BY: ZOE MELNYK
As if surfing wasn’t challenging enough before, these dare devils decided to add fire into the mix—sort of.
Professional surfers Bruce Irons and Sam McIntosh were the first to try this new fad of fire surfing on the Red Bull Minor Threat surf trip in Indonesia. In the videos posted on numerous surfing websites and YouTube, the surfers appear to be surfing like normal, with just a minor change: their boards are on fire, or at least they look like they are.
The supposed huge flame erupting behind the surfers is actually the result of attaching flares to the surfboards. The flares reflect off of the water around the surfers, forming a shape around the surfboard and the wave, creating the illusion of a massive fire bursting in the water.
The idea of lighting up a surfboard began several years ago when LED lights were added to boards, but McIntosh took it to an entirely new level by adding the fiery effect. Although there were some skeptics on the idea, including fellow fire surfer, Bruce Irons, the trial in Indonesia proved to be a success.
The video was actually initially released back in 2011, but has recently been discovered by Reddit users who took hold of the video and began creating gifs that have been circulating the web.
The professionals seem to pull off the task of surfing fire pretty easily, but it’s not that simple. On top of the difficulties of regular surfing, adding a flare to the board gives a whole new set of challenges, as Bruce explains in an online interview. Working with the added weight as well as keeping the flare above water proves to be pretty difficult, even for the professionals. In short, don’t try this at home.
Working with the “fire” on the surfboard isn’t the only issue surfers might deal with—some feel that surfing with the flares is the equivalent of surfing on a neon sign that says “eat me.” Although the chances of actually being attacked by a shark while surfing are relatively low, adding the flares may definitely draw some unwanted attention.
Despite the difficulties and dangers, the stunt has turned out to be an amazing illusion that we’ll be sure to see more of after its recent Internet fame.