n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Train surfing : a new phenomenon in South Africa?

Special Edition 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Train surfing is conduct deemed irrational and irresponsible to many non-surfing individuals. However, for the riders themselves, this thrill-seeking and risky activity means to be brave (fearless or courageous), facing fear, respect, status, courage, acknowledgment, recognition, skill and talent to ride, dance, manoeuvre, surf and survive the fast moving trains. Internationally, and in South Africa, "surfism" (train surfing), seems to fulfil youngsters' need for risk, adventure and high-risk test of courage. Although train surfing is a growing phenomenon on a national and an international (America, Berlin, Brazil, Britain and Hamburg) level, scientific publications related to this high-risk activity are scarce. This article (work-in-progress) highlights qualitative research findings related to nine juvenile male train surfers of Soweto, Gauteng, and reports on the participants in-depth, first-hand experiences and feelings pertaining to their involvement in train surfing.

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