Environment Natural Disasters Surfing a Tsunami By Shea Gunther Writer University of New Hampshire Rochester Institute of Technology University of Southern Maine Shea Gunther is a writer, entrepreneur, and podcaster living in Portland, Maine. He covers topics such as renewable energy, climate change, and nature. our editorial process Shea Gunther Updated February 26, 2020 Surfer Carlos Burle rides a giant wave. (Photo: EpicStockMedia/Shutterstock) Share Twitter Pinterest Email Environment Planet Earth Climate Crisis Pollution Recycling & Waste Natural Disasters Transportation What's it like to surf a tsunami? New Zealander surfer Chris Nel describes what it was like to be out at sea on his surfboard when a tsunami struck the island of Savai'i in Samoa. He and other surfers survived by paddling for deep water when the water got glassy and started running back out to sea. They paddled in after a few surges and had to make their way through trees and wreckage to finally hit shore.