The 5 Surfer Personality Types: Which One Are You?

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Ever wondered about the unique blend of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that make you who you are? It’s natural to see ourselves as distinct individuals, but psychology uncovers a different story. It reveals that we often share common traits, fitting into archetypical personality styles. These styles are like clusters of traits shared by many of us. Let’s dive into how these archetypes show up in the surfing world — and see which ones might mirror your own style.

Drawing inspiration from the renowned Big Five personality traits, we’ve crafted a guide that aligns these research-based psychological profiles with the surfing personas you might encounter on the beach and in the line-up. From drifters with a faraway look in their eyes to disciplined athletes meticulously honing their skills, the surfing world is as varied as the human character. Whether you’re a socialite bringing life to the beach or a soulful seeker finding solace amongst the waves, this guide will help you understand the types of surfers around you and, perhaps, a little more about yourself.

So, let’s explore the personas of the surf scene, each a reflection of the Big Five personality traits, and discover: which type of surfer are you?

The Explorer Surfer: Adventurous and Curious

The Explorer Surfer is the embodiment of wanderlust, always on the hunt for new challenges and uncharted shores. This surfer isn’t just riding waves; they’re on a perpetual journey, seeking out hidden surf spots and exotic locales. Their surfing experience is as much about the adventure as it is about the sport, with a deep-seated love for exploration and discovery.

Characteristics of the Explorer Surfer

  • Likes:
    • Traveling to remote surf destinations.
    • Experimenting with different surfing styles and boards.
    • Learning about new cultures and environments.
  • Dislikes:
    • Crowded surf spots.
    • Routine and repetition.
    • Surfing in the same location for too long.
  • Favorite gear:
  • Favorite song:
  • Summary:
    • A surfer who plans an annual surf trip to a new country, always seeking less-known beaches and enjoys adapting their surfing style to the unique conditions of each destination.
  • Typical quotes:
    • “Do you reckon there are waves in…”
    • “Let’s just see what happens…”

Example of an Explorer Surfer: Torren Martyn

Torren Martyn is an excellent example of an Explorer Surfer. Known for his adventurous spirit and his pursuit of surf experiences in remote and often unconventional locations, Martyn embodies the quintessential traits of an Explorer Surfer. His approach to surfing highlights a deep connection with the adventure and exploration aspects of surfing.

Key characteristics that align Torren Martyn with the Explorer Surfer profile include:

  1. Passion for Travel and Exploration: Martyn is well-known for his journeys to remote corners of the globe in search of unique and untouched surf spots. His surfing expeditions often take him to locations that are off the beaten path, embodying the true spirit of exploration.
  2. Embracing Different Cultures and Environments: In his surf travels, Martyn immerses himself in local cultures and environments, embracing the diverse experiences that come with exploring new regions. This open-mindedness and adaptability are hallmarks of an Explorer Surfer.
  3. Versatility in Surfing: Martyn’s surfing style adapts to a wide range of wave conditions and types, showcasing his versatility and willingness to embrace the challenges that come with surfing in diverse locations.
  4. Documenting and Sharing Experiences: Through his surf films and social media presence, Martyn shares his exploratory journeys, bringing to life the adventurous spirit of surfing. His storytelling captures the essence of exploration and the allure of discovering the unknown.

Torren Martyn’s approach to surfing, marked by a quest for adventure, a willingness to venture into lesser-known surf territories, and an appreciation for the diverse experiences that surfing around the world offers, makes him a fitting exemplar of the Explorer Surfer.

The Disciplined Surfer: Methodical and Focused

The Disciplined Surfer approaches the waves with a blend of precision, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of mastery. This surfer is methodical, treating each session as an opportunity to refine their skills and technique. They are deeply committed to the sport, often following a rigorous training routine, and are always analyzing their performance to identify areas for improvement.

Characteristics of the Disciplined Surfer

  • Likes:
    • A structured routine, including regular practice and training.
    • Setting and achieving specific surfing goals.
    • Analyzing and refining techniques after each session.
  • Dislikes:
    • Unpredictable or inconsistent surf conditions.
    • Disruptions to their surfing routine.
    • Surfing without a clear objective or focus.
  • Favorite gear:
  • Favorite song:
  • Example of a Disciplined Surfer:
    • A surfer who wakes up at dawn for practice, keeps a detailed log of their surfing sessions, and spends time watching and learning from surf videos and professional surf competitions to improve their own performance.
  • Typical quotes:
    • “Up for the dawnie tomorrow?”
    • “The best time to surf today will be [exact time].”

Example of a Disciplined Surfer: Kelly Slater

Kelly Slater epitomizes the Disciplined Surfer. Widely regarded as the greatest surfer of all time (THE GOAT), Slater’s career is a testament to discipline, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of excellence in surfing.

