Can you surf at night? Yes, it’s amazing (but make it safe)

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  28.03.2022
I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Have you ever wanted to surf at night?

Well, the good news is that yes, you can surf at night and it’s an amazing experience.

Movies make it seem like an out-of-this-world experience but luckily, you can experience the feeling for yourself.

Can you surf at night? Yes, it's amazing (but make it safe)

There’s something about surfing at night that just feels a little bit more adventurous and exciting.

Maybe it’s the mystery of not knowing what you’re going to find when you get out there: the waves might be bigger, the water might be colder, and other people might be scarce.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, surfing at night is definitely the way to go. The waves are bigger and the water is colder, so it’s definitely a challenge. But that’s what makes it so much fun!

Is it possible to surf at night?

Before we get into the details of this topic, it’s crucial to note that there aren’t many surf spots where you can surf at night.

If you want to try it, you’ll need to do some research and find a location that allows you to surf at night.

The presence of a full moon and artificial lights determines whether or not a certain site is suitable for night surfing.

These characteristics are essential because they allow surfers to see incoming waves and catch them.

If you have close to zero visibility, you cannot surf safely. You also need to be on the lookout for marine life (i.e sharks).

Surfing late at night is certainly doable, and the experience is quite satisfying.

However, you must be aware of the risks associated with night surfing. As a result, if you’re in a new environment, you should never paddle out in the dark.

Always go surfing in regions where you’re confident the conditions are good enough for some wave riding.

All wave portions, where any rocks or jetties are present, as well as every twist and turn in the reef, are important factors to be aware of.

The sandy points or calm beach breaks are your best chances when surfing at night. Low lighting might also make it difficult to see boils and other anomalies.

As a result, the ideal way to surf at night is to anticipate a wave.

How to surf at night: Tips for beginners

Ready to try surfing at night? Here are some tips to help you stay safe and start surfing.

Light conditions

First and foremost, you need to be able to see the waves.

This is why it’s important to only go surfing at night in areas that have good lighting. If you’re in a new environment, you should never paddle out in the dark.

Always go surfing in regions where you’re confident the conditions are good enough for some wave riding.

Look for well-lit piers or another light source, a clear sky, moonlight, or bring your own artificial light.

A good option is surfboard mountable led lights that can provide sufficient light for a night session.

What is a surfboard mountable led light?

It is a small, battery-powered light that can be attached to the surfboard.

The light illuminates the area around the surfer, providing better visibility of oncoming waves and other potential hazards.

They are waterproof and shockproof, making them ideal for surfing conditions.

Surfboard lights come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. You can choose from a variety of options to find the perfect one for your needs.

Another great option is a waterproof LED light strip you can install around your surfboard as a home DIY project. LED lights provide plenty of light and look like glow sticks.

You can also wear some glow sticks around your ankles and wrists so other people can see you during night surfing.

Waxing your board

In order to stay afloat, you need to make sure your surfboard is properly waxed.

This will help you maintain traction on your board and avoid slipping off.

How to wax your surfboard for night surfing?

The best way to wax your board is to use a cold water surf wax. This type of wax will harden in the colder water temperatures and provide you with the traction you need.

If you’re not sure how to apply cold water wax, here’s a quick tutorial:

  • First, rub the block of wax back and forth against the rough side of the board.
  • Then, take the wax and apply it liberally to the top of your surfboard. Make sure you cover all of the surfaces well, especially the rails.
  • Finally, use a cloth to buff the wax until it’s nice and shiny.

Check weather conditions and the temperature

Before you go out, check the weather conditions and make sure the water isn’t too cold.

If it is, make sure to wear a wet suit to keep warm.

Night surfers can easily get too cold because you can underestimate just how cold it is. This is especially important during the winter months.

Find the right waves

As mentioned earlier, you need to find a spot that allows you to surf at night.

This means finding an area with good lighting and waves that are big enough for you to ride.

If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start small and work your way up.

You should also avoid surfing in areas with rocks or other hazards that you can’t see in the dark.

Stay close to shore

When night surfing, it’s always best to stay close to shore. This way, if something happens, you can swim back to land quickly.

Be careful of shark attacks, especially at dusk or dawn when these animals are most active.

So, you’re probably wondering ‘is surfing at night dangerous when it comes to animals?’

A night’s surf can also be a bit dangerous because you can never be sure what the sea or ocean creatures are up to. That’s why it’s best to stay near the shore.

If you’re an experienced surfer, then you probably know how to handle yourself in most situations, even at night.

However, for beginners it’s always best to play it safe and surf in familiar territory.

Pack the right supplies

In order to make sure your night surfing experience is a good one, pack the right supplies.

This includes a surfboard, wax, a light, water and snacks, and a first-aid kit.

If you’re surfing in cold weather conditions, you’ll also want to pack a wet suit.

Make sure you bring enough supplies with you so you’re not left stranded on the beach.

Many surf resorts will have extra information about night surfing you can check.

Avoid river mouths

When surfing at night, you should avoid river mouths and other dangerous areas.

This is because these areas can have strong currents that can be difficult to swim in.

There are also often a lot of rocks and other hazards in these areas that you can’t see in the dark.

So, make sure to do your research and avoid these areas when night surfing.

Take a friend

When surfing at night, it’s always best to take a friend with you, or at least be in constant communication with someone.

This way, you have someone there to help you if something goes wrong. If you don’t have a friend with you look for a fellow surfer when you’re on a night surf.

Your friend can also help keep you safe by keeping an eye on the conditions and keeping you away from any dangerous areas.

A friend can also provide a source of artificial lighting from the shore or tell you to get out of the water immediately if there’s some danger approaching.

Is surfing at night dangerous?

Surfing at night can be exciting and fun ways for an enjoyable experience.

It is portrayed in films as exciting and romantic and most bigtime surfers like to share stories of their best night surf experiences.

People like night surfing but most also know it is risky.

I noticed many people make the mistake of venturing out into water early in the morning without preparing well.

Are surfers at night safe? I don’t think so. In most cases, the surf can be dangerous. It’s generally unsafe to surf at night due to the lack of visibility.

But, if you can, head to surf resorts.

Many beaches offer lighting that’s specifically designed for surfing during the sunless hours.

Although this may not seem quite as tranquil or interesting as surfing under the moonlight and making you feel like you’re sitting in a stadium, it’s a safer option when going night surfing.

What makes surfing at night unsafe?

As noted previously, it’s usually unsafe to go surfing during darkness due to a lack of visibility.

Darkness at night can often make surfing difficult. It makes surfers more vulnerable to obstacles like piers and boats.

It is always necessary to remain close to obstacles not only to avoid collisions but also to avoid dangerous currents which often occur close to obstacles in the sea.


Night surfing is a fun activity no doubt and it’s a great way to mix up your surfing routine.

However, there are some things you need to keep in mind before hitting the waves after the sun goes down.

Make sure you have the proper lighting, stay aware of your surroundings, and take into account how the darkness will affect your surfing.

If you can go on nights with clear skies, you might get enough light from the moon and stars. Just be sure to stay clear on other surfers who can be riding really close.

If you’re feeling adventurous, give surfing at night a try-just make sure you’re prepared for the challenge!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Kauai Surf Report is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new sports with everything surfing at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2019 to help loyal readers with surfing and water sporting tips.