Have You Ever Experienced Surf Guilt? - Stab Mag
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Guilty as charged. Art by Noa Emberson/@joystain

Have You Ever Experienced Surf Guilt?

You really should be surfing more.

premium // Dec 2, 2021
Words by Brendan Buckley
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Note: Every weekend, Stab Premium subscribers receive a newsletter called The Misc which features an illustration like you see above paired with a passage like you’ll read below. Want in? Subscribe here.

Are you familiar with the term “surf guilt?” 

I doubt you are. It’s not a term, really. However, the idea of feeling guilty about surfing is something I’d bet many of you know well. 

In the past, it used to be pretty straightforward. You’d feel guilty for surfing too much. “Too much” could be defined as so much that you were constantly late for work, or that you frequently missed important social gatherings, or that your obsession with surfing was so consuming that those around you found it to be inflammatory. 

Which may still be the case for some. But these days, for many people, I think the guilt now comes from the opposite direction. 

Surfing is good. It keeps the body healthy and the mind sharp. Yes, there are things like the risk of injury and the expense of a broken board and a constant buffet of potential annoyances for you to choose from and wildly exaggerate if you’d like to rob yourself of some joy. 

But let’s be honest — you can find a way to annoy yourself no matter what you’re doing. So, surfing is good and I’m done hearing otherwise.

It’s actually so good that people now feel guilty for not doing it enough.

How many times have you, or a close friend, muttered, “I should be surfing more?” 

And it’s not just an empty statement. There’s genuine guilt in it. Like surfing is a test that you should have studied more for, or a lifestyle change you’ve been failing to implement. 

This form of surf guilt could be brought on after having allowed a good run of swell come and go without a single wave ridden. Or by paddling out one day, and feeling as though your surfboard is an alien object every time your feet press into it. Or even just by driving by the beach on a fun day and not having your board in the car. 

As an aside, never get caught without a board. This is simply a matter of personal safety, which is paramount to Stab.

Anyway, if ever you experience surf guilt, the good news is that the solution is exactly as simple as it seems.

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