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Walk on Water

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"I have to pay the ferry, to cross the Galilee
but not my brother (no not him) he walks across for free."
The Arrogant Worms, "Jesus' Brother Bob"

The ability to stand on a liquid as if it were solid ground, which may occasionally have a tactical use, but is usually much more about looking cool. Sometimes, walking on water can have a jiggly effect akin to walking on a waterbed or if the body of water were sufficiently large enough, like a Rubbery World.

A common variant is the ability to only run across water (frequently by Super-Speed characters such as The Flash), which is just as cool, and somewhat more scientifically plausible — high speed is what enables thrown rocks to skip across water and jet-ski boats to (no pun intended) run; in these cases, losing speed or coming to a stop will result in the character sinking, requiring them to swim.note  Characters with flight might achieve a similar effect by hovering just about the surface, and those characters who like Making a Splash might use water powers instead.

The most well-known water-walker is probably Jesus Christ in the Gospels, who casually walked out over a raging sea (a feat few other water-walkers have ever matched — Jesus Was Way Cool indeed) to meet his disciples' boat. Disciple Peter followed suit, but his lack of faith caused him to sink beneath the water and he had to be saved by his master. Despite its Biblical origin, the trope is usually executed without an especially strong Faux Symbolism feel to it, as the primary objective is, once again, about looking cool. This doesn't stop the occasional Baptist-Fundamentalist Moral Guardian from complaining about people other than Jesus being depicted as doing such a thing, despite Peter walking on the water to Jesus almost immediately after seeing him.

Solid Clouds can be seen as a form of walking on water as clouds in the sky often consist of masses of water droplets.

Not to Be Confused with the 2004 Israeli movie of the same title. Compare with Walk, Don't Swim, which is about walking under water. Don't confuse with Waltz on Water, which is the tendency for video game water levels to have waltz music.


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Walking/standing on water


    Anime & Manga 
  • Ah! My Goddess: In the OVA, the first episode opens with Belldandy descending slowly through Heaven's architecture, then standing tiptoe on a pool of liquid, gently rippling it.
  • Awatsuki Maaya from A Certain Scientific Railgun can do this thanks to her esper ability Float Dial, which lets her control buoyancy.
  • The first opening of Cardcaptor Sakura has the title character tip-toeing on a sakura petal that lands on a body of water.
  • A spell utilized by mages, such as Marcille, in Delicious in Dungeon. They use it to cross flooded areas of the titular dungeon. Senshi, whose personal hygiene is so bad it repels magic, finds the spell simply causes him to sink more slowly until he gets cleaned up. The water-walk spell gets weaponized once to eject an underwater monster out of the water to make it vulnerable.
  • D.Gray-Man:
    • Tyki Mikk possesses the power to selectively interact with his environment. This means that, among other things, he can walk on water.
    • Lenalee's movement-based Innocence has a technique that allows her to be able to walk on liquid surfaces. It comes in handy when facing an opponent in the middle of the sea, like it happens during the journey to Japan.
  • In Dragon Ball, Ninja Murasaki puts on canoe-like shoes that let him walk across a pond.
  • Maybe more Moses than Jesus, but in Fullmetal Alchemist, when Hohenheim (who has godlike powers) goes to explore a dangerous cave where his path is blocked by water, he transmutes a smooth path out of the rocks under water and calmly walks across.
  • In Good Luck Girl!, Ranmaru Rindou, due to a childhood trauma, can't swim well but while in a contest and with spirit and determination she masters an ability to run along the surface of the water to beat her opponent.
  • Subverted in an episode of After War Gundam X where it looks like someone is standing in the middle of a lake — only to reveal that he's actually standing right on top of his submarine.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Hamon practitioners can walk on water by focusing Hamon in their feet. The difference between a novice and expert in that regard is that the beginner will sink nearly up to their knees, while a master can keep their legs completely dry. This is shown in Phantom Blood when Jonathan and Zeppeli walk across a lake to chase Poco, and Battle Tendency when Joseph gets in a fight with Lisa Lisa in a canal in Venice.
  • This is a common ability of the ship girls in KanColle 'coz well, you know, they are girls with the spirits of WWII Imperial Japanese navy ships in them. When it came to this, the official 4-koma compared it to ice skating.
    • Ascended Meme: Originally, it was unsure how the ship girls even moved while on water. On Nico Nico Douga, where Miku Miku Dance models became prevalent after the popularity of the game, videos popped up which showed the girls skating on water as a possible way of emulating the propeller on an actual ship. So it is unsurprising that the 4-koma decided to go along with the idea as well.
  • In Make the Exorcist Fall in Love, one of the miracles that the members of the Church are capable of is replicating Jesus's ability to walk on water. Father uses this while rescuing the passengers of a sunken cruise ship.
  • The ghost of the ship captain in March Story makes use of this ability to hunt pirates like he did in real life. As a bonus, if he tap dances on the water he can makes bubbles form that will explode on contact with the pirate's ships.
  • Milked for all it's worth in Naruto. Some of the most climactic battles of the series have taken place over a large body of water. Like Dramatic High Perching, it's related to the "standard" ninja ability to channel chakra into the feet. Sometimes the animators forget that everything else is meant to sink — one filler episode showed huge clods of earth sitting happily on the surface.
  • One Piece:
    • Subverted by Chess of the Wapol Pirates; he first appears, it seems like he's standing on water, but he's actually standing on a submerged submarine.
    • Admiral Aokiji rides his bike across water, but he's An Ice Person so he's actually freezing a path across the ocean. At the beginning of the Paramount War, Aokiji freezes the ocean to prevent the Whiteboard Pirates from getting their ships closer to the Navy Headquarters. This allows the pirates to just walk across the ice.
    • Brook is both fast enough and light enough (thanks to his utter lack of flesh) to run across water without sinking or triggering his Devil Fruit-granted Super Drowning Skills.
  • Seems to be a standard ability for any sufficiently skilled mage or ninja in Negima! Magister Negi Magi. Lampshaded during the Tournament Arc:
    Spectator: Maybe it's just really shallow?
  • Princess Tutu:
    • At the beginning of the first episode, Mytho dances, apparently naked, on top of a lake, with Ahiru watching hidden in the rushes.
    • An underground lake is magically transformed into a dancing stage for the Magical Girl and her Dark Magical Girl rival to have a Swan Lake themed dance-off. (It Makes Sense in Context.) Fakir also uses it to fight crows, but when the battle turns in his favor, Kraehe causes the water beneath him to no longer magically hold his weight, which nearly causes him to drown.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, Suicune can walk on water.
  • In Saint Young Men Jesus explains the time he walked on water as him trying to cope with his fear of having his head underwater.
    "Whatever, I'll walk!"
  • Smile Pretty Cure!'s Ending Theme. From the mark of 0:53 onwards, the Cures are shown dancing on water — and it's a very energetic dance at that rate. It must be seen to be believed.
  • Urusei Yatsura: in the movie Beautiful Dreamer, Lum stands on the surface of the school swimming pool, telling Ataru that she's going to zap him if he doesn't come out on the count of three. It turns out it's all in a dream sequence, but Lum's established levitation ability makes this scene plausible in-universe, and one of the least surreal aspects of the film
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Alice does this at one point. The 4Kids Entertainment dub cut this scene out because they don't allow "religious imagery" even though Alice does this through dark magic.

  • The Birth of Venus (Cabanel): More like reclining on water seeing that there's no indication of a stone bed below her. This is fitting because Venus is born from sea foam so, in a sense, it's normal that she doesn't sink.
  • Circe Invidiosa: Circe, by virtue of being a sorceress, stands on the ocean water as if it were solid. This allows her not to get tainted by the poison she's pouring.

  • Bert and I... have a bit about a man who is very religious. After the preacher gives a sermon about Christ walking on water, he goes to a nearby pond and runs in, up to his neck. Some people passing by ask him how the water is. His reply is "Not bad at all! I took two or three steps before I went down!"

