Disclaimer: This article is designed to EDUCATE people on the dangers of elevator surfing.It is NOT designed to tell people what they can or cannot do. People should make their own evaluations, and decide on their own personal point of view.


Over the last few years, elevator has become a viral thing within the elevator community. Elevator surfing, also known as "lift surfing", "vator surfing" or "elevaroping", is an activity involving riding on top of elevators. Also viral recently, are activities including breaking the safety circuits, releasing the brakes and messing around with the controllers. Elevator surfing, as well as messing with control/logic systems and brakes, is an extremely dangerous activity.

Elevators are not designed to have people on top of them other than certified elevator technicians/engineers. Most of the people that are killed or injured elevator surfing did not know what they were doing whilst on top of the elevator. Even if you think you know what you're doing, every elevator can have the potential to surprise you with something you're not expecting to happen. People who aren't trained as elevator technicians/engineers are the ones most at risk when surfing an elevator.

Using the elevator door keys to open the landing doors whilst a car is not present is also extremely dangerous, as it could kill you or somebody else if one was to fall down the shaft. Imagine this, You just want to take a quick peek into the elevator shaft, you open the door a little, somebody in a rush comes seeing the cracked door, thinks a car is present, grabs the door and falls down the shaft. Congrats, you just injured/killed somebody.

The Dangers

Elevator surfing has claimed many lives over the years and seriously injured several others. There are many things that could go wrong when surfing an elevator that could potentially kill you.

  • Struck by the counter-weight, which can cause loss of limb and/or decapitation.
  • Crushed between the elevator and the top or sides of the shaft.
  • Injured by moving cables.
  • Caught in the door motor/operator.
  • Touching something that could electrocute you (loose cables or something with a high voltage power supply).
  • Falling down the elevator shaft (some elevators have a shaft much bigger than the elevator itself).
  • You or somebody else falling down the shaft as a result of you opening the elevator landing doors, when a car is not present.

You are at a much higher risk when you are not paying attention to what you are doing or to your surroundings. The most risky situation is when you, or someone on top of the elevator with you, is mucking around and not paying attention to what is going on. This is when the chances of death are much higher.

You will find that most building managers do not know anymore about their elevator than you do and are unaware of the danger of opening the hoist-way door while the car is not present. Also, any building owner, manager, employee or security guard is not going to take the situation lightly if they catch you surfing their elevator. At best, you will be ejected from the facility and at worst you will be arrested.

When it goes wrong, it REALLY goes wrong

Elevator Surfing is extremely dangerous. Elevators are not designed to have people on top of them who are not engineers. Several people have died from it. Surfers can be crushed between the elevator and the top or sides of the elevator shaft, be struck by the counterweight, or slip and fall to their deaths. When things go wrong, they go wrong very quickly and if you are not in control you're going to be injured or could even die. The risk of getting caught surfing an elevator is always reasonably high. Elevator surfing is illegal in many locations, and can result in prosecution (this depends entirely on where you live, and on who catches you).

Elevator surfing accident video

This video clip is an exert form the TV Series "London's Burning". It shows two kids playing on top of an elevator. This video is a clear example of why elevator surfing is dangerous and shows just one of the many ways you can be killed doing it. Two youths muck about on the roof of an elevator and one is decapitated by the counterweight passing in the opposite direction. the fire brigade are called out and find the traumatized boy covered in blood and gore. A firefighter is sent down to the elevator pit, where he finds the headless remains of the other boy.

Remember, this is a FICTIONAL scenario from a TV Series. No one was actually harmed, but how the accident happened was frighteningly accurate.

WARNING: This video contains graphic content! Some viewers may find this upsetting and disturbing.

London's Burning - Lift Surfing Accident - Series 4 - Episode 5

London's Burning - Lift Surfing Accident - Series 4 - Episode 5

Photographic evidence

Any photos or videos of you surfing an elevator can be used as evidence against you as proof of committing a criminal offense. When you upload a photo or video, you are essentially given the entire world free access to the evidence needed to have you prosecuted in a court of law. If you are concerned about possibly incriminating yourself, then you may want to delete any videos or photos from the internet that could be incriminating.

Further Reading

External links