2 Ways to Surf on a Bike

Bike surfing: the act of riding a motorcycle in a way that emulates surfing.

Yes, you think. Its just a case of riding your bike up onto the curb, so it feels like you’re doing a top turn. Or ducking to get barrelled as you drive beneath some low-hanging trees. But, alas, things are not so simple anymore. Depending on who you’re talking to, bike surfing is an actual thing. Two different things, in fact.

So here is how you surf on a bike.

Method 1: Create an Amphibious Bike

You’ve probably seen the video of Robbie Maddison riding his modified bike on some heaving Tahitian lefts. Even if you have, it is worth watching again. The amount  of technical expertise required to create a working, rideable motorcycle, that can be effectively driven in the ocean, is mind blowing. Vans must have sunk some serious coin into this venture.

You can almost imagine the producers, “Whatever you do Robbie, don’t brake.”

The video is a perfect combination of drama, mystery and awesomeness. This is bike surfing. In the ocean.

Method 2: Stand Up and Surf on Your Motorcycle

Even writing that feels strange. As someone who owned a road bike many years ago, I quickly (after two wipeouts) concluded that bikes and me were not compatible. But I was sitting down when I spun out on corners.

The people you’re about to watch are not sitting down when they bike surf. As the name suggests, they rise up onto their feet and, at high speed, shoot the freeway breeze. En masse. Yep, seems that bike surfing – the road version – is a group pursuit.

There’s no hassling for waves, no snaking for position. Just stand up on your motorcycle and hope for the best.

Which would you choose?

Given the opportunity I imagine most surfers – unless of course you’re sponsored by Deus Ex Machina – would opt for #1. It actually looks kind of fun and probably isn’t a world away from riding a jetski. Remember, you will be the antichrist to environmentally conscious surfers, and Rasta may send a squadron of dolphins to neutralise the menace.

However, even if you did make it out into the lineup without sinking, would you go ride a triple overhead Tahitian bomb on your two stroke? Would you even do it on your favourite surfboard?

On the other hand, bike surfing on land, while exhilarating to watch, just seems too perilous. And you need to be pretty damn cool to be hang with this crew, so you’re going to have to start your freeway surf gang. Sorry.

Note: Don’t try either any of this at home, or in the water, or on land. If you do, please send videos.