    Comic Books 
  • Near the end of Watchmen, as Dr. Manhattan notes his interest in creating life, he's standing on water. The implication is obvious. In the movie, the walking on water scene is visible in a commercial but lacks the symbolism.
  • Subverted in an issue of Superman: a priest asks him if he's able to walk on water, and Superman admits that yes, he can, but he wouldn't take advantage of the priest's faith like that. Although he does this in the Batcave in Kingdom Come (of course, he technically isn't walking on the water, but using his flight to hover so that his feet just barely touch the water).
  • In Ythaq, walking on water is part of the Water Elemental Powerset.
  • In Transmetropolitan, shoes called "Air Jesus" are actually available, and according to their advertising, allow the wearer to walk on water. They turn out be less good at allowing the wearer to walk upside down on the ceiling.
  • The Eternals of Earth all have the ability to levitate, and while most utilize this power to fly, Betilakk the Interloper (who rarely associates with the others) uses it to walk on water.
  • In one story of Zipi y Zape, the twins trick one friend to attempt to walk on water as them saying that "you need to have the foot as flat as possible". It ends as expected and he calls his father for help he plunges into the river and finds Zipi and Zape are both using stilts
  • X-Factor (2006): Monet does this using her flight powers in #226 while she, Theresa and Longshot are looking for someone. This leads to a brief conversation about Monet's Muslim faith and why she never talked about it much.
  • One of the more notorious manifestations of "Knuckles as Jesus" in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) is when he guides other echnidas to safety by walking on water.

    Comic Strips 
  • Beetle Bailey: Parodied; Sarge is able to do it because the lake is so polluted.

    Fan Works 
  • In Imaginary Seas, being the son of Poseidon allows Percy to harden water into a flat surface he can walk on. He frequently uses this to fight others on the surface of the water where he has a foothold advantage. Due to having the blessing of Poseidon, Caenis has this ability too.
  • A would-be girlfriend to Twilight Sparkle in A Stitch in Time (sequel to Hard Reset) tries to comprehend the idea of dating a mare who 'practically walks on water'. This being Twilight Sparkle, she does indeed do just this. And dares her to walk out onto the lake with her.
  • John does this a couple of times in With Strings Attached. Notably, the first time he does it, he screams "Look at me! Look at me! I'm Jesus!"

    Films — Animation 
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, when she becomes possessed by the crystal, Kida walks on air — she repels the water as the crosses its surface, so the water recedes from under her feet as she hover-walks to shore.
  • BoBoiBoy: The Movie: Ying uses her Super-Speed on the water to propel the group's boat. At first it's to catch up with Adu Du and Probe who are swimming away, then it's to get away from a Giant Squid.
  • In Epic (2013), the lily pads glide to Queen Tara's feet so she has places to step over the water.
  • Frozen (2013):
    • Water freezes everywhere Elsa steps. Once she gains full control of her powers, she goes from trudging through the snow like everyone else to effortlessly walking on top of the snow without leaving footprints.
    • In the sequel, she can walk on the ocean if it's calm enough. Choppy water is too unstable. The horse-like Nokk, on the other hand, can gallop across water faster than a real horse on solid ground.
  • Towards the beginning of Megamind, Metro Man appears to walk on water. In fact, he is floating directly above it: his heels never touch the surface, only his toes do.
  • In Princess Mononoke, Shishigami the Forest Spirit, being a spirit of nature, is able to walk on the surface of his pond. Then again, Shishigami certainly is Crystal Dragon Jesus.
  • Rise of the Guardians shows Jack freezing the water in Tooth's palace as he walks across it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Superman II, in contrast to most alien visitations, when the three Kryptonian criminals touch down on planet "Houston", General Zod lands in a lake. He then proceeds, using his gravity-defying abilities, to rise above and walk on top of the surface of the lake, freaking out an onlooker nearby.
  • Bruce Almighty. When Bruce receives God's powers, one of the first things he does is walk on the surface of a puddle (which he's splashed himself on before). A few minutes later he and God take a stroll on a nearby body of water while the latter explains the rules.
  • In X-Men, when various locations of and children in the Institute are being displayed as Xavier is giving Wolverine the tour, one is shown running (not-superspeed) horizontally across a tadpole pond.
  • Metatron does this at a pivotal moment in the movie Dogma, strolling across a lake as he delivers some comfort to a distraught Bethany.
  • Featured heavily in Wire Fu movies, particularly those which focus on the theme of spiritual enlightenment.
    • A Sword Fight takes place over a lake in one of the several Rashomon stories in Hero (2002). At times, it's only the tips of their swords that need to touch the water in order for them to maintain placement. Somewhat justifiable as this particular fight is imaginary, serving as a "eulogy" by Nameless and Broken Sword to the "defeated" Flying Snow and is made up by the Emperor as part of his theory of what REALLY happened. He's wrong.
    • The climax of The Sword Stained With Royal Blood have Yuen Biao fighting the Big Bad while skipping on surface of water.
    • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon includes a number of scenes of characters skimming across ponds.
  • A great way to symbolically finish the movie Being There with Peter Sellers.
  • Alluded in Lawrence of Arabia. Ali tells Lawrence that instead of wanting the Arabs to do reasonable things, he wants them to walk on water. Later in Deraa, Lawrence walks across a puddle and laughs.
  • Klaatu shortly demonstrates this in the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008).
  • As does Imhotep in The Mummy Returns, over a pool in Karnak.
  • The wuxia movie The Proud Youth has the hero being demonstrated as capable of skipping on the surfaces of water after a lengthy training sequence where he learns a new skill to increase his chi, which works in his favour in the final battle where he fights the main villain on a pool of water.
  • Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled: The Djinn and Lisa are both standing on top of a lake in a vision he projects.
  • Parodied in The Tuxedo when Jimmy absent-mindedly walks across a pool. It turns out that there is a large object just below the water.
  • Ironclad has what is arguably a symbolic example. The film begins and ends with a shot of the king standing ashore with his feet awash, which looks exactly as if he was standing on water. This fits the Medieval idea of the king being anointed by God and thus granted mystical abilities of a saint.
  • RoboCop (1987) has a symbolic variant where the resurrected Murphy walks through shallow water during his showdown with the film's villain, Boddicker. (The entire movie is full of religious symbolism, since the premise is more or less "Jesus of Nazareth in rundown, futuristic Detroit, only with guns.")
  • Subverted in The Diamond Arm. A smuggler who ended up resorting to robbery is stranded on an islet about a kilometer from the shore. Some boy asks him what's wrong and walks away after being told to get lost. Then the criminal notices that the boy walks on water, becomes a born-again Christian and follows him to the shore. But his faith doesn't live long after he discovers it was just a strip of shallow water. See the scene on Youtube.
  • In a scene in Herbie Rides Again, Herbie and his human companions are blocked from leaving the beach by a truck stopped on the only road out, so Herbie takes a detour... into the ocean. A few minutes later and he's worked his way back to the surface, skimming his tires along the water as they try to find their way back to San Francisco.
  • From the Manger to the Cross, being a silent-era movie about Jesus, features Him doing this.
  • Played for Laughs in The Toy. Eric tried to warn Jack that a creek on the Bates property was infested with imported piranhas. Jack sank in, then the piranhas start nipping his clothes. He jumps out and runs across the surface of the water, with his clothes entirely in tatters.
  • Near the end of the farce The Favour The Watch And The Very Big Fish, the nameless pianist, a mentally distressed man who has found an unexpected career as a Jesus Christ "model" and (through various coincidences) appears to be manifesting miraculous healing abilities, unexpectedly finds closure to his quest for Revenge upon a woman who broke his heart long ago and — in full costume and at peace with himself — walks out upon the surface of a city pond. Subverted in that after the first few steps it becomes clear he's sinking into the water; he is finally completely submerged — and doesn't resurface. This may or may not be suicide.
  • Bill & Ted Face the Music has a brief gag where Jesus does this past Washington crossing the Delaware.
  • A mundane version in The Avengers (1998) when our heroes go to Sean Connery's Island Base by walking across the water in a kind of Zorb ball. Ironically Connery had done something similar in Diamonds Are Forever when visiting Blofeld's oilrig lair.

