The Strange Intimacy Of An Almost Empty Lineup - Stab Mag

The Strange Intimacy Of An Almost Empty Lineup

Misc: Just the two of us.

Words by Brendan Buckley

Crowds can be annoying. Surfing alone is great. Sharing a lineup with one other person is…interesting. 

I’m not talking about paddling out at an empty wave with a friend — that’s just an enhanced version of surfing alone. I’m talking about when you and a stranger find yourselves in the water together with nobody else around. 

It’s a strange dynamic. Because, for that to happen, someone’s solo session is coming to an abrupt end. This can be met with excitement or skepticism. Usually, it’s a mix of the two. You’re happy to share the experience with someone, but at the same time, hoping they don’t find a way to ruin it. 

When you’re the intruder, you have to at least greet the person who’s already out there. To sit five feet away from each other in an otherwise empty sea would be sociopathic. Could you imagine a fight erupting when there are only two people out? I cannot. 

Anyway, the dynamic can expand in a number of ways from there. Sometimes it’s bigger or stormier, and there’s an unspoken respect; you’re sort of looking after each other. Other times it’s fun, and it (just quietly) becomes a competition. Or it might be surprisingly good, and you both relish in the good fortune you’ve stumbled upon, hardly even seeing each other because you’re doing laps that are out of sync. 

There are even times when you strike up a hell of a chat. 

That’s the best-case scenario, I think. 

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend who’s obsessed with golf. Curious, I asked him what he loves so much about it. I was prepared for him to supply a cliche answer — maybe something along the lines of the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know — and even prepared to poke around such a remark. Instead, what he said surprised me. 

“I like just showing up alone and getting paired with a stranger,” he said. “You meet some fascinating people.” 

Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League

 The WSL Wildcard Fiasco Is Officially Here
There’s a petition going around… May I simply pull a quote from this story? It’s my piece, of course I may: “A massive group text thread has been set up to help facilitate a discussion amongst CS competitors. It’s been a healthy exercise, though some of the younger crew — perhaps incapable of sensing how serious the other surfers were taking the matter, perhaps fully capable of sensing it and deciding to have some fun — were reportedly kicked out for sending shirtless selfies with their nipples coated in whipped cream.” 

Since publishing, I have seen the photograph and I would like to amend this. I believe the cream was in fact for shaving, not for eating.  

Watch: Episode 3 of Stab Highway Presented By Monster Energy
Bad haircuts surged into vogue during the pandemic as it became a sudden priority to avoid contact with other people who like to breathe, too. Thus, the art form — and it truly is an art form — of bad haircuts was radically innovated. The Stab Highway crew had much to live up to in this regard, and they did not disappoint. 

Jordy Smith
Photo by Alan Van Gysen

Are Surfboards Made To Fail?
If you want a board to last, try as hard as you can to break it. Actively seek closeouts in both your spot selection and wave selection. Try airs that are outrageously out of your league. Hit the dumbest sections you can find. Your board, somehow, will not break. Yes, and here’s a story that pokes around the notion of planned obsolescence in surfboard manufacturing.

Joyride Board Test: The Haydenshapes Hypto Krypto Twin

Secondhand surfboard sites are now flooded with forgotten 50/50 foil fins. Simon Anderson roams the streets of Narrabeen in the middle of the night with an empty stare. Nobody wants to thrust any more. Center fins are out. Cryptocurrency is in. Does this board capitalize on both of these trends? It is possible. 

Comment of the week: 

A good surfboard is def worth a thousand boners. 

One last thing: 
Never get caught without a backup leash in your car.


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