Florida's Popular Surfers Paradise Beach Is One Of The Most Dangerous In America

Melbourne Beach on the east coast of Florida is a place that professional surfers flock to in order to catch the best waves. In fact, the beach can be credited with teaching a certain surfing world champion everything she knows. Caroline Marks, who became the youngest surfer ever to qualify for the World Surf League Championships at just 15 years old, grew up hanging ten on Melbourne Beach, per Good Morning America. Marks later went on to be the youngest Olympian surfer at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics before becoming the World Surf League 2023 World Champion at 21. So, if you're a surfer-in-training, this could be the beach where you cut your teeth on the road to glory.

But if you've never surfed before and aren't the best swimmer, there are some important safety details you should know about Melbourne Beach before you slip on your swimsuit and wax that surfboard. ESPN reports that the beach has a danger score of 6.35 out of 10, with that score indicating the higher the score, the less safe the beach is. And that's because the beach has a history of catastrophic fatalities, from shark attacks and surfing accidents to drowning accidents and even hurricanes, per the outlet. Before you head to this Florida beach to catch some waves, consider its danger-filled history. 

Melbourne Beach has a strong undertow

On Tripadvisor, those who have visited Melbourne Beach in Florida share their serious concerns, with one user warning that the water's current is so rough and powerful that it can slam you into a rock wall, causing major lacerations and contusions. They're not wrong; in fact, the current could drag you into the undertow, threatening your life. In February 2023, a man tried to save his son from the riptide and thusly drowned in the undertow, per Florida Today. A month later, an 18-year-old swimmer was found deceased on the beach after he "drowned in strong rip currents," as reported by Spectrum News 13

However, no matter how strong a swimmer you are, we can guarantee sharks are better swimmers because Melbourne Beach actually has a history of shark bite incidents. In 2014, a shark bit a woman on the hand, and emergency crews called the injury "a pretty significant bite," per the Associated Press. Then, in 2020, a man suffered a shark bite to his arm, where officials said the man suffered "significant bleeding," per Click Orlando. The outlet also reports that there have been reportedly six shark-related incidents at Melbourne Beach alone between 2010 and 2020.

ESPN also warns that, since 1851, a whopping 120 hurricanes have slammed the beach. So, if you patronize the beach, there are a lot of elements working against you if you are unskilled at water sports, unaware of current weather patterns, or not the strongest swimmer.

Surf at your own risk (classes are available!)

If you're still not deterred from trying your hand at surfing on Melbourne Beach, then you'll be delighted to know that advanced surfers who have mastered the beach's waves absolutely adore it. This YouTube video shows surfers catching wave after wave after wave, running back in for more, and positively shredding it. However, no matter how much fun the surfers are having, we can't help but notice in this video just how incredibly high the waves and breaks are. That's why surfing here is not recommended for beginners.

If you'd like a surfing refresher before you hang ten, then Melbourne Beach has you covered. You can take surfing lessons there through Surfguys to make sure your skills are up to snuff. Plus, there are a whole host of other activities you can do on the beach and in the surrounding area if surfing isn't your vibe. A highly-rated local bed and breakfast, Port D'Hiver, notes that you can go kayaking, take an airboat tour, a wildlife tour, fish, and even skydive in the area.