Drones slowly taking over the Sport of Surfing

By Doug Williams
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Drones slowly taking over the Sport of Surfing

Doug Williams

The scope of technology has been long imagined to have few bounds and limits and this recent decade is evidently proving this perspective. From smartphones to airlines and from simulation galaxy destroying games to warfare, technology is seemingly ruling life with impunity.

The daunting aspect of this slow takeover is the replacement of previously untouchable aspects of our lives now being pushed aside for these technological advancements. In this instance, surfing; what comes to mind when one create a mind’s eye image of someone surfing? Do any of those images include drones?

Recently a bunch of videos have been surfacing on the web showing enthusiasts using small drones for surfing, very similar to the way kites are used for taking advantage of the wind. Drones are getting everywhere; from delivering food to your apartment to capturing breath-taking images over Niagara Falls, bombing terrorists from the sky up above and finding survivors of disasters. But surfing? The sport that only relies on the wind and water movement, hence the name surf is now on the verge of an upgrade, by drones.


There are companies popping up and manufacturing a whole host of drones with varying applications. The surf drones are not special other than being a bit beefed up; they have a bit more strength than your normal picture taking ones, but they look very similar to the other drones.

The principle is simple; the surfer ties a cord to the back end of the drone then it flies over the water dragging the surfer behind it. Ideally, the drones have a customizable path and can react to any obstructions, while other operate on a pre-programmed path that the surfer installs, often just using his smartphone prior to the surfing adventure.

Unlike the wind, these drones do run out of battery power (the only thing that critics of futurism like about such machines) hence limiting the scope of surfing to minutes rather than hours. These drones are occasionally customized by the surfers or by companies producing standard drones and upgraded with the capability of carrying a payload of up to 20-pounds, not counting the weight of the battery.

These drones are fully capable of towing a surfer behind but the adventure is often short-lived as the most advanced drones can perform efficiently for no more than ten minutes. The ability of a drone to carry a surfer depends on its payload capability and the battery weight.

There is a whole load of debating going on in the surfer circles regarding this radical shift in the sport of surfing. Some suggest that the whole beauty of surfing is relying on the wind, other just want to go with the flow.


example of a drone
example of a drone

The wind is unpredictable and makes the surfer feel like they have conquered the wind, one of the most powerful forces of nature. While others argue that innovation and upgrade must not be stopped and use of drones in surfing should be encouraged to open new frontiers for this enthusiastic game. What do you think?

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