  • Jesus and the Apostles come across a body of water. Jesus strides forward confidently, but when Peter goes he flounders immediately. As he calls for help, he hears Jesus calling to him, saying "Peter, just use the stepping stones already."
  • Three [members of different Christian denominations] are in a boat. The first two prove the strength of their faith by getting out of the boat and walking back to shore. The third tries it and immediately goes under. Person 1 turns to Person 2 and says "Don't you think you should have told him where the stones are?"
  • Post-resurrection, Jesus attempts to walk on water again but fails. His disciples console him, saying it was probably easier when he didn't have those holes in his feet.

  • After Man: A Zoology of the Future: The tiniest mammal in the work is a slender, short-legged insectivore with long hairs on its feet and tail. Set on the surface of still water, its foot- and tail-hairs spread its few grams of weight so broadly that it can scamper atop ponds and puddles, sticking its proboscis-like snout into mosquito larvae to suck out their contents.
  • The Belgariad: Polgara of the works of David Eddings manages it, in order to make a point. Her adversary, Chabat, has a much harder time of it when trying to copy her. Still, the characters in question are sorceresses...
  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: A newly-arisen ghost tries to shake himself out of his postmortem depression by testing out what he can do in his newly-incorporeal state. Alas, going for a stroll on the Thames turns out to be fairly boring.
  • Discworld: Many people in Ankh-Morpork have done this, at least if you consider the polluted silt of the River Ankh to count as water — it's a running joke that the Ankh is so filthy that once it leaves the city it's essentially a solid.
  • The Divine Comedy In a show of divinely-gifted power, the first angel to appear walks across a swamp of anger to help Dante on his odyssey through Hell.
  • The Dresden Files: In one book, Harry once freezes part of a lake and runs across it, and invokes this.
  • Grinlandia: "She who runs on the waves" features the character of Frezy Grant, a young girl, who, according to the legend, ran from her ship to a mysterious island in the middle of the ocean, on waves. She thus became a good marine spirit, appearing to those lost at sea and leading them to safety, all the while walking on water.
  • Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left: Used in one episode. Dovis uses her powers to walk across a pond and save her friend. They then need to find some way to logically explain how she did this to Michelle (which they did by putting a log there to walk across).
  • The Hungarian Game: One line invokes this as a statement of implausibility: the narrator's co-worker claims to have done something subtle, and the narrator notes that a vision of this fellow acting subtly is instantly followed by a vision of their boss walking across Lake Tahoe.
  • The Icelandic Sagas: In The Saga of Hallfred Troublesome Poet, when Hallfred is lying ill in the middle of a storm on the passage to Iceland, the people on the ship suddenly see a tall woman in armour following the ship and walking on the waves as if on land. Hallfred realizes the woman is his fylgja or guardian spirit, and has come to take her leave from him — meaning that he is about to die.
  • Illusions: Donald Shimoda does this trick to demonstrate his powers...and then follows it up by swimming in land.
  • Labyrinths of Echo: Shurf Lonli-Lokli walks on water in Green Waters of Ishma when he saves drowning Mind Controlled victims.note  Max lampshades it, of course, including the fact that Shurf is wearing his snow white toga-like uniform at the time.
  • Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow: The titular character has an almost psychic ability to read snow and ice. Thus she can walk on a half frozen sea because she can see which ice patches will support her weight and which won't. The onlookers are suitably impressed.
  • The People: This is kind of a popular pastime among Zenna Henderson's humanoid aliens, who are accustomed to levitation ("lifting"). Back on Home, an elderly widow remembers strolling on a lake with her husband, and her granddaughter has been doing the same thing on another lake with her fiancé. We assume that they're lifting just enough that their feet touch the water while not going in. Century or so later, when earthwoman Meris finds and takes in little Lala, the child wants to take Meris to her crashed lifeship and starts to cross a fast-running creek this way, thinking Meris can follow her. It's not the only time Henderson implies that Jesus was one of Them.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan Hyperion does this. Percy copies him and they have a swordfight on water. Percy can theoretically do this at any time, but since he can breathe underwater and swim super-fast (probably faster than he can run), there's no real need.
  • Peter F. Hamilton:
    • The Night's Dawn Trilogy: The Kiint can walk on water, probably through the use of some supertech or Psychic Powers. They think little of it.
    • Void Trilogy: There's a character nicknamed Waterwalker. His ability is derived from the fact that he lives in a universe which allows Psychic Powers, and he's a very powerful telekinetic.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Exar Kun, an ancient Sith Lord, used this to impress and intimidate the Massassi people of Yavin 4 by walking to his temple in the middle of a lake. But it was actually a subversion — Kun and his acolytes were walking on stones set a centimeter beneath the surface.
    • Jedi Academy Trilogy: Exaggerated in Jedi Search. In an early scene, Luke needs to cross a lake of lava using a series of floating rocks as stepping stones to win the trust of a prospective student, but these are swept away when a lava monster attacks. After the fight, Luke finds himself stranded halfway in, and steels himself, gives his trust to the Force, and walks unharmed across the lake of molten rock.
  • Wicked: Elphaba does this by freezing the water at each step and doesn't even notice it.
  • Young Wizards: A fairly simple spell will allow a wizard to walk on water, although one has to be careful to maintain the masquerade and not let the muggles notice. Given a reasonably logical explanation — the spell redistributes the caster's weight to a large enough area around the feet that the surface tension of the water will support it. Lightly deconstructed when Nita and Kit use the spell on the open sea. Making water hold their weight doesn't make it still, and keeping their balance on the waves over a long trek leaves some seldom-used leg muscles very sore the next day.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Arrested Development, Michael's (developmentally disabled) love interest Rita leaves both him and the series as a whole by walking thoughtlessly across the surface of a swimming pool (in a Shout-Out to Being There, mentioned above). Michael assumes that his magician brother has rigged the pool as part of his performance, but GOB tells him, "No. That's not my trick, Michael." Immediately subverted in the "next episode" trailer: "...It's my ILLUSION!"
  • Breaking the Magician's Code: Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed: The magician demonstrates walking on an outdoor swimming pool, with swimmers passing underneath him.
    Narrator: Now the magician will attempt a miracle of biblical proportions.
  • Power Rangers/Super Sentai:
    • Most seasons where the Rangers' powers revolve around the elements have the liquid-controlling Blue Ranger able to stand/walk/run on water.
    • A rare few seasons with ninjas may do it too, but if a season has both elements and ninjas, it will never be a generic ninja ability.
    • As well as that, Reje does it in episode 28 of Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger.
  • Rory Bremner portrayed Tony Blair as walking on water in one sketch, soon after Blair was elected.
  • In the Misfits Christmas Episode, a Sinister Minister manages to acquire an array of flashy superpowers, including the ability to walk on water, in order to convince the local population that he is the second coming of Jesus (and so he can steal vast quantities of money from the poor and sexually abuse women without repercussions).
  • In an episode of Glee, Will does this across a swimming pool whilst proposing to Emma.
  • In the 2010 Christmas special episode of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson claims that as "J.C.", this means he can walk on water. May and Hammond point out he's just standing on a shallow bit, so make him walk to the left. He does and falls straight in the sea, where without missing a beat:
    Clarkson: I've invented swimming!
  • Exit 57 has the song, "My Wife Dumped Me for a Guy Named Jesus":
    I'm as good as that guy named Jesus
    I could cure a cripple with a prosthesis
    And I can walk on water when it freezes
    I'm as good as that guy named Jesus
    And Jesus better watch his back
  • American Gods (2017): Mexican Jesus does this to save one of his believers from drowning, while one of the White Jesuses sits cross-legged on Easter's swimming pool in "Come To Jesus". He tries to put his glass down on the surface and it of course sinks to the bottom.
    White Jesus: Goddamn it.
  • M*A*S*H: Implied in the episode "Smilin' Jack", which has chopper pilot Jack Mitchell present a cigar to Col. Potter.
    Jack: Right from MacArthur's desk!
    Potter: I may develop an urge to walk on water.
  • MythBusters tested a device that was supposed to allow Ninja to do this. It took several tries before they could do anything useful with them.
  • The Nevers: The people, called the Touched in-universe, affected by the Mass Super-Empowering Event have a multitude of different powers. One is Odium, an enforcer of the Beggar King. His turn allows him to run, walk, stand on, and even lay upon water without sinking. In summary, his body repels it from him. He has used this new ability to kill people by rivers. He gets them in and then stalks them down, shoving their heads under or using chains to beat them. This ability is used both for and against him in his fight with Amalia. However, the same power makes it impossible for him to bathe as a consequence.
  • Van Helsing: One episode has Scarlet interacting with man who may or may not be Jesus. After an episode's worth of uncertainty, Scarlet turns to say goodbye... and sees the man casually standing on water. We then get a close look at him, and see he's standing on a dock which is under a very small amount of water, creating the illusion.

