Surfing is a great way to experience the power and the energy of Mother Nature. It’s also fantastic exercise and if you’re surfing on a hot summer day, with the sun popping over the horizon and the rays beating down, it’s an experience like no other.
But that experience can be beaten, and that’s where night surfing comes in.
It’s a unique way to surf and to experience your favorite sport from a new perspective.
What is Night Surfing?
As the name suggests, night surfing is simply surfing at night. You can surf in the dead of night under the light of a full moon or just as the sun is going down.
A night session is unlike any other surfing experience. You have limited visibility and the waves always seem to look bigger and hit harder.
It’s like when you’re a child and you’re home all alone. Everything that seemed innocuous throughout the day begins to take on a nefarious edge—the coat stand that looks like a serial killer; the fighting alley cats that sound like blood-curdling screams. When you’re on the water, you’re surrounded by darkness and everything feels more intimidating and ominous.
It’s wonderful, but it’s also challenging. If you enjoy the peace and mystery of the night, and you have the skills and quick reactions needed, then surfing a night is an experience not to be missed.
What are the Benefits of Surfing at Night?
You’re probably thinking that “small waves that seem big”, “intimidating surroundings” and “poor visibility” doesn’t sound very enticing.
If you wanted to make life harder for yourself, you could just wear a blindfold, right?
But it’s so much more than that. Firstly, you’re not surfing in complete darkness—that’s never a good idea. You’re surfing under the light of the moon, and as it reflects off the water it will usually provide sufficient light to guide you.
The real benefit, though, is that you don’t have to contend with dozens of surfers. Other surfers can make the waves more dangerous, and it can be a challenge to stay out of their way.
Unless everyone in your local area is reading this guide and/or has the same idea as you, there’s a good chance that the surf spot will be devoid of other boarders.
Surfing at night is also a calming experience. More importantly, it’s something different, something unique. If you like talking about your experiences and making your friends jealous but are struggling to find activities that they haven’t done, night surfing could be ideal.
Is it Dangerous to Surf at Night?
Most of the dangers of surfing are also present with night surfing. The only exception is that you don’t need to worry about colliding with other surfers.
The additional problems with night surfing stem from the low light and poor visibility. When you can’t see where you’re going, you’re more likely to lose your board, suffer a big wipeout, and hurt yourself.
Sharks are also more active at night, and if there are sharks in the water, you will be a prime target for them as there won’t be any other surfers to distract them.
Five Tips for Night Surfing
To ensure the best experience possible when night surfing, keep the following tips in mind:
1. Read About Surf Spots in Advance
You should never approach a night surfing spot unprepared. Before you leave, make sure you know everything about the spot, including the approximate size of the waves, the temperature of the water, the topography of the area, and how you can get help if you need it.
2. Be Prepared
Make sure you have a good board, a leash, and a suitable wetsuit.
3. Tell Someone
Tell your friends, partner, or family members where you are going before you leave. Give them the location and let them know what time you expect to return.
4. Take Someone
You should never surf alone, and that’s especially true when you’re surfing in the dark. Take someone with you and make sure you keep your distance. The trick is to have someone who can watch you and help you, and not someone who could run into you.
5. Wait for Good Visibility
Surf just as the sun is going down or when there is a full moon. It will ensure that you’re not surfing in complete darkness. After all, you need enough light to actually see the waves and know where you are going.
Has Anyone Died Surfing at Night?
Surfing deaths are uncommon, but there have been several famous incidents over the last few decades. Most of these have occurred during day sessions, but that’s only because day surfing is much more common.
There have been a couple of cases of night surfing deaths, however. In one incident, two brothers were surfing off of Topanga State Beach when they lost track of each other. One of the men later discovered his sibling face-down in the water and while he was able to drag him to the shore and perform CPR, it wasn’t enough.
Both of the surfers were described as highly skilled and in very good condition. It shows you just how dangerous night surfing can be and how important it is to be cautious and make sure your fellow surfer is in sight at all times.
Is it Bad to Surf at Sunset?
Not at all! In fact, many great surf sessions are planned during sunset, as there is some good swell in the water and you still have enough light to guide you.
How to Get the Best Surf Breaks During Night Sessions
As noted above, of the most important things that you can do is research the location and understand it. Look into nearby beaches and surf breaks, study them, and become a master of day surfing before you venture out into the night.
It’s also important to search for light sources, such as a well-lit pier.
Summary: Night Surfing Under a Full Moon
Life is all about experiences. It’s about doing the things that surprise you and make you happy, and sometimes that means doing something that no one else is doing.
Night surfing is a great example. It gives you a chance to do something that most people don’t experience, something that makes you feel more connected and at peace. It’s also incredibly fun.
So, whether you’re looking for a spiritual connection or just a unique experience, try night surfing tonight!