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Lava Surfing

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Don't wipe out.

"Like, check us out, Scoob! We're hanging ten! Ulp, ten thousand degrees Fahrenheit that is!"

This trope is when characters ride on lava.

They usually surf on a floating rock that happens to be nearby, or something flat they happen to have with them, unless they're so cool they don't need any of those things. If the heroes are in the Lethal Lava Land or stuck near Chekhov's Volcano, you can bet this is how they will escape. (Magma Men tend to do this a lot.) Sometimes, the object being used to surf will start to burn up or melt, making the surfer find another board.

See also Implausible Boarding Skills. Often takes place in front of a Climactic Volcano Backdrop. Subtrope of Convection, Schmonvection and Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid. Sister trope to Ride the Lightning.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Pokémon Adventures has the finale of the Yellow Arc, where Yellow lava surfs during the final battle and creates a massive whirlpool of lava that engulfs Lance.
  • Ranma ½: During the midair battle of the Grand Finale, Ranma knocks the Phoenix King Saffron out of the sky and towards the ground. But Saffron's Battle Aura causes the solid rock to gush upwards in a a huge gout of magma; Ranma only survives because the hyper-frozen boulder he had been riding conveniently takes the brunt of the lava, but even it has completely disintegrated by the next panel.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Look to Windward: Lava rafting is an extreme sport that citizens of the Culture participate in on unfinished habitats.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: In How to Twist a Dragon's Tale, Hiccup escapes from Big Bad Alvin the Treacherous by riding the lava of a volcano away from him.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 


    Video Games 
  • Bayonetta surfs to escape lava in one cutscene, using a mook as a surfboard.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day: During the Ugga stage, Conker is knocked out and mugged by a group of cavemen thugs. When he wakes up, he has to chase them through a prehistoric world by surfing over lava on a hoverboard, and then knock them all into the lava with his frying pan to get his money back.
  • Diddy Kong Racing: The course "Hot Top Volcano" can be raced on using either a plane or a hovercraft. If the player chooses to use the hovercraft, they will be required to ride over pools of lava. However, only a plane can be used for the track during story mode.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy 5: One of the bonus dungeons has an NPC that, after talking to, attempts to do this off screen. All that's left afterwards is his skull and surfboard.
  • Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy: The A-Grav Zoomer segments in Fire Canyon and Lava have the zoomer come with a heat shield to prevent the duo from being cooked alive. Otherwise, they're essentially using this trope.
  • Jitsu Squad have the heroes escaping Infernia by surfing on a lava river using shields as boards. And enemy mooks on similar boards will pursue them, culminating with a Chase Fight boss battle against The Dragon, Dash Kobayashi, while moving atop the boiling lava everywhere. What really takes the cake though is the background music, which is literally titled "Surfing on the Lava"!
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Link can lava surf on sinking rock platforms, and even create platforms by dropping water into the lava.
  • The Lion King: Simba surfs down a river of lava on a stalactite.
  • Minecraft: Striders can walk on lava. For traversing the Nether, they can be rather helpful steeds thanks to this ability.
  • Rayman 2: The Great Escape: In one level, Rayman does this...on top of a plum. (This series has a thing about plums.) Interestingly, there's dark lava and yellow lava in this segment, and the yellow lava is hot enough to destroy the plum and kill Rayman.
  • RuneScape has the player doing this during the "Children of Mah" quest. During this, a music track titled "Lava Falls" plays.
  • Sega Superstars: The Lava Lair and Adder's Lair tracks in Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing allows the characters to drive or boat over streams of lava. Poked fun at in this Sonic Short, where Sonic has this to say:
    "Whose idea was it to boat race in hot lava!?"
  • Super Mario 64: You can use a Koopa shell to lava surf in the Trope Namer Lethal Lava Land.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Whilst surfing down actual flowing lava in Real Life is sadly impossible, Volcano Surfing, in which a person surfs down the ashy and hardened lava slopes of a volcano, is a recognised extreme sport, often credited to Transhuman activist and journalist Zoltan Istvan in 2002 though it was popularised a couple of decades earlier, spinning off from sandboarding, also an extreme sport. Popular destinations for lava surfing include Cerro Negro, Nicaragua; Mount Yasur, Vanuatu and Mount Bromo, Indonesia. Note that these as well as other locations, are all active volcanoes, in order to provide the necessary conditions for true lava surfing. It's also more extreme and cool.
    • Just as a general warning but Volcano Surfing is obviously not without its risks. It is recommended to wear boots, long sleeves and long trousers. Goggles and a protective suit are an absolute must on active volcanoes whilst scarves or similar face coverings should be worn to protect dust and/or flying debris. Whilst there have been no reported deaths, there have been cases of broken bones and shredded skin from falling off the board as well as burns from sliding onto hot rock plus general breathing difficulties from inhaling too much dust. So be careful out there!
  • As well as being the progenitor of standard surfing, Hawaiʻi once practised "heʻe hōlua" or "lava sledding". Both a sport and a ritualistic activity for honouring the gods – especially Pele, the goddess of volcanoes and fire, as well as creator of the islands – Ancient Hawaiians used a special sled, known as "Papa hōlua", made from hard woods, kapa cloth and lauhala matting. In the right conditions on the lava slopes or designated rock slides, speeds of up to 50mph (80 km/h) could be reached. As part of the islands' Christianisation process, missionaries brought an end to the sport in 1823 when the last race was documented but there have since been concerted efforts to revive the activity with reports of at least 100 active volcano surfers in Hawaiʻi.