Slater’s approach to the sport illustrates many key attributes of a Disciplined Surfer:

  1. Consistent Performance and Longevity: Slater’s career spans decades, marked by consistent high-level performance. This longevity at the top tier of a demanding sport like surfing speaks to his disciplined approach to training, fitness, and technique.
  2. Attention to Detail: Known for his meticulous attention to the technical aspects of surfing, Slater has continuously evolved his style and technique to stay ahead in the competitive surfing world. This focus on detail and constant improvement is a hallmark of a disciplined athlete.
  3. Innovative Mindset: Slater has been a pioneer in various aspects of surfing, from wave pool technology to surfboard design. His willingness to experiment and innovate reflects a disciplined approach to growth and adaptation in the sport.
  4. Mental Toughness: Slater’s mental resilience and ability to perform under pressure are well-documented. His capacity to maintain focus and composure in critical situations is indicative of a highly disciplined mindset.
  5. Training and Physical Fitness: Throughout his career, Slater has maintained an exceptional level of physical fitness, a result of a disciplined training regimen. His fitness level has allowed him to compete successfully against much younger surfers.

In summary, Kelly Slater’s extraordinary career, marked by strategic planning, continuous self-improvement, and an unwavering commitment to his craft, makes him an exemplary model of the Disciplined Surfer.

The Social Surfer: Friendly and Community-Oriented

The Social Surfer finds the true essence of surfing in camaraderie and shared experiences. For them, the beach and the waves are as much about community as they are about the sport. This surfer thrives in the company of others, whether they’re sharing a wave, a laugh, or a post-surf meal. The Social Surfer is the heart and soul of the beach scene, always ready to make new friends and bring people together.

Characteristics of the Social Surfer

  • Likes:
    • Group surfing sessions and social gatherings at the beach.
    • Sharing surfing tips and stories with fellow surfers.
    • Participating in or organizing local surf-related events.
  • Dislikes:
    • Surfing alone for extended periods.
    • Exclusive or overly competitive surfing environments.
    • Spots where the community aspect of surfing is lacking.
  • Favorite gear:
    • The social surfer is likely to ride a custom board by a local shaper. They love interacting with the shaper and supporting local businesses. It is likely that they own a range of craft so they can surf most days.
    • Breaker Boardshorts by Salty Crew
    • 66 Unstructured Hat by Vans
  • Favorite song:
  • Summary:
    • A surfer who is always seen with a group, often organizing beach clean-ups or local surf meetups, and known for their infectious enthusiasm and ability to connect people within the surfing community.
  • Typical quotes:
    • “Let’s all meet at…”
    • “It’s not that crowded…”

Example of a Social Surfer: Stephanie Gilmore

To be an 8x World Champ means that Steph Gilmore is a competitive and disciplined surfer, but her persona and actions also align well with the characteristics of a Social Surfer. She is a connector who brings people together with an agreeable and friendly demeanor.

Here’s why she would be considered a great example of this archetype:

  1. Community Engagement and Approachability: Gilmore is known for her engaging personality and approachability, both in and out of the water. She often interacts with fans, fellow surfers, and the media in a warm and inclusive manner, which is a key trait of a Social Surfer.
  2. Positive Influence and Role Model: As a multiple-time world champion, Gilmore serves as a role model in the surfing community. She inspires both upcoming and seasoned surfers with her athletic prowess, positive attitude, and sportsmanship.
  3. Promotion of Surf Culture and Values: Gilmore actively promotes the culture and values of surfing. She embodies the sport’s spirit of fun, adventure, and camaraderie, often emphasizing these aspects in interviews and public appearances.
  4. Involvement in Surf-Related Activities: Beyond competitive surfing, Gilmore participates in various surf-related events, projects, and campaigns. She is involved in activities that bring the surf community together, whether it’s through competitions, environmental initiatives, or cultural events.
  5. Charismatic and Media-Savvy: Her ability to connect with a broader audience through media appearances and social media also highlights her role as a Social Surfer. She uses these platforms not only to showcase her surfing life but also to engage with and bring together the surfing community.
  6. Encouraging Participation and Growth: Gilmore is known for encouraging participation in surfing, especially among young women. She often speaks about the importance of inclusivity in the sport and works towards making surfing accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

In summary, Stephanie Gilmore’s combination of world-class surfing talent, her engaging and approachable personality, her active role in promoting and participating in community events, and her influence as a positive role model in the sport make her an exemplary Social Surfer.

The Soul Surfer: Peaceful and Reflective

The Soul Surfer is the epitome of serenity and introspection, finding a deep, almost spiritual connection with the sea. This surfer views surfing as more than a sport—it’s a meditative practice, a form of expression, and a path to inner peace. The Soul Surfer cherishes the solitude and the rhythmic dance with the waves, embracing the tranquility that comes with being one with the ocean.