  • Elvis Costello, "Don't you think that I know that walking on water won't make me a miracle man."
  • Singer Steve Harley, sometime in the 1970's, suffered a messianic delusion whilst preparing for an open-air gig in a London park. He had the band perform on a small man-made island in a lake, whilst at huge cost he insisted on a causeway being built, just underneath water level, to allow him to - apparently - walk on the water to the band. As it was a hot day in London and a public park, the inevitable happened and lots of people going for a dip in the lake found the hidden walkway first, thus making Harley's grand entry something of an anticlimax. He had to shoulder through crowds to get on stage...
  • Lead singer Ric Ocasek stands on the surface of a swimming pool in the video for The Cars's 1984 song "Magic". It's amusingly obvious that he's supported by a transparent platform just below the surface, because the ripples keep breaking on its edge, but it's still enough to convince a bunch of loopy witnesses he's Jesus.
  • Nautilus Pompilius: In the song "Walking on the Water", Jesus does it.
  • In the video for "Get Up" by Nicco and Darius & Finlay, he walks on water and argues that the beach is lazy and wishes everyone would party. He starts the song by enabling this ability.
  • Referenced in "King Herod's Song" in Jesus Christ Superstar:
    Prove to me that you're no fool,
    Walk across my swimming pool.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Christianity:
  • The Buddha did it before that.
  • In East Asian myth, Kirins are often describes as walking on water (and in the air) so as to avoid stepping on even the smallest living thing by mistake.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Some myths describe the legendary hunter Orion as crossing the Aegean Sea by striding across its waters. The Roman poet Virgil, somewhat skeptical of this claim, chose to instead describe Orion as a giant who simply waded through the sea.
    • Euphemus the Argonaut, a son of Poseidon, was granted by his father the ability to walk atop water. Further, his maternal grandfather was possibly the aforementioned Orion.
  • North Korean propaganda claims that Kim il-Sung once crossed a river by walking on fallen leaves (among other miracles).
  • Irish Mythology:
    • The Voyage of Bran mac Febail: Two days and two nights after sailing from Ireland, Bran and his companions meet Manannán mac Lir riding in a chariot on the sea. Manannán explains to Bran and his crew that what to them is the sea, is to him the land of Mag Mell ("Plain of Joy"); where Bran sees only the surface of the sea, Manannán sees a lush plain filled with flowers.
    • The Voyage of Máel Dúin:
      • Exploring island no. 5, the voyagers see hints that the island is a meeting place of giants, and leave in fright. Looking back, they see a crowd of demonic giants "rushing along the sea to the island".
      • The hermit from Tory relates that he took up his life of penitence because one day, on a pleasure cruise in his boat, he was blown into the open sea and encountered the spirit of a saintly monk "sitting upon the wave". The monk chastised him for his sins and enjoined him to spend the rest of his life as a hermit on a small rock in the sea.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The boots of water-walking, a magical item which has since turned up in many D&D homages. Also the ring of water-walking and a water-walking spell starting 2nd edition.
    • The body equilibrium psionic power allowed this already in the 1st edition.
    • The 3.5th edition spell balancing lorecall allows one to "balance" on liquids and semi-solid (like mud or snow) if the character has enough ranks in the Balance skill. However, the difficulty of the check increases every round, so the subject is going to sink sooner or later.
    • The Elocater Prestige Class has a psionic power called "Scorn Earth" which makes one float 1 feet above the ground. It works above liquids too, and thus allows moving above water without trouble.
    • In 3rd edition, amethyst dragons have supernatural control over their weight and equilibrium, which among other things can let them walk across the surface of liquids.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Ninjas have their Light Steps ability: they can walk across any surface, including water and lava, without difficulty or harm.
    • A variant. Lotus leshys automatically create paths of lotus and water lily leaves when walking across bodies of water.
  • GURPS has the "Walk on Liquid" advantage.
  • Exalted has a few Charms which enable this. Namely, the Feather-Foot Style.
  • In Changeling: The Lost, the first clause of the Contract of Separation allows this.

  • Several very skilled magicians and illusionists have performed this particularly showy trick. It gets a good reaction.
    • Mindfreak's Criss Angel performs this on his reality-show, an episode of Las Vegas, and various locations in accordance to his characteristic street magic. He assures any who may be offended that his tricks have nothing to do with being prophetic or symbolic, it's just artistic and looks cool. The crowning achievement is when he does this on Lake Mead with random onlookers moving their hands under his feet to check for stilts. When he gets pretty far, he slowly sinks. Prior to that, he walks across a shark tank. The sharks were probably more confused than anything.
    • British magician Dynamo (real name Steven Frayne) once walked on the Thames, attracting quite the crowd. A canoe paddled through the path he had walked through.

