Why Do Surfers Always Run to the Water? (4 Common Reasons)

Why Do Surfers Always Run to the Water

Have you ever wondered why most surfers seem to hit the sand and then run down to the water as though every second counts?

There are multiple reasons why surfers run down to the water – but the most common of these include excitement, momentum, timing, and to warm up their blood before dipping into the cool ocean.

Below we will take a deeper look at why surfers tend to run towards the water, the benefits that it may have, as well as any downsides.

Do All Surfers Run to the Water With Their Board?

Although it seems like a common surfing practice, running to the water is not a necessary action when surfing, and therefore not all surfers do this.

Many surfers have all the time in the world, and others simply enjoy surfing for the relaxation that it provides them.

Adding haste to their water entry can seem pointless to some, and in many cases it is.

That being said, when observing surfers entering the water from the beach, it does seem as though more surfers make their way to the water as quickly as possible.

4 Reasons Why Most Surfers Run to the Ocean

If it is not necessary to run to the ocean, why do surfers lean towards doing it?

Each individual will have their own reason for running to the water, and these reasons will change depending on the day, as well as the conditions that the surfer will be entering into.

1. As a Warm-Up

It is always important to warm up before surfing. As surfing can be considered a workout, it should be treated the same way.

Besides stretching before entering the water, it is a good idea to get the blood flowing around your body.

Running to the water with your surfboard will not make your heart pump (unless there is a large distance to the water), but it will warm you up slightly, and therefore give you an edge before hitting the waves.

2. Excitement

Before entering the ocean for a surf, you should always spend some time observing the waves, watch how the currents work, and take note of how the other surfers in the water are treating the conditions.

As many surfers will spend time in the car park doing this, once they have decided that it is worth paddling out, and where to do so, it can feel like some of the best waves are already lost.

From this point, it is likely that they want to get into the water as fast as possible.

Running to the water in this case is purely an act of excitement, and possibly even out of fear that they are missing out on possible waves.

3. Using Running to Increase Momentum

Often, you will see surfers walk down to the waterline, but slightly before getting to the water, increasing their pace to a run, hitting the water at speed, and jumping onto their boards.

Hitting the water with momentum can help conserve energy as you are propelled forward.

It is easier to gain speed while running on land than it is in the water.

This small but helpful boost forward can help push you past the first wave or two, thus removing the need to duck dive in shallow water.

Remember, the faster you get past the break, the less energy you will need to use before paddling onto your first wave.

4. Timing

As mentioned time and time again, surfing is all about timing.

This is not only true for duck diving, when to paddle onto a wave, and when to stand up.

The moment you enter the water can very often make or break a clean entry.

This is especially true when surfing larger breaks, or waves that are breaking close to the shore.

Attempting to enter the water during a set will leave you crumbled and destroyed by the breaking waves before you even get a chance to make it to the backline.

The best time to enter the water is between sets, and depending on the day, this can often be a relatively short period.

It is common for surfers to wait out a set, and run to the water as the set comes to an end.

This allows them to enter the ocean when the waves are the calmest and therefore makes paddling out significantly easier.

When Should I Run to the Water With My Surfboard?

There are very few times that you should run to the water with your surfboard.

However, there are many reasons, such as those mentioned above, that might encourage you to do so.

As for times when it is necessary, or rather, times when it is recommended, are generally linked to timing.

As mentioned above, when entering the large shore breaks, timing can make or break your entry (and your surfboard).

If the window to enter the water is short, running and hitting the water at speed can be your best friend.

One thing to be aware of, however, is that you should never attempt to do this when surfing over a reef.

Although the timing is more important when entering a shallow or dry reef, the risk of hitting the water at the moment the waves wash back can leave you hitting the reef.

Not only will you destroy your board, but you will likely need to exit the water straight away and take a trip to the hospital.

Furthermore, running along rocks is dangerous in its own right.

Ocean rocks are often slippery from algae. When entering over rocks, you should keep in mind how important timing is, but you should also enter the water well-calculated and slowly.

Are There Any Downsides of Running to the Water?

The main downsides from running to the water with your surfboard are all linked to safety.

From tripping to not knowing what is below you as you enter the water, running is certainly not the safest way to enter the ocean.

Surfboards Increase Chances of Tripping

If you have ever tried running full speed over soft beach sand, you are likely familiar with how easy it is to trip and fall over.

Add your surfboard to this ease of tripping, which throws off your center of gravity, and the chances of you falling drastically increase.

Falling at speed with your surfboard increases the chances of injury, as you now have a hard object to make contact with.

This is why surfers tend to jog to the ocean instead of a full-out sprint.

Know What You Are Entering Into

When hitting the water at speed, there is less chance that you are aware of exactly what you are entering into.

This is especially true when surfing in a new location. If this is the case, it is best not to run to the ocean until you have familiarized yourself with the ocean, as well as the beach.

Furthermore, even when entering your favorite surf location, rocks often move around as the tides change, or you may be jumping straight into hazardous sea life such as a jellyfish.

Knowing your surf site well, along with the current conditions will help reduce these risks, but it should never be forgotten that they exist.

Can’t I Just Take It Easy and Walk?

If you are not comfortable running to the ocean with your surfboard, then there is no reason why you cannot take it easy and walk.

Many people surf for the relaxed feeling that the sport provides, and rushing to the water can often ruin this.

If you want to take it easy and walk to the water, then that is exactly what you should do.

Remember, surfing is an individual sport and can be done in any way that you choose (providing you keep safe, and do not ruin other surfers’ experiences).


Surfers often run to the water with their surfboards for different reasons.

However, some of the more common reasons include their excitement to hit the waves as soon as possible, the ease that entering the water at speed creates, and often to hit the waves with the perfect timing.

That being said, you do not need to run to the water, this is a personal preference, and as a surfer, you are free to make your own choices.

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