My girlfriend read something I’d written on t’interweb the other day and reacted like a proper Daily Mail reading shocked of Tunbridge Wells:

“You really piss in your wetsuit?” she exclaimed in horror.

‘Err, yes. Everyone does, what of it?’ I replied.

“So you mean to tell me that even Kelly Slater pisses himself when he wears a wetsuit?”

She, like most humans I know, has a bit of a soft spot for The Jedi™ and whilst he may be the King he still needs a wee now and then. Although as we all know he pisses excellence…

This got me thinking. Surfing has a dark damp secret. One that is curiously absent from the mainstream media golden-tinged, Endless Summer ideal of what surfing is. Surfing is not all VW combis, beach parties, sunshine, attractive tanned people, wild sex, longboards and ukuleles as London ad agencies would have you believe.

Far from it, but then again the more realistic version, the one you will actually see in Britain and Ireland’s beach car parks on a daily basis is as far from that rose-tinted ideal as possible.

Namely: cold, pale-skinned people, wearing rubber suits, gleefully urinating on themselves, as they nearly freeze to death … While enjoying it. Which is wrong on so many levels. It sounds like a water sports website that even lovers of all things kink would find a bit gross.

From early childhood we are taught that peeing your self is wrong. Wetting the bed is evil and will get you sent straight to damp pissy hell. In fact if you still piss the bed at a late age they consider you a mental. Pissing in public will get you a caution from the boys in blue and if you do it again, unavoidable after 10-pints of fight strength lager, you will get arrested. Not so in the more libertarian France where you are positively encouraged to slash outside, anywhere, at any time.

So how it is that whilst in a wetsuit it is considered totally fine, nay, encouraged in the winter to have a good, long wee? Or am I talking completely out of left field here? Hands up who never pisses in their wetty. Thought so…

Jeez, I make sure I drink heaps before going out in the winter just to make sure I have enough in the tank for a couple of those delightful warming episodes.

So. Who else pees for fun when engaged in sports? I guess swimmers have sneaky ones, they kind of take it for granted they are swimming in a soup of water, chlorine, skin flakes and other folks urine, they might as well make the pool water yellow and be done with the pretence. Canoeists, windsurfers and all our supposedly related surf disciplines like kiters and wakeboarders will all be pissy boys (maybe that’s why they wear boardies outside their wetsuits? To hide the stains?) Cyclists and marathon runners must have something taped to their bits cos stopping for a leak is gonna ruin your world record attempt? F1 and rally drivers probably just put a carbon bolt in the end or something technical.

We are pretty unique. Hell, I’d even say we are more advanced, we aren’t repressed in relation to our bodily functions. A pee in the winter when the sub-zero temps are really starting to bite is a magical thing.

The only problem is modern wetsuit technology. It is getting too good. Time was a duckdive or good beating and you’d get a decent injection of cold North Atlantic brine to flush out the fetid urea flourishing within. These day wetties are so warm, so well cut, so ruddy tech that hardly any water gets in … or more crucially out. When I take off my hooded 6mm I steam. The wetsuit lining fabric is not wet, only damp patches from sweat, and the aforementioned downstairs mistake.

So. This leads to an unenviable dilemma. When getting out from a winter session, when you have most definitely gone to the toilet on yourself, do you pull the neck out and go for the bracing flush of ice cold Atlantic water. Or do you pretend you haven’t then hope no one smells the overpowering stench in the car on the way home? As long as everyone’s gone for option B then it’s fine. No one will mention it as everyone will be equally embarrassed. I tend to go for option A, but I am a masochist. Keeping hydrated is key. Drink lots and your wee is clear. Don’t drink enough and it’s like snotty honey. Which ain’t healthy.

The other question is when is it okay to wee? Some people think if the suits on then its toilet time. Be it in the car park or walking down the beach. But beware, I was ankle deep about to go out in Ireland a year or two back and just doing up me chest zip which broke terminally. I couldn’t get it done up so retired peeved to the car. Regretting the piss I had done on the walk down. As I had to sit in the car for two hours marinating in fresh wee waiting for everyone else to finish their session.

Going back to the disgusted partner of mine, who by now is looking at me like she really doesn’t know me anymore, she had to ask:

‘Do you poop in your wetsuit as well?’

My answer: ‘Not intentionally.’

Not that I have. But I know people who have. Everyone does. When people are ill, it can be unavoidable, a shart in a wetsuit is probably the best place for it … and that’s a warmth that really does last.

By Sharpy