26 Musicians Who Surf

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Surfing, since its discovery, has captured and inspired the hearts of artists and athletes alike. Music is no exception. No matter what genre of music interests you, this list of 25 musicians who surf will remind why surfing and music go hand in hand.

Jack Johnson

From: Hawaii, USA
About: The son of Jeff Johnson, a well-known professional surfer, Jack inherited his father’s love for catching waves and even started his own professional surfing career. Johnson started surfing at age 5 and was one of the youngest competitors at the Pipeline Masters surf competition in Maui. After suffering a serious accident, Johnson moved on to pursue music, but his love of surfing has never faded.

Genre: soft rock, acoustic rock, and also classified – shockingly enough – as ‘surf music’.

Listen to him at https://jackjohnsonmusic.com/

Donavon Frankenreiter

From: California, USA
About: Born and raised in California, Donovan’s music is strongly inspired by and connected to his love of surfing, and frequently discusses how surfing and music co-mingle. He has toured through Brazil in the Mostra Alma Surf Festival with numerous other surf artists and is even sponsored by Billabong.

Genre: soft rock, surf music

Listen to Jack Johnson at: http://www.donavonf.com/music.html

Ben Howard

From: London, England
About: Born and raised in England, Ben started writing songs at 11 years old. When he isn’t writing songs or recording music, Howard is known to escape to the coast to surf. He also has been known to catch waves with surf icon Rob Machado. In an interview with Surf Europe Magazine, Howard was asked whether he thinks more about surfing or music. “Surfing,” Howard replied. “…I think we all suffer from that.”

Genre: folk, indie folk, ambient folk, alternative rock, experimental rock

Listen to Ben Howard at: https://store.benhowardmusic.co.uk/*/Music/

Alex Knost (Japanese Motors)

From: California, USA
About: One part punk, one part Beach Boy, the group the Japanese Pilots formed and soon became known for their punk -rock, rowdy concerts and their total immersion in the surf culture. Knost is a pro-surfer, was part of the documentary Step into Liquid, and even surfs and sketches for brand RVCA.

Genre: surf punk, garage rock revival, indie rock, pop/punk

Listen to the Japanese Motors at: https://www.allmusic.com/album/japanese-motors-mw0000798668

Jon Foreman (Switchfoot)

From: California, USA
About: Growing up as surfers, Jon Foreman and his Switchfoot bandmates take surfing just as seriously as they take their music. Between touring, filming, and creating music, this band is always looking for opportunities to catch waves. They even recently created a surf/film project called “Fading West,” all about chasing waves and rock n’ roll around the world.

Genre: Hard rock, alternative rock, post-grunge, pop-rock

Listen to Switchfoot at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/native-tongue/1438581855?app=music

Tom Curren

From: California, USA
About: A well-known and highly respected professional surfer, three-time world champion, whose style inspires everyone from Kelly Slater to Mick Fanning. Tom Curren is more than a wave junkie and pro surfer, he is a passionate musician as well, having released 4 albums.

“Surfing and music, they can both be very personal things, very personal forms of expression… And I think you get caught in the moment with both, your mind is focused on that one thing at that one time, and for a moment it’s like there’s nothing else,” said Curren in an interview with ESPNW.

Genre: acoustic, acoustic rock

Listen to Tom Curren at: https://www.allmusic.com/album/in-plain-view-mw0002497015

Chris Martin (Coldplay Since 1996, Band Aid 30 Since 2014)

From: England, UK
About: Lead singer and co-founder of Coldplay, and member of the supergroup and charity organization Band Aid 30 Martin has been in the public eye since 1996. One of the lesser know facts about him, however, is that he is a passionate surfer and has been spotted surfing all over the United States, from Malibu to The Hamptons in New York. He’s often been known to go surfing to escape the drama and the gossip that are inevitable in Hollywood. Who can blame him?

Genre: alternative rock, indie rock, post-Brit pop, pop rock, pop

Listen to Coldplay at: https://coldplay.com/music/
Listen to Band Aid 30: https://play.google.com/store/music/artist?id=Ak6rh7ivgt2aumz2fonaotrsn5y

Jimmy Buffett

Image by BuffettNews.com

From: Mississippi and Alabama, USA
About: Jimmy Buffet is a well-known singer, songwriter, actor, and tropical life lover. His love for the sea and the waves is apparent in nearly all of his songs which portray his iconic “island escapist” energy. Nearly everyone knows his song “Margaritaville,” but not everyone knows that Buffet loves to surf. At the age of 72, he was seen surfing on the coast of North Carolina before the Category 4 hurricane Florence hit in 2018.