    Video Games 
  • Doom was the first FPS to have water, but due to limitations of its not-quite-3D engine it's still just normal floor with an animated texture. This persists through other games on its engine, including Doom II, Heretic and Hexen; shooters wouldn't get proper water that players could immerse themselves in and swim through until games on the Build engine like Duke Nukem 3D.
  • Dungeon Crawl: If you are playing an orc, and gain sufficient piety with the god Beogh, you can walk on deep water.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Vamp can not only move across the surface of water but can actually swim through water with such a high oxygen content that your character will instantly sink to the bottom and drown.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy X has one scene where Yuna performs a sending by walking out onto open water, then performing the traditional sending dance while the water rises into a column under her feet. It's never explained how she did that and she never does it again. Considering Yuna's role in the plot, it was probably a case of Rule of Symbolism.
    • The ability to move over water without sinking (and thus being unable to act) is a support ability of the Ninja class in Final Fantasy Tactics, and some monster classes can do so as well.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance gives us Feather Boots, which have much the same effect but can be equipped by any class. They really come in handy in the swimming tournament battles.
    • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, the Order's Sanctuary that serves as the central point of operations for Cosmos' warriors is an expansive pool of water with her throne in the middle. All the characters stand on the surface of the water with no significance to it (although Yuna does her barefoot-water-dancing in the 012 opening as a Mythology Gag).
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, Urianger attempts this in Shadowbringers, utilizing fey magic he learned in his time at Il Mheg to compensate his lack of swimming ability. The one caveat is that he needs absolute concentration to do so, otherwise he sinks like a rock.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In general, the Pirate class has the ability to do this, which consequently makes them a massive pain in the ass.
    • Fire Emblem Fates: Takumi's bow allow him to ignore terrain effects in addition to dealing very high damage in its own right. As such, this means that he can walk on water.
  • Pikmin Bloom: The game doesn't distinguish between water bodies and dry land outside of coloration, and Pikmin will thus walk right across rivers, lakes and seas if so directed just the same as they would over land.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In the first game's Hollow Bastion, the water doesn't let anyone swim in it; if you step or fall onto it, you walk on the surface. If you go into one of the bubbles, you walk on the bottom for a couple seconds, but then are quickly dragged back to the top.
    • In Kingdom Hearts III, the fight against Anti-Aqua takes place on the sea offshore the Dark Margin (the beach serving as the gateway to the Realm of Darkness).
  • In Startopia, every species has a swimming animation, except the Zedem Monks, who walk across the surface. Their planet's hat is a papal miter, it seems.
  • Soma Cruz in Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow acquires the ability to walk on water. Considering who he "is" and that his last name more or less translates to "Cross", makes this possibly symbolic. Although Mina, who tells you about it, compares you to a ninja instead.
  • In Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, Illidan gained the ability to walk on water, since he teamed up with the amphibious Naga and needed to be able to move with them.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Shamans have a spell to that effect. It's almost useless, except to kill annoying guildmates when battling a boss that requires frequent submersion, escape certain monster, and impress new players. Nonetheless, this, coupled with the class' unique ability to resurrect themselves, has spawned many "Jesus was a Shaman" jokes. It's also useful when fishing pools, or doing any quest which sends you to the middle of a lake — since, in the latter case, you don't have to swim to shore in order to eat and drink.
    • Priests can use their Levitate spell to float a foot above the water's surface.
    • Death Knights do it in a slightly different way, freezing the water below them. You have to stay relatively close to the Death Knight to benefit from it, though.
    • There is also a water walking potion. You get them as rewards for the daily fishing quests, from fishing in certain areas, or crafted by alchemists.
    • As of Mists of Pandaria, a mount that you can purchase from the Anglers can walk on water.
    • In the Brewmoon Festival scenario, you are temporarily granted the ability to walk on water while fighting the mini-boss water spirit, Li Te. You got a similar benefit when fighting the water spirit Quid in a daily quest that has now been removed.
  • Ōkami:
    • Amaterasu can walk on water after she obtains the Water Tablet. She is a goddess, after all. Otherwise, she has Super Drowning Skills and has to get by with conjuring giant lily pads to stand on... as one does.
    • Waka is introduced standing on a lake. It seems all heavenly beings can pull this off.
  • Kirby can walk on water with the Ninja ability, as well as skim over it when going fast enough with the Wheel and Tornado abilities. He can also dash across it using the Water ability in Kirby's Return to Dream Land.
  • Water-walking in Achaea is accomplished using enchanted footwear or potions of levitation, which allow easy, quick movement just as on land. Without it, swimming is slow, hard work (for those who can't, for example, turn into a turtle...)
  • A player of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 (X360) discovered a glitch that allowed the player to stand and shoot on water hazards (dubbed, naturally, "The Jesus Shot") and posted video of it to YouTube. Electronic Arts's (the games's publisher) response: "It's not a glitch. He's just that good."
  • The Touhou Project series feature an example and a subversion. The former case is due to Yukari Yakumo's ability to manipulate boundaries, which she used to manipulate the boundary of truth and lie in order to invade the moon, through its mirrored image in a lake (she and her ghost friend Yuyuko Saigyouji invade the moon again through this method, in the official manga Silent Sinner in Blue); the subversion is that the 9th game, Touhou Kaeidzuka ~ Phantasmagoria of Flower View, features the Sanzu River, through which the souls of the dead are ferried to be judged. This river is canonically described as unswimmable, and only a shinigami's boat is able to travel through it without sinking.
    • In Touhou Luna Nights, Sakuya can stand and walk on water when she uses her time-stopping powers. If she stops time when she's in a body of water, she'll be stuck there until she un-freezes time.
  • In Tactics Ogre, mermaids and ninjas can move over water tiles like land, and their sprites are shown as standing on the surface of the water.
  • Fisherman-cum-Tempest Devon has this ability in Ultima VIII: Pagan, and demonstrates it by going on a walk out to sea after defeating his sister in an elemental duel. The Avatar never learns to do this though, since unlike the other Magical and Elemental Powers in the game, tempestry is apparently limited to the Tenebrae royal family as an inborn talent.
  • The Ultima Underworld series allows the player to cast water-walking. It makes numerous sections a lot easier, and lets you fight water monsters that otherwise have to be lured to shore if you want to strike them.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: A pair of magical boots allows Link to do this, but only on one very specific body of water around the fifth palace (there's a Heart Container hidden there) and the river south of the fourth palace where the boots are found. Here the river acts as a Door to Before that allows players to skip having to navigate the island maze a second time upon leaving.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: Link has to use the Pegasus Boots to run over the quicksand pools in Castor Wilds without sinking.
  • In the original Creatures, the title creatures can actually walk around on the ocean's surface. However, one needs to abuse certain objects to get them onto the sea in the first place, so it's rather obvious that walking on water was due to programming limitations and not deliberately invoked.
  • Possible in NetHack with a pair of water walking boots. You can even use them to walk on lava, provided they're fireproof — and in an aversion of Convection, Schmonvection, it'll still hurt, unless you're also fire-resistant.
  • Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation: A puzzle is solved by dumping some ancient Egyptian chemicals into water that allows you to walk on it (okay, ankle-deep, but that's more due to engine limitations).
  • Pokémon: The main series doesn't use Suicune's ability to walk on water outside of cut scenes, but it is used in the third Pokémon Ranger game. In Pokémon Sword and Shield, Suicune and Keldeo can both run, walk and stand on water when following the player out of their Poké Ball, as can Suicune's Paradox counterpart Walking Wake in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.
  • Mother 3's hackers found out during their fiddle that Flint and Claus can walk on water in some places they aren't meant to be in. For Flint's case, this glitch racks his Memetic Badass trait up even more.
  • The yellow ninja from G. G. Shinobi walks on water as his special power.
  • In Golden Sun's Mercury Lighthouse, once Mia prays to a statue of a Goddess, certain floor tiles light up and grant Isaac (and the Party in My Pocket) the ability to hop on the surface of the Lighthouse's pools and fountains for three steps (before falling in, flailing comically, and returning to where he was).
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Daggerfall, Morrowind, and Oblivion, Water Walking is a spell effect classed in the Alteration school of magic. It allows you to walk (and run and jump) on water for a set duration. It can also be enchanted onto an item for a constant effect. It is useful for navigating coastal or swampy terrain, allowing you to move more quickly than when swimming while also dodging any dangers that may lurk beneath the surface.
    • While Water Walking is no longer a spell in Skyrim, the Dragonborn DLC adds a pair of enchanted boots with the effect. They cannot be disenchanted to learn the effect, so you're forced to hang onto the boots if you want to use it.
  • In the Heroes of Might and Magic series, heroes can walk on bodies of water via spells or artifacts that allow it. Pretty useful on maps with lots of water since traveling on a boat is usually less efficient than walking unless you waste precious skill or artifact slots to boost travel over water. In the sixth game, Sanctuary heroes can do this if their armies consist of nothing but Sanctuary units, all of whom are either aquatic or amphibious.
  • Might and Magic series has a spell to walk on water, although with the games' interfaces it's unclear whether you are walking, swimming, using a boat or flying low (though in the later games the latter two is significantly less likely — using a boat more so, and 8 has levitate as a separate power to Water Walk that also allows walking above water).
  • Cryo Legionnaire's from the Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 add on Uprising can walk and stand on water by freezing it just beneath their feet.
  • Ninjas from Sengoku Basara have this ability, but only in cutscenes.
  • The water walking potion in Terraria grants the player this ability. A later update added Water Walking Boots that apply the same effect when equipped.
  • Gameloft's My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic video game has two locations, Ponyville and Canterlot. Both have rivers. In Canterlot, bridges exist over the rivers, and the ponies use them to cross. Ponyville has no bridges, and no way to build any. But it doesn't matter, because the Ponyville ponies can walk and stand on the rivers as if they were solid. (You can build ponds, though, and the ponies always detour around those.)
  • The "Dark Rain" cheat on the original Age of Empires allows archers not only to walk on water, but, when standing still they get to turn into trees. Trees.
  • Units in Stella Glow with the water movement type have no movement penalty in water. Lisette and Nonoka are the two playable characters with this trait.
  • Done as an Anti-Frustration Feature in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. The toxic water in Dark Aether will damage Samus on contact and there are some that are deep enough to submerge her. Going under in this rate would be a death sentence due to the water damaging you extremely quickly and you wouldn't have the Light Suit (which stops damage from the water and the toxic atmosphere) and Gravity Boost (lets you fly upwards underwater for a few seconds). Until you get those items, Samus can walk on the corrosive water instead of going under.
  • Return Of The Obra Dinn: When you get to the second half of the two-chapter story arc (Chapter IV), you get the ability to walk on water and explore the ocean for clues, obviously due to the Memento Mortem allowing scenes to be frozen in time in death memories.
  • Spelling Jungle: One of the five varieties of potions allows the player to do this.
  • In Spirit of the North, the guardian of the Northern Lights can stand on water and on air. The player fox can also walk on water in spirit form.
  • In Robo Warrior, using the Life Vest allows the player to walk on bodies of water for a short time. Once it runs out, the player only has about a second to get back on land before they sink and die.

