Hurricane Idalia Attracts Surfers

Hurricane Idalia Attracts Surfers

Surfers take advantage of dangerous rip currents, high tides of Idalia

As usual, some surfers just can't resist the allure of giant waves, even if officials warn that might not be anyway to effect a rescue.  

Tropical storms and hurricanes often produce ocean wave conditions that attract surfers. The risk for serious injury or death from "storm surfing" has not yet been described in the medical literature. This study aimed to quantify deaths attributable to storm surfing along the coasts of North America and the Caribbean islands.

 review of cases of surfing-related fatalities reported in the tropical cyclone reports of the National Hurricane Center from 1995 to 2020. Media reports were used to identify additional cases and, when available, to provide supplemental demographic and geographical information.

There have been 27 reported storm surfing deaths during this time period. Among those for whom demographic data were available, all of the decedents were male and three were children younger than 18 years old. All but three of the deaths occurred among those surfing Atlantic storms, and one-third of the fatal injuries occurred off the coast of Florida. Eight deaths occurred while surf conditions were affected by tropical storms that did not reach hurricane status.

Both tropical storms and hurricanes produce dangerous surf conditions that have resulted in fatal injuries among surfers during the past 25 years.