I am a University student and I am currently doing a study that aims to to map the problem different people who perform various water-activities have with their ears. Surfers are one of the segments in this study, so I would be very happy if you guys took 1-2 minutes of your time to help me out!
Most of the time I don't use ear plugs. The one time I had a problem, I used the silicone ones and they kept the water out and were pretty easy to use. As a surfer, the more important issue is long term effects such as "surfer's ear" or infections from polluted water.