    Visual Novels 
  • Nasuverse:
    • Saber can do so in Fate/Zero, because of the blessing of The Lady of the Lake. It never comes up in Fate/stay night, however. Then, in Fate/hollow ataraxia, it turns out that despite being able to walk over water, she can't actually swim, and freaks out in a public pool. It is hilarious. Saber's ability to do this is possibly a symbolic extension of her martyrhood for Britain as King Arthur.
    • In Fate/Grand Order, it's revealed Orion, due to some legends having him be a son of Poseidon, can do this at will. This is one of the few benefits that Artemis gets from hijacking his Saint Graph, which the heroes use to their advantage in Okeanos to have them launch an assault against Blackbeard's ship. Several of Saber's variants in the game also weaponize this, most particularly her summer swimsuit version (who also does the running variant) and her Alter self's swimsuit version (who imparts the blessing to her motorcycle to ride across the ocean).

  • The saintly hermit Calin can do this in Bruno the Bandit. He also reminisces fondly about playing "Walk-on-Water Hockey" back in divinity school.
  • Seaweed from Gloomverse, as part of a magical performance.
  • In God's World, Cartesia casts a spell on the party that lets them walk on water.
  • The Order of the Stick, "Pop Idolatry":
    Durkon: Water Walk!
    Daigo: You had Water Walk prepared?
    Durkon: I live onna boat an' wear heavy armor.
    Daigo: Good point.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Parodied where Jesus's thunder is stolen because the lake happens to be frozen. He can still walk on water otherwise, but since he can't show it off at the moment, the Apostles are not impressed. He then attempts to levitate only to realize his sandals have frozen to the ice.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: The mage-exclusive dreamspace has protected areas separated by a big expanse of deep and rogue spirit ridden water. Each of the two existing mage traditions has a different way of crossing it, Icelandic tradition mages being the ones that simply walk on the surface of the water.
  • Sleepless Domain: Undine, with her Making a Splash powers, can easily walk on water. This makes conversation with Mark even more awkward as he's up to his armpits in water and she's casually standing there.
  • In the comic Triquetra Cats, Rain Soricha being a magic user in the realm of complete control over the domain of water does this frequently, even going as far as creating floating disks of water that she can use as ledges to leap on to gain access to high points.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation, SCP-2751 ("Hydrophobic Dogs"). SCP-2751 is a group of anomalous dogs with an unusual quality: their bodies treat water as if it were solid, allowing them to lie or walk on it.
  • Downplayed in RWBY: when Salem is thrown from the God of Light's water, she lands exactly where she emerged, but stops falling at the surface with a sound effect like hitting concrete. Over the course of the scene, she stands up and takes a few steps before being teleported away; no one comments on or seems at all surprised by this.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Inevitably, Katara, a Water-bender, has come to express the ability. She most commonly achieves it by freezing ice around her feet and sort of skating. As her alter ego the Painted Lady, she does so without the freezing to better impress the villagers and Fire Nation soldiers.
  • In Code Lyoko, people possessed by XANA's specters in the real world gain the ability to move atop water.
  • Give Up Your Aul Sins: In this short which is based on an excitable little girl's retelling of the story of John the Baptist, Jesus is seen cheerfully standing on the top of the Sea of Galilee, fishing.
  • Brother Blood in Teen Titans (2003) could do this, while strangely Aqualad could not!
  • Clam does it in one episode of Camp Lazlo, complete with heavenly choir and the onlooker's response "Holy mackerel".
  • Played with in I Am Weasel. At the end of an episode where everyone had been shunning Weasel only for him to prove himself a hero afterwards, he walks out onto a lake. The crowd rushes out after him and sink right down, prompting Weasel to quip, "You know, I really need to teach these guys to stick to the shallow part."
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Magic Duel", as part of Twilight Sparkle's training with Zecora, she stands on a pond while levitating spheres of water. She falls in when she loses her concentration.
  • In Steven Universe, Pearl, Steven, and Lapis Lazuli have all been shown to use this ability, however, it's worth noting that in all three instances the water was magically altered in some way. (In the former instance, Pearl stands on the waterfalls in her room, and the latter two instances both occur on Lapis Lazuli's water tower). Lion is capable of walking on normal ocean water, which he does on multiple occasions.

    Real Life 
  • Certain insects, like the Gerridae, are capable of doing this thanks to cohesion (basically, they stand on the membrane the water's surface forms). Course, that's just plain ol' physics/chemistry.
  • The fishing spider (Dolomedes) is covered by a layer of hair that completely repels water, allowing it to walk on it. If it goes underwater, it must hold on to something like an underwater plant because it will automatically float to the surface if it lets go.
  • Storm petrels "dance" in place on the water's surface while hunting small fish. Although a bit too heavy to float while standing, they keep their wings extended and face into the wind to obtain enough lift to remain at surface level.
  • The Brazilian pygmy gecko has hydrophobic skin and weighs so very little that it can stand on water. Walking, not so much; it twists its whole body to writhe/wiggle its way across the surface.
  • This can be possible in dreams without even particularly trying due to a poor representation of physics leaving the surface of dream water to behave for one's dream self almost as it does for the above-mentioned insects.
  • Real life aversion: A priest tried to prove that one could walk on water if one only had enough faith. He demonstrated using himself as the example. It didn't go as well as he expected, earning him a Darwin Award.
    • A similar example here with a pastor attempting to walk across a large estuary. He didn't make it.
  • A self-proclaimed messiah in early 20th-century Australia took his followers out on a boat into the middle of a lake and asked them if they believed he could walk on water. When they replied "yes", he said, "Then there is no need for me to do it."
  • Of course, everyone can walk on water as long as it's frozen.
  • British midget submarine crews in WWII were fond of the trick of "parking" their submarine within half an inch of the surface and standing upon the hull to wave at passers by. It appeared they were standing on water.
  • There is a magic trick where a magician appears to walk across a pool, sometimes with people swimming underneath them. The trick involves walking on perspex blocks, which turn invisible if you get the angle of the audience and lighting right.
  • On leave on the Tunisian coast in 1943, comedian Spike Milligan found a natural ridge of rock just beneath water level. He drew attention to this fact by seemingly walking on the water and periodically calling up "Hey! Dad! Look what I can do!" The regimental padre to his army unit had a few words later about taking the Lord's name in vain...

Running on water


  • In Happy Heroes and the City of Mystery episode 2, Careful S. runs on the surface of the water as he, Kalo, and Lisa outrun a sea monster.

