Surfing is not about rules, it’s groovy and not for squares, it is supposed to be a counter-culture after all. That’s all well and good but even counter-cultures need suggested guidelines. Here’s some ideas for a fulfilling surfing life.
1. Always have two blocks of wax in your car. One freshy for your stick and one sandy, pubey, possibly dog-chewed, fragment for lending to the inevitable wax taxing git in the car park. It’s a win-win.
2. If you’re getting a lift with a mate for a wave make sure you pack a bin/wetsuit bag for your post-surf, piss-ridden suit. The driver doesn’t want the acrid taint of your whizz haunting their car once you’ve gone. You do get brownie points for lift sharing though.
3. Never claim the surf by text to your mates until it’s too late. When it’s near dusk and any chance of getting in has evaporated then by all means drop the, ‘OMG it was off its fricking chops today! Where were you? LOL!’ to rub it right in.
4. Never ever use LOL or OMG in a text message or online unless you are a teenage girl or pretending to be a teenage girl.
5. We don’t need to tell you this but just to be sure: DO NOT ever wear board-shorts outside of your wetsuit. Unless you want every single right-minded person in the universe to think you are a tool of the highest order; and yes it is okay to point and laugh if you see someone doing it.
6. Ultra hairiness is not cool. Chicks do not dig it. Invest in some clippers. Keep that shit at ’number two’ max. You’ll be surprised at the benefits. One being not peeling your suit off and it appearing that its been borrowed by a mountain gorilla. The other being … some things look larger. That said a Connery style chest wig is acceptable as long as it isn’t too much of a thatch.
7. Always be as careful as a brain surgeon if you are bringing razor sharp, mechanised, whirring, clipper blades of doom anywhere near your meat and two veg. Trust us, it smarts when it goes wrong and it’s a tricky area to apply a plaster.
8. You can never have too many of the following: fin keys, leash strings, leashes, fins. Keep spares squirrelled in your car, garage and friends’ houses.
9. If you are too deep for the wave of the day go anyway to give the crowd a show. Everyone loves a good swan dive into the flats and someone on the right spot can still enjoy the ride.
10. By all means hack down a tree and shape yourself an alaia board if you feel the need to be a hipster. Just don’t expect a spot in the line-up rotation. They don’t paddle, can’t turn and if you really want to be doing stand up 360s you can buy a bodyboard.
11. No matter how many fin keys you own, the length of time it takes to find one is in direct proportion to the quality of the waves. Where’s yours right now?
12. See. Told you. Get one on your key ring and just man up and deal with the fact it will inevitably stab you in the thigh at an inopportune moment.
13. Disposable barbecues are a nightmare. Don’t do it. Buy a lifelong use metal bucket one for your beach sessions.
14. There’s no such thing as a veggie BBQ. Would you really want your Quorn burger burnt on the same grill as the hydraulically reclaimed meat and abattoir floor sweepings that pass for burgers? You may not win any friends with salad, but you will miss out on the E-coli food poisoning.
15. Never hang a wetsuit out to dry near a BBQ, unless you get off on the smell of burnt rubber and/or greasy meat debris on your precious.
16. Boffins have calculated it takes exactly four and a half minutes from when you buy a new board until you ding it on the nearest solid object with a sharp edge.
17. Riding a longboard is actually only legal from July 30 to August 30. Fact.
18. Cruising on a foam board is okay any time of year as they are super fun and are amazing for doing big floaters on, knee friendly and ding proof too, also you can run over tourists who will think you’re an inexperienced tourist too.
19. Surfing leashless maybe a freeing experience and great for your fitness but it’s lethal in busy waves. If you’re doing the 4:30am dawny then knock yourself out; anyone else in the line-up and you’ll be knocking someone else’s teeth out.
20. Coffee maybe the poor man’s cocaine, but stained teeth and a Starbucks habit are preferable to than paranoia, impotence and a heart attack in your thirties. 23x times the risk of heart attack whilst on it and that’s without the multiplying factor of booze.
21. The first rule of Surf Club is: you don’t talk about Surf Club.
22. The second rule of Surf Club: no smoking.
23. The third rule: no sandy feet, we’ve just had the carpet Rug Doctored.
24. You don’t need to get every biggest and best set wave of the day. Sharing is caring and sometimes the medium sized ones run better. Slater knows this well.
25. If you see some litter on the beach on your way back to the car pick it up. Might not be yours but it’ll do wonders for your karma. #2minutebeachclean whenever you can.
26. Recycling doesn’t only apply to newspapers and bottles. Reduce, reuse as much as you can.
27. Give broken boards and old wetsuits away to people less fortunate than yourself.
28. When you say, ‘This is my last wave!’ mean it, even if it’s a smoking deep keg. If you paddle back out for ‘just one more’ you can guarantee you will either a) paddle around in a mirror calm ocean for half an hour and have to paddle in looking like a bona fide idiot or b) snap your pelvis clean off on the next one.
29. Never drive away from good surf.
30. You will regret it, cos you can guarantee that by the time you get back from searching up and down the coast the tide will have changed and the bank will have turned to mush.
31. Never piss in your wetsuit in the car park.
32. And really, never piss in your suit in the car park then kick piss drips at your friends from the ankles. That is just gross.
33. It goes without saying that dumping in your wetsuit is a no-no.
34. Unless you have dysentery. Or if the surf is the best it has ever been and ever will be, although this is a movable goalpost. It has been known in Ireland on epic tow days.
35. Don’t attempt to dry your wetty using the hang it over the wing mirror whilst driving at speed technique. It will blow off into a cow field or become a fetching new grill decor for an HGV.
36. Cheap is not an option. Your wetty is not a style statement. It is a technical item. By the best one you can. Warmth and flexibility are worth paying for. A twenty quid from the garage job is not a good suit.
37. Chafing is an unavoidable hazard. No matter how good the suit if you surf a lot you will get neck rubs. Which look like obscene love bites. Doesn’t matter. Let the rest of the world think you’re still having frenetic, teenage style sex.
38. Never love bite a wetsuit rub, they sticky.
39. Surfing is done on the water not on the internet.
40. Try putting your phone down once in a while.
41. You should always tell at least one newbie that the ‘wax goes on the bottom of the board to make it go faster, like a snowboard’ then watch the confusion.
42. Conversely always tell a beginner that the zip does indeed go on the back of the wetty, no one should be allowed to walk down a beach like that.
43. When travelling don’t haggle over two pence it makes you seem like an utter twat. Spread the wealth.
44. One drop in is an accident, two is rude, three requires the error of their ways being politely pointed out.
45. Living somewhere for a year does not make you a local.
46. Living somewhere for five years still does not make you local, it makes you a regular.
47. Being a true local is not a license to act like a muppet.
48. Learn how to forecast waves the old school way using pressure maps. Learn all you can about how waves work and interact with local geography. Nothing more fascinating. Compare and contrast forecasts to reality and really get your spots wired.
49. Learn how to cook a roast. Nothing better than making your own Sunday spread. To add some zazzy to your gravy fry off some bacon lardons, roast some garlic, add to your gravy and whizz. Maybe a dash of Guinness or red wine if you want to really go to flavour town.
50. Cutting off an old full suit to make a shorty is never a good idea.