Who’s the Fastest Surfer on Tour?

Quiksilver Introduces GPS Tracking For the Snapper Event

| posted on February 07, 2011

Bede Durbidge tested out the GPS technology last week, and claimed that, "When you're surfing, you don't even know it's there." Photo: Ellis

In an effort to address the ever-plaguing issue of webcast tedium, Quiksilver has announced that for the upcoming Quik Pro Gold Coast they will be embedding GPS devices in the contest jerseys that will report the speed of each surfer on each wave.

“This is a first for a World Tour event,” says Nigel Muscroft, Quiksilver and Roxy Events Manager. “The whole idea is purely to enhance commentary and broadcast, create some further interest, advance the sport of surfing, and find out who really is the fastest surfer.”

The surfers will wear a small device that weighs less than 3 ounces, which is sewn into the jersey and sits between the shoulder blades. The data from this device is relayed back to a computer that displays the speed in real time.

“Bede tested it at fat D’Bah and was clocked at 29.2 kph [18 mph] while doing a massive frontside air,” says Muscroft. “The speeds at Snapper or Kirra should well exceed 35 kph [21.7 mph].”

It isn’t compulsory for the surfers to wear the device, and surfers will get the opportunity to try the units out with blank jerseys before surfing their heats for peace of mind in case they are concerned about the comfort factor, but with $2,500 on the line for both the fastest male and fastest female, it’s safe to assume that most competitors will willingly take part.

Will this addition serve its proposed purpose and become a permanent part of the World Tour event stats from here on out? Or will it simply alleviate a few lull-induced awkward silences on the webcasts, and provide a bit of inconsequential data that doesn’t necessarily prove much?

What do you think?

  • Daan van Oosten

    wow, thats cool!


    Just watch out for Johnny Law on the trail. Parko and Fanning are my guesses as tops on the speed dial.

  • drewc

    is this really relevant for us to know as surfers? ask yourselves that. i’ve been surfing for about 27 yrs now. i’m 42 and have never gone longboard on myself yet. i’ll ride a stick as long as possible but imo…speed was never a thing i looked and went …wow, i wish i was the fastest surfer in the world. that’s not surfing. i understand we’re trying to hit mainstream and keep up with all the other xtreme sports out there and with today’s technology we can’t be left behind but like some things are better left unsaid ….things like this shouldn’t even be mustered because surfing shouldn’t be judged by speed. keep up to par with today’s times but keep surfing unique and apart from other sports. it’s a way of lifestyle.

  • Roy Stewart

    Too late. I already hold all past and future speed records riding my 18 foot wooden battleships. Click to see real surfing –

  • Hughie

    I hate it when people say, “this is real surfing, not that.”
    It’s all surfing people, the sport is about riding a wave on a board and if you are doing that you are surfing. Measuring speed of the rider is still surfing. It is just a way to allow our sport to progress with the rest of them. Like it or not, progression and change will always be relevant to our culture.

  • Peter B

    I think the concept is pretty cool and will add a little bit of interest, I don’t think it needs to happen all the time but will make for an interesting talking point. For those that think surfing should not be a competition about the speed, well just because its measured doesn’t mean that judges are going to award anymore points to a wave score for someone who reaches a top speed! Surfing seems to be in an interesting part of its life at the moment, the fight between mainstream and tradition! Some see Nike 6.0 as good and some as bad, but everyone can agree on surfing prize money needs to increase in mens and wowens surfing! Don’t get me started on Julian Wilson not being able to compete at Pipe for the Triple Crown, that would have made the Pipe Masters even better with that battle going on, but tradition won out there, hopefully now they have learned to hold off on announcing wild cards until after Sunset! Anyway I may have gone off track there, i think that measuring speed is a great talking point for the broadcast and not in the judges box, who know what we might find out with surfers charging along waves these days to throw massive airs! My picks for the fastest surfers is Mick Fanning and Adam Melling.

  • http://surfer Kimbo


  • Craig Riggio

    I think this is a good tool for surfing in contests, as a surfer who lives in NY i pretty much am stuck with watching the webcasts online (till Sept), and this can bring some more interesting facts and comments from the broadcasters. I have read up on this and its not just how fast a surfer goes its also distance on a wave and total distance in a heat and also wipe out impacts, so we can see how hard they wipe out. those are all really cool things to hear about in between lulls from the broadcasters. As long as the judges aren’t using this tool to score waves its all in good fun for the spectators and webcast viewers. I cant wait to see who uses this in there heats… Fanning, Boruez, or owen taken it home.

  • Mason

    Mick Fanning. Fastest by far!

  • Adam Mcpherson

    Whoever is going the fastest needs to be laying down a turn or slowing down to get pitted… since when is it cool to haul ass down the line???

    • Tucker

      I couldn’t have said it better

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  • Mike Gaudioso

    yo dis dat kid again….i do it…for my boys…for LBI….i do this shit…..

    fuk all u hatas , i rip and yall cant stop me..facebook me… Mike Gaudioso Randolph New Jersey

  • Nor Cal locc

    anything that allows for tangible, non-judged surfing data will prove to be good measures for the ASP.

    key-word: non-judged

  • juanlu burgos

    yeah it was about time they satisface our curiosity like speed. length of floaters height and distance covered at airs and comparative trayectories as in world rallie cars would do okay as well. decifrate surfing technique is good for pros and fans. more excitement , fun and more arguments to defend our preferred pros ahh i cant wait.

  • kent

    here on the right coast if we go too fast down the line our ride is over quicker then the already quick ride to began with, so no thanks for me….might be cool at mav’s or jaws but not really all that cool on a medium wave where you have to stall/handdrag to stay shacked….


    I guess if your down in a heat real bad you can start to race sections and try to go for broke and win the 2500…

  • Maharichie

    Clocking speed while surfing is a novelty at best. Who the hell cares what mph you’re going. There’s so many variables at play anyway. Clocking someone on a huge tow in wave might be kinda neat to see how fast a wave that big can push you, but on a normal wave, you’re not trying to go fast to beat a timer, you’re trying to go fast to make a section or set up for a turn or an air.

  • mccormick


  • jimbob

    In respect of age Slater is my bet on speed-that mixed with pure style has him leagues ahead of the pack. It would be pretty cool if the guys has microphones like in the Twenty20 cricket so we can hear them talk tactics in between waves….

  • dan

    the best surfers obviously go the fastest, and its cool to know hiow fast that is.

  • sid sanders

    OMG roy stewart KOOK dumb idea too WTF cares

  • pdsf

    i’m more interested in g-forces

  • nlimbaugh

    The slowest surfer should get some cash too.

  • http://surfer kimbo

    couldnt agree more “nlimbaugh” we cant have Roy Powers walking away empty handed.

  • Tony Carson Big Island

    More pro surfing crap. You guys should be more concerned about catching ‘your’ next wave, than worrying about what someone else is doing. The real surfing experience, has never been about competition, or obsessing on other people. Its about catching waves, hanging out at the beach, feeling the salt water and the sand beneath your feet, and all the other good vibes that go with it. Peace..

  • Taylor

    Well, the true speed could only be guaged by a surfer’s speed through the water but… still a cool idea, should add some entertainment value.

  • Dave

    Mick or jordy,but old man Taj is still freaking fast

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