Is Surfing Like Snowboarding?

Surfing vs Snowboarding

Many people think that if they are good at surfing, then snowboarding should come naturally. However, just because you have a talent for one extreme sport does not mean you have mastered them all. There may be a few similarities between surfing and snowboarding, but there are more differences than you imagine.

Surfing and snowboarding are extreme sports that use a board as the device you ride on. However, the way you hold yourself, your movements, and the methods used to get moving are all different. Each one also comes with a separate set of challenges and dangers. Here are some things to consider when looking at surfing vs. snowboarding.


So, is surfing like snowboarding? There are a few similarities. Many people take up one of the sports because they love doing the other so much. Here are some of the biggest things that surfing and snowboarding have in common.

Extreme Sports

Surfing is like snowboarding in that they are both extreme sports. An extreme sport is any activity that involves a lot of risks. These sports usually involve heights or high speeds. People like to do them because they get a rush of energy front he adrenaline produced while doing them.


The boards used in both sports are another way surfing is like snowboarding. A surfboard and a snowboard are both used as the vehicle the rider uses. However, the board designs are different, and the skills used to control them are entirely unique.

There is also a big difference in how the board is used. In snowboarding, you use your legs much more, so the board is strapped to your feet to help steer it. Surfers can’t do that with their board, as it would pose a drowning risk.

Physical Fitness

Both surfing and snowboarding require a high level of skill and physical fitness. Someone who is not in good shape will not only have trouble doing either. Not only would they be unable to do many basic movements, but they could get injured easily.


The differences between surfing vs. snowboarding far outweigh the similarities. From the way the board is used to the dangers that come with it, most will tell you that they are two entirely different sports.


How you position your body when using a surfboard is much different than on a snowboard. In surfing, you start by laying on your board before getting up to get into position. With snowboarding, you are standing the entire time. Weight distribution is also different, with surfers focusing most of their body weight on the back while snowboarders move to the front.


Both sports have specific places where they are done. With surfing, you head to the ocean to take advantage of the swells, tides, and waves. Snowboarding is generally done in the mountains using a snow-covered downward slope.

Is Surfing Harder Than Snowboarding?

Surfing is more difficult to master than snowboarding. Learning to surf is more than just getting in the water and waiting for a wave to pick you up. You must learn to read the waves and know when a good one is about to form. 

That is not to say that snowboarding is an easy skill to pick up. However, if you get the right equipment and continue going down hills, you will eventually get better. It does not take the same concentration and learning as developing good surfing skills.

Does Surfing Feel Like Snowboarding?

While many of the balancing techniques learned in these sports can be used in both, surfing has a much different feel than snowboarding. 

When you are sliding down a mountain on a snowboard, you feel the cold air, and it feels like you are gliding. With surfing, many people describe the few seconds on top of a wave as feeling like they are flying. The board is very wobbly beneath them, but the few seconds before the wave comes apart, they feel as though they are floating.

Is Snowboarding Easy If You Surf?

Most surfers who have decided to take up snowboarding have found it an easy skill to master. They start the sport with an advantage since they already have a decent knowledge of how to hold their body on a moving object, and their balancing skills are exceptional. They have much more knowledge than the typical beginner, so it is not surprising that they would learn the additional skills rather quickly.

Is Snowboarding More Like Surfing or Skateboarding?

Snowboarding and skateboarding both use boards, but the similarities end there. Some people who have done both say there are things they both have in common. Ultimately, the differences between the two are more considerable. 

One of the most significant differences is the way you fall from both boards. With a skateboard, most of the time, you will step off the board and come to a halt. A snowboard is strapped to your feet, so you go where it goes.

Final Thoughts

When comparing surfing vs. snowboarding, there are a lot of similarities. They’re both extreme sports, and they have their own sets of dangers. Some people fall on one side of the fence or the other, and some enjoy doing both. There is a lot that you learn when you do one that can help you be better when you start learning about the other. 

If you like to surf and it gets your adrenaline pumping and your heart racing, you will probably enjoy snowboarding. The balancing skills you learn on the water will make you better when you start riding down the side of a snow-covered mountain. You can master either sport if you apply your skills from the other and practice.

Interested in Learning to Surf?

Here at Pacific Surf School, our team of professional surf coaches offer surfing  lessons for all levels of experience, with locations throughout San Diego (Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, La Jolla) and Los Angeles, as well as international (Nicaragua and Costa Rica)

Book a lesson with us today and learn to surf with Pacific Surf School!

Surf instructor teaching a group of surf students


Read on to learn the most frequently asked questions about the differences between surfing vs snowboarding.

Learning to master surfing is generally considered more difficult than snowboarding. 

Both sports involve riding a “board”, and the position that you place your feet on your board is similar for both sports. However, surfing involves many more elements including the ability to read the ocean, paddle, catch a wave and stand up – to name a few!

We may be a little bias in answering that question, but ultimately both are great sports and involve fitness, fun and being outdoors (but yes, we feel surfing is more fun!).

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