Shield surfing is a hidden mechanic in The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild that allows Link to ride any equipped shield down almost any type of surface in Hyrule. The applications of shield surfing are many: from simple to diversion to faster traversal to puzzle solving and side quests.
Shield surfing is a difficult technique to master and, like many of the gameplay elements in Breath Of The Wild, is left up to the player to discover. Once you understand the basic though, shield surfing is an incredibly fun and rewarding experience. Whether you want to break a world record or just learn to get around town in a stylish way, we've got you covered: Here's everything you need to know about shield surfing, how to shield surf, what shields to use, where the best spots to shield surf are, and the low-down on shield surfing challenges.
What Is Shield Surfing?
Shield surfing is a technique that can be used from the moment Link acquires his first shield. However, because shield surfing requires a specific sequence of button presses, you may not discover how to shield surf until much later in the game, if at all. If you happen upon a region called Tribly Plain in the north-most section of the map, you may run into a man named Russ who sells shields. Russ is a shield surfer and will clue you in on how to perform the technique. If you miss Russ, you may discover Selmie The Top Shield Surfer in Selmie's Place located in the Hebra region. Selmie will reward you with three shields if you are able to complete all three shield surfing mini-games she has in the required amount of time. The side quest is a great introduction to the sport of shield surfing and the shields she rewards aren't half bad either.
If you aren't lucky enough to run into Russ or Selmie, then you're kind of on your own to figure out the ins and outs of shield surfing. Even if you do find them, it likely won't be until later in the game, as they are both located in the farthest northern regions of Hyrule, meaning you will have surely missed out on many hours of wonderful surfing fun to be had. Never fear, dear reader, we've got all your shield surfing deets right here.
How To Shield Surf
First, you will need to equip a shield. All shields have a certain amount of durability and surfing on them will erode their strength until they eventually break. You may be tempted to use an extremely durable shield, such as an ancient shield, in order to get in the most surfing time. This isn't recommended, however; powerful shields are difficult to replace and better used defending your life. Instead, look to the starting area for Boko shields and pot lids. Yes, they will break quickly, but they are easy to gather and practically worthless in battle, so stock up and get ready to hit the slopes.
To start, simply equip a shield and hold ZL to block, then press X to jump and, while in the air, press A. Link will drop the shield under his feet and ride it down any slope. It may sound like a complicated input, but you'll get the hang of it. Once you're on, you can steer with the left stick and jump over obstacles with X. Find some hills and get comfortable with the friction of different ground types and the turn radius of the shield. As an added tip, sand and snow won't damage the durability of your shield, so find a nice snowy mountain and relive your Cool Boarders golden years.
There are a number of advanced techniques you can use while riding your shield. If you equip a bow, Link can fire arrows while surfing for some very high skill take-downs. Additionally, if you hold the Y button, you can perform spin tricks, which can even do damage to enemies. If you really want to impress your friends, jumping and gliding as you start to lose speed will actually allow you to slowly work your way uphill without getting off your shield. It's a bit like walking in the grass with roller blades on, but it will do in a pinch. Now that you know how to shield surf, let's talk about the best places to practice your skills.
Where Are The Best Spots To Shield Surf?
The absolute best location to practice your shield surfing is the northern part of Hebra where you will find Selmie. This area is packed with steep, snow-covered mountain and offers a lot of great routes that will make you feel like The Flying Tomato himself. The tallest mountain in the area, Hebra Peak, is also the starting spot for this totally insane surf across the entire map:
If snow just isn't your speed another great spot to surf in is north of Hateno Village. Starting at the Ancient Tech Lab, you can surf a windy, grassy route down through the village on multiple paths. There is plenty to see and do in the village so it a worthwhile spot to visit.
Shield Surfing Challenge Spots
If you're feeling confident on a shield, there are some fantastic challenges scattered around Hyrule you can participate in. A popular spot to test your skills is an extremely narrow bridge located in the northeast near Rist Peninsula. The bridge was the focus of a Reddit challenge that predated the release of the game and was immediately a popular destination to surf.
Another popular challenge spot is the advanced course that Selmie offers at Selmie's spot in the Hebra region. You need to finish the course in under 2 minutes to get a reward, however, it is possible to finish the course in sub-1:30 time and Selmie will give you an even better shield. The current world record is 55 seconds, so if you really want to make a name for yourself in the high profile world of shield surfing, go for it.
Shield surfing is an exciting and incredibly addicting challenge in Breath Of The Wild, one that has kept players coming back more than two years after the initial release of the game. There hasn't been any word yet whether shield surfing will be included in the upcoming sequel, but based on how much fun it is and how popular it has become, it certainly seems likely.