Surfing with the Alien is the second studio album by guitarist Joe Satriani, released in 1987 through Relativity Records. The album is one of Satriani's most successful to date and contributed greatly to establishing his reputation as a respected rock guitarist. It is his third highest-charting album on the U.S. Billboard 200, reaching No. 29 and remaining on that chart for 75 weeks, the longest of any of his releases. It is also notable for being one of the first instrumental rock albums to reach the BillboardTop 40 chart; Satriani's subsequent album Flying in a Blue Dream (1989) would later chart higher, at No. 23.Surfing with the Alien was certified platinum in February 1992 and remains Satriani's only release to achieve that accolade.
The album contains fast and complex songs such as the title track and "Satch Boogie", which helped to further popularize shred guitar during that time, in addition to the strange-sounding "Crushing Day" and "Lords of Karma". By contrast slower, melodic songs such as "Always with Me, Always with You" and "Echo" provide a change of pace. "Midnight" utilizes the technique of two-handed tapping at high tempo, evoking a Spanish fingerstyle effect. There are also Nashville-tuned guitars ("Echo") and key changes ("Always with Me, Always with You" and "Echo") for variation. "Ice 9" references the fictional apocalyptic substance from Kurt Vonnegut's 1963 novel Cat's Cradle.
The cover art depicts the Marvel Comics character Silver Surfer on the front, with the hand of Galactus on the inside cover. The artwork is taken directly from Silver Surfer #1 (1982). The artist, John Byrne, has noted that the image was used without his permission and that he has never received payment for its use. However, the album's back cover lists a Marvel Characters, Inc. copyright statement.
Surfing with the Alien has been reissued several times. A remastered edition of the album was released on July 27, 1999 through Epic Records, which featured expanded liner notes. A second remaster celebrating the album's 20th anniversary was released on August 7, 2007 through Epic/Legacy Recordings; this is a double-disc set comprising the album itself with further expanded liner notes, as well as a DVD featuring Satriani's live performance at the 1988 Montreux Jazz Festival, music videos for "Always With Me, Always With You" and "Satch Boogie", and additional bonus material. To promote the 2007 reissue, Satriani played exclusive club gigs in select cities.