never forget that surfing is an ancient Hawaiian sport!

6. “My passion for surfing was more than my fear of sharks.” – Bethany Hamilton


Bethany Hamilton is an awesome American surfer who became world famous after surviving a great white shark attack in 2003. The shark took her left arm, but not her passion for surfing. This quote perfectly expresses the love that she has for surfing and how love trumps hate and fear!

If you want to learn more about her, we recommend that you read her autobiography, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board.

5. “I think when a surfer becomes a surfer, it’s almost like an obligation to be an environmentalist at the same time.” – Kelly Slater


Kelly Slater is one of the world’s best surfers and also a surfing pioneer, as his wave poolcreates the longest and rideable open-barrel man-made wave in the world. Slater is also passionate about the environment and reckons that any true surfer needs to be an environmentalist.

We couldn’t agree more and we believe that education is the key to saving our environment. So here are some surfer-based ocean conservation projects that you can join today to help make a difference tomorrow!

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


Attributed to an unknown author, this well-known surfing quote is something that almost all surfers believe. A surfer will always be a surfer, and surfers do one thing well: they surf. Once that’s gone, you’re still a surfer, albeit an unhappy one. Our advice to you is to do all that is in your power to keep the waves in your life.

3. “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” – John Kabat-Zinn


Though Jon Kabat-Zinn is not a surfer, we are a fan of his quote that attributes surf to going with the flow and becoming more flexible in life.  As the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction, he’s written best-selling books on how to be mindful and deal with stress.

This particular quote illustrates how surfing can teach us a lesson on how to be less afraid of what’s to come and how to deal with stressful situations. It just goes to show that surfing is so much more than a sport, it’s a lifestyle and when we learn to ‘master’ it, does both body and mind a lot of good!

2. “Surfing is the first thing I can remember being consumed by.” – Stephanie Gilmore


Stephanie Gilmore is a professional surfer who, with this quote, managed to capture the very essence of surfing. It is like a fire inside of those who love it; surfing consumes you, it’s a passion that must be satisfied and once it’s in your blood, it’s never coming out.

1. “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.” – Phil Edwards


Even though some say that this quote is falsely attributed to Phil Edwards, we haven’t found any proof that he’s not the one who said these famous words. This particular quote is probably the most famous surfing quote of all times, simply because it’s so true. Surfing is a sport where you simply can’t help but have fun. And the more fun you have, the more you want to practice it and the better you become at it!

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