Top 10 Ways To Surf Without An Ocean


Mother Nature isn’t dependable, so for those who need to ride the wave even when the water is flat as glass, we have a list of the top ten ways you can surf without those undependable ocean waves.  Surfs Up!

10. Ride A Tsunami Created By A Collapsing Glacier

Professional surfers Garrett McNamara and Kealii Mamala hung out where Child’s Glacier in South-Central Alaska meets the ocean.  For three weeks they waited for the perfect wave to be created by dropping huge pieces of ice.  For hours at a time, they waited in the freezing water, hoping a huge chunk of ice would fall off the glacier and into the water creating a nice tsunami they could surf.  Finally they got their wish – oh did they get their wish.

9. Surf Simulators

Popular at festivals and special events, surf simulators act on a similar mechanism as rodeo bulls found at bars and clubs.  Think its just blind luck?  For professional surfers this is easy as riding a bike but, for the amateur, its just asking for a case of bruised pride.

8. Water Park

At water parks around the world, people are inventing bigger and bigger wave machines.  The Siam Park in the Canary Islands of Spain is said to be best and biggest water park in the world.  At 18.5 hectares (46 acres), the park has an attraction where a perfectly formed giant wave is directed down a canal that produces even, timely waves every few minutes.  These can be surfed at will, without that pesky danger of being a snack for a great white shark.

7. Munich River

Often rivers will create a standing wave that can be easily surfed without having to paddle out into the ocean.  In Munich, miles from any ocean, residents have been surfing the Eisbach River for decades.  The standing wave even has an annual surfing competition.

6. Surfing Indoor Standing Waves

Taking the same concept of natural standing waves, many wave parks are creating indoor standing waves that involve massive amounts of water flowing over a wave-shaped object.  Some are formed with curls, while others are just a gentle rise that can be surfed with little skill or danger.

5. Surfing On A Boat’s Wake

With the right skill level, you can even surf on any large surface created by a passing wave.  I’m not talking about water-boarding: this is free-style surfing, off the boat wake.

4. Surfing Machines

Increasingly, there are various machines that don’t require water but mimic the affect of waves and allow surfers to practice or learn how to ride a wave without ever getting wet.  One method is spinning brushes that allow a surf board to “float” across the machine, while another is like a giant running machine that is curved like a wave.

3. Kite Surfing

In the 90s, Laird Hamilton and Manu Bertin popularized kite surfing in Hawaii.  Using a kite as a means of propulsion has been around for decades, but the technology to have a safe device for surfing water finally emerged when the Legaignoux brothers showcased a new type of inflatable kite.

2. Tidal Bore Surfing

A Tidal Bore is when the incoming tide creates a huge wave that soars up rivers.  It is a fairly rare phenomenon, affecting rivers around areas with a tidal range of 6m (20ft).  The Amazon has one, as does the Turnagain arm of Cook Inlet in Alaska.   The largest Tidal Bore wave is on the Qiantang River in China.  Called the Silver Dragon, it rolls in at 40 kilometres (25 mi) per hour and can reach heights of up to 9m (30ft).

1. Hawaiian Beach

At Waimea River, Hawaii, whenever a strong storm bashes the beach, the sand creates a natural dam that blocks a calm local river.  Surfers then slowly dig a channel to allow the now-large reservoir of water to drain into the ocean.  The way the water drains creates surf-able standing waves until the reservoir is drained.

Written By Yosomono who also writes for

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  1. Balance boards (i.e. the indo board, or the chakra board) are also good for this purpose. You can use them anywhere with a flat smooth surface, and they supposedly simulate surfing.

  2. When I was much younger I found it a lot more fun to surf in a boat’s wake than water ski–A lot less tiring also.