Tears of the Kingdom: Shield Surfing Tips, Tricks, and Duplication Glitches

Shields can do more than just block in Hyrule. You can also use them as surfboards, catch sick air, and even infinitely duplicate items.

Tears of the Kingdom Shield Surfing
Photo: Nintendo

Because The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an open-world title, its developers had to completely rethink how players would get around Hyrule. Their work created numerous fun mechanics, the best of which is arguably shield surfing. That feature returns in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and is better than ever.

Shield surfing in Tears of the Kingdom is exactly what it sounds like: Link pulls out his shield and rides it like a surfboard (or skateboard, depending on the situation). Performing this trick is as easy as holding ZL to ready the shield, jumping with X, and finally pressing the A button in the air. When done correctly, Link channels his inner Tony Hawk.

Since shield surfing relies on the game’s physics engine, it usually only works while traveling downhill (more on that in a bit). Once Link runs out of fresh slope, his shield will quickly run out of momentum. If players try this trick on a flat surface, Link will only travel two inches before stopping. Moreover, shield surfing puts an ungodly amount of wear and tear on a shield. Depending on the durability of a shield, it might only last one or two hits after surfing, and if the shield shatters while Link is still surfing downhill, he’ll trip and fall. You better hope Link has enough hearts to survive the rest of the trip down.

Tears of the Kingdom does add a couple of favorable wrinkles to that durability system, though. For instance, in Breath of the Wild, players couldn’t modify their equipment. If they tried shield surfing down a hill, they would typically do so on any pot lid or Boko shield they found. However, Tears of the Kingdom lets gamers attach countless accessories to their shields. Many of these items change how shields function, and that includes how Link uses them to surf.

Ad – content continues below

Arguably the best accessory for players who want to surf as much as possible is the mine cart since it adds two sets of wheels to the shield. With this combination, players no longer shield surf but shield skate, as the wheels maintain a lot more momentum and allow Link to travel further on flat surfaces while riding his shield. The Wing Zonai Device comes in close second since it gives Link more air time when fused with a shield. As for the worst shield surfing accessory, that raspberry of an award goes to boulders since any shield fused with that material can no longer surf. If Link tries to surf on those objects, he falls flat on his face.

Technically, Link can do more than just “surf” if he tries to shield surf with the right item fused to his shield. For instance, while traditional gaming instincts might tell you to ignite explosive barrels from afar, especially when dealing with swarms of enemies, they also work surprisingly well when slapped onto shields. These handheld bombs obviously blow up whenever someone attacks them, and they only damage enemies and not Link (a possible reference to the Blast Mask trick from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask).

So, if you try to shield surf when an explosive barrel is attached, you will instead set it off and send Link flying. Everyone around Link is damaged whereas he remains unsigned (because of video game logic). You can even follow up the explosion with some bullet-time air archery. The Time Bomb Zonai Device mostly functions the same way, while the Spring Zonai Device gives Link a one-use pogo jump. While you can’t shield surf if a Rocket Zonai Device is fused with a shield, you don’t really need to since pressing ZL shoots Link into the air like…well, a rocket.

When Nintendo introduced shield surfing to Breath of the Wild, players quickly learned to abuse the mechanic to essentially goomba stomp off enemies’ heads and into speedrun records. Well, Tears of the Kingdom features a different kind of shield-surfing glitch that may prove to be even more useful.

In a previous article, we discussed how you can duplicate and transmute items. Well, it turns out that shield surfing introduces two more tools to that belt of exploits. The first glitch is a simple item duping one. While Link is in the air and going into the shield surfing animation, go to the materials menu. Make Link hold an item you only have one of, and fill the four remaining slots with the final item in the menu. Then close the menu. If done correctly, Link will drop the items and not shield surf. When you pick up the spilled materials, you will have more than what you started with.

For this trick to work, it is absolutely crucial that whatever item you want to clone is the last one in your inventory. If sorting your inventory doesn’t place your desired materials in that spot, you have to drop all of that material in the overworld and pick it up. However, if you have more than 21 stacks, do not bother since Tears of the Kingdom’s engine can only support 21 item instances. Any more are lost to the digital void.

Ad – content continues below

The second glitch is a transmutation exploit. As with the duplication trick, pause the game as soon as Link transfers into the shield surfing animation while midair. Make him hold an item you only have one of, and then fill the remaining holding spots with any item. Again, Link will drop all of the items and not shield surf, and when you pick everything up, you will have more of the chosen duplication materials than you started with. Just remember that this is a transmutation glitch. While you will have more of one item, you will be missing a few copies of something else, specifically the material to the right of whatever item you wanted to clone. If you arrange your inventory the right way, you can essentially use this glitch to level up materials (e.g., trade Zonai Charges for Large Zonai Charges or exchange).

Unless Nintendo patches out this glitch, you can essentially shield surf your way to riches. But even if it does, you will still be able to roll around on a shield/mine cart combo.