“I ain’t afraid of dying I got no need to explain. I feel like going surfing in this hurricane,” Buffet wrote on Instagram. Now that’s stoke!

Genre: Gulf and Western, country, country rock, folk rock, easy listening, island rock

Listen to Jimmy Buffet at: https://www.margaritaville.com/music

Kirk Hammett (Metallica)

Image by www.tapatalk.com

From: California, USA
About: Lead guitarist and contributing songwriter for the American rock band, Metallica, Rolling Stone Magazine’s 11th ranked guitarist of all time, and a published author, Kirk Hammett has had one extremely successful career. To top off his list, Hammett is also an avid surfer and has been seen in surfing hot-spots all over the world like Hawaii, the Philippines, Portugal, Australia, and Morrocco. Turns out, it’s not just Hammott’s music that’s hardcore.

Genre: Heavy metal, thrash metal, hard rock, speed metal, rock

Listen to Metallica at: https://www.metallica.com/music/

Robert Trujillo (Metallica)

Image by juicemagazine.com

From: Los Angeles, California
About: When Hammett goes surfing, he definitely doesn’t paddle out alone. Bandmate and surf partner Trujillo is a surfing addict and grew up with the sport and popular surf publications in California.

“I grew up on the Westside of Los Angeles, where surfing and music go hand in hand. Most of my early musician friends were punkers, skaters, or surfers, who all loved music, and even had their own bands,” Trujillo said in an interview with World Surf League. It’s clear that not much has changed.

Genre: Heavy metal, thrash metal, hard rock, speed metal, rock

Listen to Metallica at: https://www.metallica.com/music/

Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction)

From: New York City, United States
About: The lead vocalist and songwriter of Jane’s Addiction is, himself, addicted to surfing. Farrell found his love for surfing in Bali, where he would return annually to surf the legendary swells for many years. He is often discussing surfing in interviews and frequently posts about his wave catching escapades on his Facebook.

Genre: Alternative rock, alternative metal, funk metal, psychedelic rock

Listen to Jane’s Addiction at Spotify

Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

From: Michigan, USA
About: Another avid surfer is the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s frontman, Anthony. He developed his passion for surfing in Brazil and is often seen ripping waves along its coast. Not to mention, Anthony even had a role in the surf movie Point Break as a surfer. It’s safe to say it wasn’t just hit tattoos and rock and roll reputations that got him the role, his surfing skills definitely helped!

Genre: funk rock, alternative rock, funk metal, rap rock

Listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers at: https://redhotchilipeppers.com/audio/

Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

From: Melbourne, Australia
About: Michael Balzary, professionally known as Flea, much like his bandmate, Anthony, is a skilled surfer. Known rip onstage as the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s bassist, he also regularly rips waves with his bandmates and fellow musician friends. Flea and Anthony have also been known to frontline many different surfing charity events.

Genre: funk rock, alternative rock, funk metal, rap rock

Listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers at: https://redhotchilipeppers.com/audio

Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)

From: Illinois, USA
About: If this picture looks familiar, it’s because it is. As you can see, Flea and Vedder are not only fellow musicians, but they are surf buddies as well. Turns out, Vedder has a deep passion for surfing after he spent much of his childhood in Southern California. He has tons of surf friends and has been seen surfing with pro-surfers like Kelly Slater and Jack Johnson.

Genre: alternative rock, grunge, folk rock

Listen to Pearl Jam at: https://redhotchilipeppers.com/audio

Peter DiStefano (Porno for Pyros)

From: California, USA
About: Peter Distefano is another rock and roll artist who has been deeply influenced by his love of surfing. Distefano’s music career actually began during his early twenties in the skate-surf punk scene of California. Distefano is equally active in the surf-scene in California today and recently participated in Huntington Beach’s Celebrity Surf Jam with countless other celebs and artists.

Genre: alternative rock

Listen to Porno for Pyros at: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/porno-for-pyros-mn0000355208/songs

Dean Butterworth (Morrissey) 

From: Manchester, England
About: Although born in England, Butterworth moved to the United States at the age of 10 and had learned how to play the drums by the age of 12. He soon discovered a love for surfing and began his early music career with his fellow surfer, Donovan Frankenreiter.