Characteristics of the Soul Surfer

  • Likes:
    • Early morning or sunset sessions when the sea is calm and less crowded.
    • Surfing as a form of meditation and personal reflection.
    • The simplicity and purity of the surfing experience.
  • Dislikes:
    • Overly crowded or competitive surfing spots.
    • The commercialization of surfing.
    • Anything that disrupts the harmony and balance of surfing with nature.
  • Favorite Gear:
    • You know there’s gonna be some retro craft in here! Possibly a Dick Van Straalen masterpiece or a Rob Machado shape like the Too Fish. The soul surfer will ride pretty much anything — and with a smile.
    • Apex trunks by Outerknown
    • Blanket shirt by Outerknown
  • Favorite song:
  • Example of a Soul Surfer:
    • A surfer prefers less crowded beaches and is often seen practicing yoga or meditation on the shore. They surf for the joy and peace it brings to them, rather than for accolades or recognition.
  • Typical quotes:
    • “I [was / wasn’t] feeling the vibe.”
    • “I felt so connected…”

Example of a Soul Surfer: Rasta

Dave Rastovich, often known as “Rasta,” is an excellent example of a Soul Surfer. Renowned not just for his skill (he could easily have been a professional competitive surfer) but also for his deep connection with the ocean and his environmentally conscious lifestyle,

Rastovich embodies many of the key characteristics of a Soul Surfer. Here’s a closer look at why he fits this persona so well:

  1. Connection with Nature: Rastovich is known for his profound connection with the ocean and nature. He often speaks about surfing as a spiritual experience and a way to be in harmony with the natural world. This deep bond with the ocean is a quintessential trait of a Soul Surfer.
  2. Surfing for Joy and Expression: Unlike competitive surfers who are driven by titles and accolades, Rastovich surfs primarily for the joy and personal expression it provides. His approach to surfing is less about competition and more about the experience and the feeling it brings.
  3. Environmental Advocacy: Rastovich is actively involved in environmental activism, particularly in efforts to protect oceans and marine life. His commitment to environmental causes goes hand in hand with the Soul Surfer’s ethos of respecting and preserving the natural environment.
  4. Mindful and Reflective Lifestyle: His lifestyle reflects a mindful, reflective approach, often choosing to live in a way that is in tune with his values and beliefs. This includes choices about where he lives, the projects he engages in, and the way he interacts with the world.
  5. Influence Beyond Surfing: Rastovich’s influence extends beyond his surfing abilities. He inspires others through his way of life, his activism, and his philosophy, encouraging a deeper, more meaningful engagement with surfing and the environment.
  6. Film and Media Projects: His participation in surf films and documentaries often highlights these aspects of his life, showcasing a different side of surfing that is introspective, artistic, and deeply connected to the environment.

In summary, Dave Rastovich’s approach to surfing and life encapsulates the essence of a Soul Surfer. His focus on the joy and spiritual aspects of surfing, combined with his environmental activism and mindful approach to life, make him a quintessential example of this surfing persona.

The Intense Surfer: Passionate and Driven

The Intense Surfer lives and breathes surfing, approaching each wave with a fiery passion and an insatiable desire to excel. For them, surfing is not just a pastime; it’s a quest for greatness, an arena to test their limits and defy the odds. Driven by a deep-seated need to conquer the most challenging waves, this surfer embodies determination, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of perfection.

Characteristics of the Intense Surfer

  • Likes:
    • Taking on big, challenging waves that push their limits.
    • A constant pursuit of improvement and mastery of the sport.
    • High-adrenaline and competitive surfing environments.
  • Dislikes:
    • Easy or predictable surf conditions.
    • Missed opportunities to surf, especially in ideal conditions.
    • Setbacks or failures in their surfing performance.
  • Favorite gear:
  • Favorite song:
  • Example of an Intense Surfer:
    • A surfer who is often the first to paddle out in daunting conditions, spends considerable time training and conditioning for surfing, and may participate in competitive surfing events, always striving to outdo their previous performances. They may be high in neuroticism and prone to anxiety.
  • Typical quotes:
    • “I’m so pumped…”
    • “Get out there!”

Example of an Intense Surfer: Andy Irons

Andy Irons could be considered to fit the Intense Surfer category. Known for his incredible talent, fierce competitive spirit, and passionate approach to surfing, Irons’ surfing style and career exemplify many of the traits associated with this category.

Andy fits this persona because:

  • Highly Competitive: Irons was well-known for his competitive nature, consistently pushing himself to excel against the best surfers in the world. He thrived in competitive environments and was driven to succeed, characteristics typical of an Intense Surfer.
  • Emotionally Engaged: His emotional engagement with surfing was evident. He experienced intense highs and lows throughout his career, indicative of a deep passion for the sport.
  • Driven by Challenge: Irons often excelled in challenging conditions, demonstrating a preference for taking on difficult waves and a desire to push the boundaries of his abilities.
  • Strong Desire for Mastery: His dedication to improving his skills and achieving a high level of mastery in surfing aligns with the Intense Surfer’s relentless pursuit of perfection.

Andy Irons’ approach to surfing, marked by a powerful combination of talent, emotional intensity, and a competitive edge, makes him a fitting example of an Intense Surfer.

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