Interaction with an opposing current amplifies wave modulation and accelerates nonlinear wave focusing in regular wavepackets. This results in large-amplitude waves, usually known as rogue waves, even if the wave conditions are less prone to extremes. Laboratory experiments in three independent facilities are presented here to assess the role of opposing currents in changing the statistical properties of unidirectional and directional mechanically generated random wavefields. The results demonstrate in a consistent and robust manner that opposing currents induce a sharp and rapid transition from weakly to strongly non-Gaussian properties. This is associated with a substantial increase in the probability of occurrence of rogue waves for unidirectional and directional sea states, for which the occurrence of extreme and rogue waves is normally the least expected.