Seven Tips for Night Surfing

Is your local surf spot crowd­ed dur­ing day­light? If you are stuck surf­ing a break that feels more like a heav­i­ly pop­u­lat­ed metrop­o­lis, check out the fol­low­ing tips aimed at help­ing you safe­ly shred when the sun don’t shine.

Select a Spot You Know
Get­ting a spot wired is hard enough in broad day­light. At night, it’s even more chal­leng­ing. You should nev­er pad­dle out in the dark unless you are inti­mate­ly famil­iar with how the waves break. You need to know every rock, jet­ty, and twist and turn in the reef. Sandy points and mel­low beach breaks are the safest options.

Surf Mel­low, Pre­dictable Waves
Night surf­ing will push your lim­its. Low light makes waves seem larg­er and faster and night surf ses­sions are always a bit spook­i­er and more chal­leng­ing. Stick with mel­low, pre­dictable waves and con­sid­er it a chill surf sesh.

Full Moon Surf
A full moon on a clear night pro­vides enough light to iden­ti­fy incom­ing waves and poten­tial haz­ards. Plus, surf­ing under a full moon is a unique­ly beau­ti­ful experience.

Seek Out Ambi­ent Light Sources
If you are surf­ing in a devel­oped area you can prob­a­bly find a man-made source that will pro­vide suf­fi­cient light. Piers, board­walks, con­struc­tion sites, and street­lights are some­times bright enough to illu­mi­nate a lineup.

Bring Your Own Light Source
If you’re for­tu­nate enough to surf beyond the scope of urban light pol­lu­tion, you can use car head­lights, con­struc­tion lights, or portable sta­di­um lights to illu­mi­nate a peak on a clear night.

Bring a Buddy
Since night surf­ing is inher­ent­ly a bit riski­er, you would be wise to employ the bud­dy sys­tem. It will be dif­fi­cult to see each oth­er, so con­sis­tent vocal com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the best way to avoid collisions.

Don’t Get Eaten
Many marine crea­tures feed at night, and low light may make it dif­fi­cult for hun­gry crit­ters to dif­fer­en­ti­ate you from their pre­ferred food. If you surf in the dark, don’t wear shiny jew­el­ry, unless you’re com­fort­able with turn­ing your­self into a giant fish­ing lure. Con­sid­er stay­ing away from waters where sharks like to hang.