There’s plenty of brand new sights, challenges, mysteries, and mechanics within The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, but that doesn’t mean that Nintendo threw away the parts of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that worked. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? Fortunately, shield surfing, a fan-favorite method of traversal from Breath of the Wild, survived the transition to Tears of the Kingdom and players can once again bolt down hills on whatever shield(s) they have handy. Of course, the newer systems in Tears of the Kingdom have added a few twists to the mechanic.
Before we talk about the crazy stuff you can do with shield surfing, let’s talk about how to even begin. With a shield equipped, you’ll want to hold the shield button (ZL), jump (B or X depending on your control scheme), and, while you’re in the air, press the A button. That’s all there is to it!
However, it’s worth noting that if you perform a shield surf while standing in place Link will simply hop onto his shield without adding additional momentum. If gravity isn’t enough for you and you’d like just a little bit more oomph in your shield surfing ventures, moving Link forward while performing the action will cause him to jump and flip forward onto the shield with a brief, beginning boost. Also, if you’re already falling through the air for some reason, holding the shield button and pressing A will attach your equipped shield to Link’s feet so you can hit the ground surfing! It won’t stop any fall damage though, so keep that Paraglider handy.
Now, in Tears of the Kingdom you have the ability to fuse just about any object you can find to your weapon and shield. The overwhelming majority of items that can be smacked onto your shield will make shield surfing impossible to perform. You can always jump into your inventory and destroy a fused material if you want to restore a shield’s surfing capabilities, but there are a few items that will actually boost said surfing capabilities! Chunks of ice that you make in bodies of water, Hinox Toenails (ew), Zonai Sleds, Zonai Carts, and even minecarts will all fuse to your shield and help it go even farther when surfing. Neat! Just keep in mind that the lower a shield’s defense, the less time you’ll have to use it for surfing before it shatters.
As a final piece of shield surfing advice, there are a few different places in Hyrule with minecart rails. Going up these rails will require a full minecart with some means of propulsion, but if you’re headed down you can actually shield surf on them. You don’t even need to have a minecart fused to your shield! That would help you go faster and further, sure, but any shield will automatically lock onto a minecart rail when you shield surf onto them. Eat your heart out, Tony Hawk!
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For more than six years, Cade has closely followed the ins and outs of the video game industry while writing features, opinion pieces, reviews, interviews, analyses, and news updates. If he isn't writing about video games, Cade is playing every possible title he can get his hands on in order to deepen his understanding of the medium and its trends.