    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece: Brook. One of the few upsides to being a walking skeleton is being light enough to run on water, and being extremely fast likely helps plenty. This is particularly important when you have a Devil Fruit, as he'd otherwise sink like a rock.
  • Whereas the straight-out walking version is subverted in the Ranma ˝ manga, the anime has Ranma do this in one OAV after he decides that, if he's going to fight in female form, he should play to its strengths, with this being part of the Training from Hell/test of his skills.
  • Inuyasha: Inu-Yasha does this in the second movie, so he could attack a monster in the lake. In the anime filler arc about the panther youkai, the one with ice powers freezes a fairly large stream and walks across it.
  • In Air Gear, anyone skilled enough on their Air Trecks can do this. So far only Gabishi and Orca have been seen doing it. Ikki does more of a gliding on water variant when he gets the Wind Regalia.
  • Cherry demonstrates this ability in an episode of Urusei Yatsura (along with a weird fossil bird animated by Lum). As with many things in this show, not to take too seriously.
  • Hoshin Engi: Bukichi is simply able to run fast enough to accomplish this.
  • In Tamagotchi, running on water is one several abilities that Gozarutchi the ninja Tamagotchi has mastered.
  • In Assault Lily Bouquet, Yuri, using Flash Step, runs on water to approach the Monster of the Week. Soon after, Riri attempts to follow her without any speed enhancement, and barely manages to skip on water until a shot from the monster grazes her.

    Comic Books 
  • Pretty much all super-speedsters in any Superhero continuity will be able to do this — The Flash and Quicksilver being perhaps the two most prominent. This is supposed to be physically possible, if you can sustain a speed in excess of 60 miles per hour, obviously a snap for these guys who consider going supersonic essentially just a brisk walk to them.
  • Starts off The Boys: A-Train (a speedster) runs after another speedster, catching up with him in the middle of the Atlantic and keeps going until they're in Scotland. This being a deconstruction, the super doesn't have Required Secondary Powers like increased reflexes, and smashes the other guy into a wall without seeing that he'd splattered a girl who was in the way. His uncaring attitude is the first step on Hughie joining The Boys (and eventually killing A-Train, not only for killing his first girlfriend but raping his second one).

    Films — Animation 
  • The utter coolness of being able to run on water is repeatedly stressed in The Incredibles, especially since Dash didn't know that his Super-Speed would enable him to do this. Then there's the moment where he is caught between two enemy hovercrafts and didn't know how to escape them: He comes to a stop, then sinks below the water's surface while the enemies crash into each other just inches above him. And later on, after the fight with the Omnidroid...
    Dash: That was so cool when you threw that car!
    Mr. Incredible: Not as cool as you running on water!
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Spring Breakdown: Rainbow Dash's Super-Speed is shown to be impressive enough to let her do this on the ocean. While pushing a boat no less.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Eternals: With her Super-Speed, Makkari is able to run on water. When Phastos instructs her to find the point at which Tiamut will emerge, she runs across the Earth, over land and water, until she locates the spot in the Indian Ocean.
  • In the martial arts film The Jade Raksha, the title character (played by Cheng Pei-Pei) runs across some water.
  • The very end of the movie Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (also known as Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous), a Pilot Movie that never became a The Destroyer show, has Remo's mentor Chiun doing this to escape some villains and to show Remo he's still got a lot to learn. (The trick, it seems, is to run really fast.) Remo himself earlier runs across wet cement, while the Mook following him falls in and drowns. This is shown as being a kind of mind-over-matter trick of becoming lighter, not really faster.
  • Subverted in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022). Sonic tries to run across the Pacific Ocean to reach the Master Emerald's shrine, and for a while he succeeds, but the ocean is just too choppy and he ultimately wipes out.
  • In The Toy, Jack jumps out of a lake and runs across the surface to shore when he ends up swarmed by piranhas. He arrives with his shirt and pants nipped asunder. Apparently, Eric wasn't lying about the lake's inhabitants.
  • In the original short of The Wizard of Speed and Time, a long-range shot of the massive fantail of water kicked up by the Wizard as he runs across a lake is visible. In the feature film's version of the same sequence, he runs onto the Pacific Ocean to begin his round-the-world dash with the Olympic Torch.
  • In the Action Prologue of A View to a Kill, James Bond uses the forward ski of a destroyed snowmobile as an improvised ski. At one point he's moving so fast downhill his more broader ski skims across a pool of water while the pursuing Soviet ski troops sink.

  • By Interesting Times, Rincewind has apparently become an amazing runner — to the point that, when running from yet another hazard, he sprints across the surface of a koi pond without missing a step.
  • In The Destroyer, Remo Williams can also run over water.
  • In David Farland's The Runelords series, there is at one point a story told about a messenger who uses magic to become a speedster and run across a sea in order to deliver a warning. And then promptly dies of old age, in a clear reference to the run of Marathon.
  • In The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School, "Light Fingers" Naisbitt has a Super-Speed ability that initially just applies to her hands (hence the nickname) but later develops to include her whole body. During the climactic battle she runs across the surface of the lake.

    Live-Action TV 
  • MythBusters:
    • They thoroughly disproved this trope... or at least, one version of it. Their version involves supposed techniques for ninjas to make a quick getaway by scampering across the enemy stronghold's moat, fitting in perfectly with the What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic? definition of this trope. They finally resort to cheating, by adding enough corn starch to make the entire thing a non-Newtonian fluid which briefly becomes a solid when pressure is applied to it; run fast enough and you can "walk" on "water", but the moment you stop you're going to sink. Time Warp replicates this trick for their show. Brainiac: Science Abuse did it even earlier.
    • They tested another myth that a human running fast enough could support his weight on the water's surface for just a couple of steps. This was busted too. At any feasible running speed, as soon as you hit the water, you're going down.
    • They did recreate various videos of fast running on water — with an underwater walkway.
    • They did another myth about riding a motorcycle on water — this time confirmed (for three hundred feet, anyway. Which is still pretty awesome).
  • In Smallville, Bart Allen is able to move fast enough to run on water without breaking the surface tension. It is implied that this is something Clark cannot do, until he finally starts doing this in Season 8.
  • Daphne in Heroes claims to be able to run all the way from the US to Paris at super-speed. Then again, this was all in her head, but it is possible she could still do it.
  • The Flash (2014): Barry does this in the episode "Plastique" to save the city from the titular metahuman who's about to explode. Since he runs up a building earlier in the same episode, this shouldn't be much more difficult. He's even able to outrun the large wave caused by the underwater explosion. He is, however, unsure at first if this is even possible, but his Mission Control tells him he can.
  • Hey You! What If...: Running on water is shown as one of the outcomes in "You Could Run at the Speed of Sound?"

