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.
- 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.
- In 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.
- In Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, the heroes have to lava surf across the Lethal Lava Land in order to reach the last level.
- In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Thorin rides a wheelbarrow on molten gold at one point.
- During the climactic duel on Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith, Anakin and Obi-Wan surf a lava river on droids that have small-scale Deflector Shields to protect them from melting.
- In Look to Windward, lava rafting is an extreme sport that citizens of the Culture participate in on unfinished habitats.
- This occurs in the How to Train Your Dragon novel How to Twist a Dragon's Tale when Hiccup is escaping from Big Bad Alvin the Treacherous by riding the lava of a volcano away from him.
- The Eleventh Doctor, in the short video "Pond Life", manages to escape from a couple of squads of Sontarans this way.
- Several characters in BIONICLE participate in the sport of lava surfing with no adverse effects. Handwaved in that they're cyborgs, most of whom have some form of heat resistance.
- Only Matoran of fire, who have a greater heat resistance (as per Required Secondary Powers), do it for sport. Other characters surf on lava only if needed to escape. It was also mentioned that Toa of fire could survive a few seconds in lava. No one thinks that it is stupid to surf for sport on a liquid that will kill you if you fall.
- Bayonetta surfs to escape lava in one cutscene, using a mook as a surfboard.
- In Super Mario 64, you can use a Koopa shell to lava surf.
- The course 'Hot Top Volcano' from Diddy Kong Racing 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.
- In 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. Yeah, it's that kind of game.
- In The Lion King, Simba surfs down a river of lava on a stalactite.
- In 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 A-Grav Zoomer segments in Fire Canyon and Lava from Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy has the zoomer come with a heat shield to prevent the duo from being cooked alive. Otherwise, they're essentially using this trope.
- 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!?"
- In 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.
- Link Shield Surfs on a river of magical flame in one episode of the animated The Legend of Zelda.
- In El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, the Riveras and the bad guys escape a volcanic lair by lava surfing.
- Subverted in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Swiss Family Phineas". The characters call it "pink lava", but it's really just sudsy water taken Up to Eleven. Perry rides it out on an ironing board.
- Used in the Scooby-Doo movie Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword, where the only means of Scooby and Shaggy passing through the fire gate is by means of surfing over molten lava.
- Used in the Kung Fu Panda short Secrets of the Masters. Not necessarily surfing, but the three main characters do end up riding down a volcano on a large piece of rock.
- Lavan, the Lava Demon King, from My Little Pony 'n Friends does this. Justified, as...well, he's a Lava Demon.
- Camp Lakebottom: In "Rise of the Bottom Dwellers", Gretchen and Squirt escape the erupting Mount Fittoblow by surfing down the lava flow on a rock.
- The The Legend of Tarzan episode "Tarzan and the Volcanic Diamond Mine" features Tarzan and his friends doing this. Jane questions whether it should be even possible.