Surfers can be unexpectedly poetic when describing the surfing experience. Many of their quotes are surprisingly poignant and inspiring.

We’ve compiled a list of 50 of the best surfing quotes from world champions through to authors and celebrities. Be sure to check out our previous surf quotes and inspirational articles.

What is your favourite surf quote? Tell us in the comments below.


“If in doubt, paddle out.”

Nat Young

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

John McCarthy

“Surfing is for life.”

Bruce Jenkins

“Out of the water, I am nothing.”

Duke Kahanamoku

“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

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

Kelly Slater

“It’s like the mafia. Once you’re in – your in. There’s no getting out.”

Kelly Slater

“You can take a surfer out of the surf, but you can not take surf out of surfer.”

Bob McTavish

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

John Kabat-Zinn

“Surfing is very much like making love. It always feels good, no matter how many times you’ve done it.”

Paul Strauch

“The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.”

Phil Edwards

“Live to surf, surf to live.”

Mike Doyle

“Surfing is almost a way to fly.”

 Jeff Hakman

“When the surfs up, your life is too”

Wilhelm Sverdvik

“If you’re having a bad day, catch a wave.”

Frosty Hesson

“The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.”

Phil Edwards

“We’re all equal before a wave.”

Laird Hamilton

“There is not one right way to ride a wave.”

Jamie O’Brien

“Surfing is attitude dancing.”

Gerry Lopez

“Surfing’s one of the few sports that you look ahead to see what’s behind.”

Laird Hamilton

“Never drive away from good surf.”

Roger Sharp

“Work to surf, surf to work!”

Andrew Cotton

“Surfing to me is like playing music. You play different melodies with different boards.”

Skip Frye

“The three most important things in life: surf, surf, surf.”

Jack O’Neill

“The best wave of your life is still out there.”

Steve Hawk

“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 surf-board, and a wave.”

Naima Green 

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

Matt Warshaw

“Surfing is a way to be free.”

Lisa Andersen

“If you’re having a bad day, catch a wave.”

Frosty Hesson

“Surfing in crowds is like mind over matter. If I don’t mind it don’t matter.”

Brodus Rogers

“Wiping out is an underappreciated skill.”

Laird Hamilton

“Style is a natural extension of who you are as a person.”

Mark Richards

“It’s all about where your mind’s at.”

Kelly Slater

“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

“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

“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

“Surfing to me is like playing music. You play different melodies with different boards.”

Skip Frye

“Surfing leads you through life, especially when you’re young and with hope in your heart.”

Tom Blake

 “Wiping out is an underappreciated skill.”

Laird Hamilton

“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

“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 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

“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 

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

Matt Warshaw 

“Surfing for me is more than my lifestyle; it’s my passion, my love, and it’s a part of me.”

Bethany Hamilton

“It’s all about where your mind’s at.”

Kelly Slater