    Video Games 
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The Mini Mushroom powerup in New Super Mario Bros. makes the player so small that they can run (even walk) across the surface of water, although they will start to sink if they stand still. Dottie's ability in Super Paper Mario allows the same thing.
    • A power-up in Super Mario Sunshine allows Mario to do this, using FLUDD to zoom across the water's surface.
    • In Super Mario 64, one can ride on the surface of the water using a Koopa shell.
    • There is also a certain enemy based on a water-strider bug that can freely stand on water.
    • Luigi can do this briefly in Super Mario 64 DS.
    • In Super Mario Galaxy 2, Yoshi can do this after eating a Dash Pepper.
    • In Wario Land: Shake It!, Wario can run over water when sent dashing out of a certain machine. But of course, he sinks if he turns around while running across said water.
    • In Super Mario Maker 2, any character that's wearing a frog suit can run on top of water if they're holding an item and are at running speed.
  • Hahli can do this in BIONICLE Heroes, despite no Toa of Water demonstrating this ability in the main canon.
    • The exact effect seems to be a poorly conveyed swimming.
  • Late in Ōkami, Amaterasu can equip the (optional) Water Tablet to allow her walking on water as it it was solid ground.
  • This is a power the hero can learn in Cat Quest to be able to visit islands.
  • Similar to Naruto, Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden is apparently capable of running on (and leaping from the surface of) water, simply by virtue of being a Ninja.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic, as a speedster, has been able to do this in some games. He kind of has to — if he doesn't go fast enough, he'll sink underwater, which turns his movement sluggish and puts him on a time limit until he drowns. Most 3D games treat water like a Bottomless Pit unless you're moving fast enough to run on it (or slide across it rather oddly in the 06 game). Some of the Game Gear titles allow Sonic to curl up into a ball and bounce across the water's surface like a skimming stone.
    • Other characters in the series, such as Tails and Knuckles, are also capable of this.
  • Jude of Wild ARMs 4 does this in order to save a puppy drifting down a river. More precisely, he runs on leaves in the water using his Super-Speed.
  • Several examples in World of Warcraft:
    • Players may obtain glyphs, which enhance the player's abilities in various ways. Rogues may obtain "Glyph of Blurred Speed", which allows them to run over water while using sprint, which boosts their speed by quite a bit. Combine this with the fact that using sprint doesn't break stealth, and you can get certain builds of rogues sneaking across water. Also, standing completely still while using sprint (thus defeating its purpose) doesn't drop you in the water, surprisingly.
    • Legion introduced the artifact fishing pole Underlight Angler, which can be given various fishing-related special powers, including this one.
    • There is a mount that looks like a water skimmer than can run (or stand) on the water. As of Battle for Azeroth, there is a piece of mount equipment that enables this.
  • Kiddy from Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! can roll onto bodies of water and skip like a rock two times consecutively.
  • Runman in Runman Race Around The World can stay on water surface as long as he keeps on zooming.
  • The new DC Universe Online allows their speedsters to run across water. If you stop moving, you drop back to swimming mode.
  • In Freedom Force, The Flash Expy Bullet's origin story has him being hit with Energy X while in-flight and crash-landing in Vietnam during the war. The energy makes him a Speedster, so he is able to run away from bullets but has trouble stopping himself before hitting the ocean and ends up running all the way to the US. He can't do that in the game, though.
  • In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, the ninja Tsukinowa manages to run across an ocean in a cutscene.
  • The best Ninja Spy-enhanced Monk class in Dungeons & Dragons Online receives "Dance of the Water Strider", the ability to run over most watery areas in the game. Not quite as useful in that few quests have bodies of water handy to impress your co-questing friends, but still cool, nonetheless.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. You can jump around on top of the water without the aid of magic if your acrobatics skill is high enough. As mentioned above, the Water Walking spell effect is also an option.
  • Kazooie can do this in Banjo-Tooie, but only while wearing the Turbo Trainers.
  • In Golvellius, the Aqua Boots allow Kelesis to walk on water.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age has Taopo Swamp, where Felix (and the Party in My Pocket) will sink gradually as he moves around, and eventually go under and wash up back on the shore, but can be buoyed to the surface by streams of bubbles. By "running" precisely from one bubble stream to another, he can navigate across the swamp and find a cave dungeon on the other side (which isn't necessary to advance the plot, but contains minerals for Item Crafting).
  • Pokémon:
    • The Pokemon Heliolisk is based on a Basilisk lizard, which can run on water (see below), and can learn Surf despite not being a water-type.
    • The anime has also shown the Froakie family as being capable of doing this, seeing as they're water ninjas, it's very appropriate.
  • In the NES version of Strider, Hiryu can walk on the surface of water after acquiring the Aqua Boots in Egypt.
  • Justice League Heroes: The Flash uses running on water in a Sunken City level. Entering Bullet Time will allow The Flash to cross water in between platforms. His Arch-Enemy, Zoom, can do the same thing, leading to an on-foot High-Speed Battle while still running on water.
  • Bayonetta achieves the "running" variant in an unusual fashion. Umbra Witches possess the ability to slow time around them to a crawl with the use of "Witch Time", leaving Speed Echoes in their wake as they move through their slowed environs. One application of this is to traverse water's surface; although from the player's perspective the speed is an unimportant factor (unless the body of water is large enough that you're not gonna make it across at a waltz, because Witch Time maxes out at around thirty seconds per dodge), it fits the speed necessity by effectively slowing down the water.
  • Warframe: Gauss, the Lightning Bruiser 'frame, can run on water when using his most basic ability, Mach Rush.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Hatoful Boyfriend, Oko San attends swimming class, only to run across the pool's surface instead of swimming. Oko San actually is divine in his extended ending, as an avatar of the Pudding God.


    Western Animation 
  • Frequently in Western animation — fear is an excellent motivator. If your fear gives you super speed, you can run on the water without sinking. See Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry and Scooby-Doo for this sort of gag, among many others.
  • There are other motivators — Pepé Le Pew spots a "belle femme skonque" on an ocean liner out at sea, and rushes to her. "You know, I suddenly realized that I never learned to swim! Silly me..." *glub* He continues running on the ocean floor.
  • This naturally has to be executed at some point in the Kim Possible episode "Queen Bebe", in which she receives red hypersonic speed sneakers.
  • In an episode of Ben 10, Ben manages to accomplish this as XLR8.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Aang is able to decrease wind resistance in front of himself to increase his speed to perform feats such as running up vertical walls and across bodies of water, nicknamed "Wind on Waves" in the TCG.
    • Fire Nation characters also utilize Mongoose Lizards, giant reptilian creatures modeled after Basilisk Lizards that possess the ability to naturally run on water (see Real Life below).
  • Code Lyoko: Ulrich's Super Sprint. Though not that often; there is that one time Ulrich is training in the Ice Sector, which has lots of not-deadly virtual water. Combined with Doppelgänger Attack in that he uses Triplicate at the time, and all three clones are running in unison. For obvious reasons, does not work on the Digital Sea!
  • Wakfu: Nox's pet Igôle has the power to run extremely fast over water, thanks to the Xelor magic of his collar.
  • In an episode of Superman: The Animated Series, Superman and Flash have a race around the world using their Super-Speed and, since the Earth's surface is mostly water, they spend some time running on the ocean.
  • Justice League: In the episode "The Savage Time", Flash runs across the Atlantic, to warn the Americans that Savage and his No Swastikas Nazi troops are headed their way, leading to a Big Damn Heroes moment when the Atlantic Fleet arrives to shoot down Savage's bombers after they get away from the Justice League.
  • An episode of Dragons: Race to the Edge shows a subspecies of a flightless dragon called a Speed Stinger that has developed a membrane on its feet, which, when combined with its signature Super-Speed, allows it to run on water.

    Real Life 
  • A particular kind of lizard called the Basilisk Lizard can sprint across water, leading to it also being known as the "Jesus Lizard". (And yes, there is a band called that.)
  • Grebes run across the lake's surface in pairs at the climax of their mating dance.
  • Water is what scientists call a Newtonian fluid. Non-Newtonian fluids (like, say, water plus lots of starch) exhibit properties more cool for purposes of Real Life water walking, like you can run on their surface, but sink while standing. It is doubtful that Lake Genesareth was full of starch during that storm, if you're curious — but the idea of Jesus having to do this just to stay afloat is, depending on your point of view, sacrilegious and/or pretty funny.
  • Some extremely powerful custom cars and some snow mobiles can do this trick over short distances; as covered in Top Gear. There is an actual sport called Watercross, in which people ride a snowmobile on water.
  • The 2013 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond — if those people and that pond were on the moon.
  • Based on the area of the human foot, a speed of roughly 30 meters per second (100 km/h, 60 mph) would be necessary to run across water. This is about 3 times faster than the fastest human can sprint.
  • Pond skaters.


Video Example(s):


Dash Parr

The middle child of the Parr family. He has super-speed powers and gets into trouble at school because he wants to play sports. His mom insists that competing in sports events would be cheating, even if he only won by a little.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheSpeedster

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