Genre: pop punk, alternative rock, post-hardcore, gothic rock

Listen to Dean Butterworth at: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/dean-butterworth-mn0000804715

Jason Mraz

Image by wavejet.com.au

From: Virginia, USA
About: Unlike many other surfers who learn as children, Jason Mraz learned how to surf at the ripe age of 28 and has been in love with it ever since.

“In order to surf, be it on a board or your belly, one must throw one’s self over the falls. One must take the inevitable risk and go, to truly experience beingness in the flow. One must not be afraid of looking stupid…in songwriting, as in life, one must throw one’s self over the falls, taking the inevitable risk of being heard, possibly saying something stupid, or looking stupid,” Mraz wrote in a Facebook post.

Genre: pop rock, pop music, blue-eyed soul, reggae, alternative rock, alternative hip hop, soul music, funk, jazz

Listen to Jason Mraz at Spotify

Brandon Boyd (Incubus)

From: California, USA
About: Growing up next to the ocean, Boyd developed a deep love for surfing, the ocean and a passion to protect it. Boyd has been a long time activist when it comes to charities and conservation movements like The Make Yourself Foundation, and his collaboration with Hurley, Helping Other People Everywhere (H.O.P.E.) which featured Boyd’s artwork.

Genre: alternative rock, indie rock, alternative metal, funk rock, funk metal

Listen to Incubus at: http://www.incubushq.com/music/incubus

Ben Kenney (Incubus)

From: New Jersey, USA
About: Growing up in one of the best surf towns in New Jersey, where every summer is spent on the shore and in the water, Kenney quickly cultivated a love for surfing. “Surfing is not a sport for me, it’s an activity. I don’t do it to impress anybody. I do it to relax,” Kenney said in an interview with Gravedad Zero.

Genre: alternative rock, indie rock, alternative metal, funk rock, funk metal

Listen to Incubus at: http://www.incubushq.com/music/incubus

Mike Einziger (Incubus)

From: Los Angeles, California, USA
About: As you can tell, surfing is an integral part of the Incubus band life and Mike Einziger is no exception. Incubus guitarist is also a passionate surfer and even participated in the Celebrity Surf Jam on Huntington Beach with his fellow bandmates.

Genre: alternative rock, indie rock, alternative metal, funk rock, funk metal

Listen to Incubus at: http://www.incubushq.com/music/incubus

Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio)

From: Chicago, Illinois, USA
About: Alkaline Trio’s lead vocalist and guitarist became a serious surfer after moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. He also openly admits to the fact the surfing has made him happier.

“I think that I am definitely a happier person now that I am a surfer,” says Skiba in an interview with Surfer.com, “I think any surfer can attest to the fact that you always feel better when you get out of the water than when you get in. It’s cleansing.” We totally agree!

Genre: punk rock, pop punk, emo, alternative rock

Listen to Alkaline Trio at Spotify

Murphy Karges (bass player Sugar Ray)

From: Orange County, California, USA
About: Sugar Ray’s, the California native band, bassist Karges is, like many other California boys, in love with surfing. He actively participates in various surfing events like the Celebrity Surf Jam in Huntington Beach.

Genre: alternative rock, pop rock, punk rock, alternative metal, punk metal

Listen to Sugar Ray at Spotify

Jed Laidlaw, Robin Windram, Rory Williams, Pete Harper (Sunset Sons)

From: Australia and England
About: This British-Australian band is based out of the region of France known as ‘the European surf capital,’ and has deep roots in surfing culture. They even participated in a web-show with Magicseaweed.com, and Hurley Surf Club, all about surfing and upping your surf game.

Genre: indie rock

Listen to Sunset Sons at Spotify.

Read an interview with Sunset Sons here.

Xavier Rudd

From: Australia
About: Xavier Rudd is a multi-award-winning Australian singer-songwriter whose career spans almost 20 years and includes releasing 9 studio and 8 live albums. Hailing from Torquay in Victoria – the jewel of which is Bells Beach – the musician is no stranger to excellent surf. His music features socially conscious themes including environmentalism and the rights of Indigenous Australians.

Genre: folk, blues, reggae

Listen to Xavier Rudd on Spotify.

Read an interview with Xavier Rudd here and watch an interview here.

Website: https://www.xavierrudd.com/