What is Crowd Surfing?

Sheri Cyprus

Crowd surfing is the name given to the activity of a person being lifted up and propelled by audience members' hands to move across the crowd over their heads. Crowd surfing typically occurs at rock or punk concerts. Sometimes, the crowd surfer is a performer, but many times it is an audience member.

Crowd surfing is a common occurrence at rock concerts.
Crowd surfing is a common occurrence at rock concerts.

Those who engage in crowd surfing, either by surfing or by helping others to surf, run many risks. Crowd surfing is illegal in some countries and not well tolerated in others. Even if it is legal, concert security often still has the right to throw crowd surfers out of the concert. People helping crowd surfers can accidentally get kicked in the face or harmed by rough or sharp pieces of clothing or accessories. The crowd surfer runs the risk of being groped sexually or hit aggressively.

Many venues have banned crowd surfing due to the possibility of injuries.
Many venues have banned crowd surfing due to the possibility of injuries.

Jewelery and other items may be lost or stolen while crowd surfing. Sometimes, the crowd may remove one or both of the surfer's shoes, especially if there is a strong potential of being badly kicked. If a crowd surfer falls, he or she can receive injuries as well as cause them to others. For those willing to take the risks of crowd surfing, they should wear softer shoes that are securely fastened and clothing without large zippers and rough belt buckles. Money and valuables should be left with a trusted friend or left at home.

The most difficult part of crowd surfing is getting up into the crowd. It's difficult to do that alone unless you can jump from the stage. Two taller people can help if they allow you to lift yourself up to their shoulders. The crowd is then likely to see you and be prepared to help you crowd surf. It's never a good idea to try crowd surfing if the crowd doesn't seem friendly about the idea or if you’re a heavy person!

Crowd surfing after the concert is over is also not a good idea because people may not want to help you just to get you to the exit door faster. Crowd surfing is always done at your own risk. It should never be thought of as just harmless fun. Since crowd surfing is usually done in the center of the audience, those who wish to avoid it are probably best to stay near the edges of the concert hall or auditorium.

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Discussion Comments


Though the article didn't specifically mention this, does the audience choose who to crowd surf, or do you let them know that you want to be crowd surfed? If the former is true, concerts are a lot more dangerous than I thought.

Obviously, the main purpose of a concert is to listen to the music, but between everything that can occur in between (such as mobs and thefts), you're always entering at a risk.


Does anyone know how long crowd surfing has been around for? It didn't seem that popular a few years ago, and seems like more of a trend that has caught on very fast. Also, the funny thing is that there are a lot of strange trends that go on at concerts that don't get discussed too often. The public needs to be more aware of these incidents, so that they can be prepared ahead of time.


Although I have seen crowd surfing on TV before, I didn't know that it was dangerous, and that it came with so many risks. On another note, the only time I've seen crowd surfing is in cartoons, and the article does a good job at separating fiction from reality, Unlike TV shows, where it looks generally harmless and fun, in reality, its full of risks, thefts and injuries, The next time I go to a concert, I will keep and eye out for this.

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