When you’re a grom summer stretches out forever. Even when you’re verging out of gromhood into college or uni years you still have epic, long summers of surf.
Make the most of it as once adulthood kicks in those long weeks of dicking about in the sea will only be visible through rose-tinted glasses. Two weeks off in the summer is never the same as the months of fun you have as a grom. Seize every day there’s surf with abandon. Just to encourage you to make the most of it here’s a handy listicle of reasons why being a grom is the best of times…
When you’re a grom you’re generally a small human. Unless you are Angus Scotney. Who at 15 was larger than most full grown adult males of the species. If you are not Angus then you could well be a small person. This might not have a huge benefit when it comes to playing rugby but it’s amazing when you surf. For the following reason: ‘Small’ waves aren’t that small to you. Your head height wave could be nipple height on a big dude. And because you are smaller and lighter the physics of it all means you can rip small waves on a shortboard while the grown ups are struggling to get to their feet or resorting to riding longboards. And seeing as the summer is small swell time you’re killing it when it comes to rideable days.
As a grom you aren’t allowed to smoke, drink or drive a car. Three things that as an adult leave you very much out of pocket. Add to the fact you tend to be living at home rent free then any money you make from the shit-kicking evening/weekend job is all yours. Enjoy it. You’ll be richer as a grom than you ever will be once the real world comes crashing in when you leave the nest. Free to spend it on energy drinks you’re not really allowed and all the food that’s really bad for you because as a grom you can eat any old shit and burn it off without turning into a lard arse. If you surf of course. If you’re sat on the couch playing COD you’ll be off to fat camp before you know it.
No one likes bathing. Showers and baths are a bore. Being a grom, and hence keen as, you’re in the sea and sun all the time which keeps you a) nut brown b) sun bleached and salt mopped in the hair department c) kind of clean, you’re bathing in water of sorts so that’s enough. Just remember to flush your wetty out on the way in so you’re not known as ‘Pissy Boy’ to your mates.
THE OPPOSITE SEX
Summer means exposed flesh and, if you’re a regulation grom, hormones soaring out of control. Heady times indeed. Everyone looks better with a tan and surf all the time you’ll be looking more buff than the gym bunny fools slurping creatine shakes. Mainly because your muscles are being toned rather than being pumped up. Make the most of it and of course be safe. Summer loving is all about fun so don’t be a twat.
At 17 you can get your provisional license and learn to drive. Which means freedom. So make sure you bag a slightly older friend. One with rich parents that will obvs get bought loads of lessons and a decent car by the bank of Mum and Dad. You then have a ride. The world becomes your oyster and eco-not-friendly as cars are it means you can surf all over the place. No more limiting yourself to your home break or wherever you can blag the ‘rents to take you. This opens up the next point:
Doing the legendary summer mission to Hossegor is a rite of passage for groms. Super fun waves, boardshort temp water and the freedom to sunbathe in the buff if you prefer. It is, in short, heaven. All you need is the aforementioned friend with a car, a sleeping bag, boards, camping stove, pan, box of noodles and some cash for ten packs of ‘pain au chocolate’ and Yop and you’re off on the surf holibob of a lifetime. Sleep on the beach, being sure to avoid being minced by the beach cleaning tractors, and if wet sleep in the car. You can go for a month on hardly any cash and as you’re sleeping on the beach you hit the dawnies before the locals and get the choice waves. Then there’s the legendary French night life. Even if you aren’t old enough to partake in an ale the Centrale is chock full of fun every night in summer.
Summer is awesome as school stops. College and uni stop for even longer. This is why it’s a good idea to go to university as you get three month summer breaks! Even more time to dick about in the sea. Even when in school it’s better than doing a job. Sure the money is not so hot but responsibility is zero. All you have to do is try and wangle some exams and be a thorn in the teachers’ backsides.
The most flavoursome cold food in the world IS summer. Eating it in the winter is all kinds of odd. It can actually help cool you down so it’s not only tasty it’s good for you medically. It’s like air conditioning for your guts. It does, of course, also power your surfing in the summer. And yes. If Ben & Jerry’s is on special you are allowed to nail a whole tub in one go … as long as you’ve surfed for at least five hours that day.
As a grom it’s your duty to be a pain in the ass. Whether this means jumping off harbour walls when the harbour master would rather you didn’t (assuming you’ve done the sensible thing and snorkelled the landing area to survey depth/obstacles, cliff jumping into the unknown is idiotic), skating where you’re not meant too or paddling rings round grumpy old people in the line-up. You’re young and fast on your feet. They have to catch you to punish you. Being cheeky is your divine right. Assert it. Once old it doesn’t really work.
Simple. Good mates are your wingmen, co-pilots and co-conspirators. Treat them right.
When you’re an adult you have to do your laundry yourself. As a grom you just leave your rank dirty boardies and crusty t-shirts on the bedroom floor and they magically vanish and reappear the next day smelling all pine fresh. No one is quite sure how this happens. It’s probably because science.
Same thing with food. It just gets served by that nice lady that lives in your house. The one that tuts and rolls her eyes at you. Saves you the bother of learning how to cook.
The only downside to being a grom in the summer is grom abuse from the older crew. It’s your duty to accept this as another rite of passage. It’s proof you are being grom enough and probably getting too many waves. Being hung upside down by surf leashes or strapped to the roof of a car is kind of fun anyway.
You’ve only got one grommet-hood. Seize it with both hands.
Words & Photos: Sharpy.
Starring: Stan Norman, Jo Morris, Seth Morris, Will Masterman, Bertie Norman and Barnaby Cox.