One common question about Surfers ear is - will I have to get surgery? As with most complicated questions - the answer is "It depends."
Surfers who live in cold water locales and surf without ear plugs for many decades often develop symptoms of Surfer's Ear that are hard to ignore. As the exetosis becomes more advanced, some people experience hearing loss, increased risks of ear infections, tinnitus, vertigo and head pressure to the point where something needs to be done. While drops like Surfers Ear Drops can provide temporary relief, sometimes a more permanent solution is called for.
As of today, there are two primary paths if surgery is a must. The chisel method and the drill method. While both can be effective, there is some consensus that the chisel method - as developed by Dr. Douglas Hetzler in Santa Cruz CA is less invasive and gets you back in the water faster. Of course there are risks for any surgery, especially when dealing with such a sensitive part of your body.
The best bet of course, is to avoid needing surgery at all by wearing ear plugs!