Stab Magazine | A Warning To Those Considering Booties
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A Warning To Those Considering Booties

There’s more similarities between booties and a condom than you’d believe.

style // Jun 12, 2018
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Booties.

Some love them, others loathe, and on the East Coast of Australia, most have never worn shoes let alone rubber booties.

Until last week, I sat comfortably amongst the latter category. The water and air temperatures in Sydney may get a little chilly – dropping below 10 centigrade on our most frigid days –  but in reality, there’s rarely the need to wear a pair of booties from the Victorian border and up.

Shinya, the creative in our little Bondi abode, is quite the opposite. He’s been a militant rubber-soul proponent since an ankle injury squandered his Olympic hopes a few years ago. Without fail, once Autumn nears its end and the daylight hours shrink to working hours, you won’t spot the soles of Shin’s feet again until Spring.   

The continued verbal profession of his love for the rubber socks alone was enough to pique my interests into trying a pair. Well, not quite enough to buy a pair, but at least nick a half-used hand me down from a recent trip, that just happened to fit.  

There also seems to be a strong relationship between donning boots and ripping, so maybe it wasn’t skill I was lacking after all – just a pair of neoprene ugg boots.

Before taking the dive, I had a couple questions…

Are they for warmth? Comfort? Grip? Or are they simply a surf-fashion accessory?

One week, five bootie sessions later and I can comfortably say I won’t be committing to them anytime soon – at least when I’m surfing around home.

This isn’t really a review as such, I’m not dropping product names here, instead, it’s a simple warning to those considering the plunge before testing the waters – or more aptly, avoiding them.

The grip is unfathomable.

You’ve felt the stickiness of a freshly waxed stick, but this is another realm; try the likes of a teenage boy who’s parents have left the house for an hour; the vice of an ex-girlfriend who realised you always paid for brunch; or eyes to the backside of a girl who wouldn’t so much as open your DM.  

That’s the sort of relentless attachment I’m talking about.

While keeping your feet positioned is good, being stuck to your board is not.

More competent and non-erratic surfers may plant their feet position and be happy with it, but for those like myself – who take a second or more to re-adjust, and move their feet mid-wave – booties are a burden.

There’s no small shimmy to adjust your feet here, you’ll need to lift your foot off, move it mid-air and then place it back down.

A three-step process I don’t have time, nor the skillset to pull off. And based on the competency of the average Sydney surfer, neither do you.  

Turns are easier (and I’d imagine airs are too).

Once your feet appropriately positioned, then you’ll psych on the lack of slip booties provide.

Pushing a little too hard on that tail pad and it ain’t as slip-free as it used to be? Well, booties will have you covered – quite literally.

Maybe it was sheer luck, or maybe it was that added ‘stuck’, but even though I don’t love them, I did the best turn I’ve ever done wearing booties – thankfully there isn’t any footage to bring me back to reality though.  

Quite literally a condom for you feet.

All dudes have a love-hate relationship with dommies, and booties, for me, are similar.

Booties protect you against the elements, like the cold, unsurfaced rocks and poisonous urchins, while the rubbers that aren’t for you feet, protect you against STI’s, impregnation and having fun. 

These qualities may not seem similar at first, but just like condoms eradicate all your hopes for the pleasure of touch, booties also stifle your hopes of feeling what’s under your soles at all.

They also stop your feet from becoming frozen hard and solid, similar to how condoms ensure that any hopes for augmentation are immediately doused. 

The pair I’ve been slipping into are the hard-bottomed type – I may as well have broken my L3 vertebrae I can feel so little down there. Shin, however, has informed me that the soft-bottomed, normal rubber types are much easier for those looking to keep a little touch while still wearing boots.

Make sure they actually fit (and have a strap)

You might be able to survive on a pair of hand-me-down shoes or those oversized sneakers nan bought you for Xmas, but when it comes to surf booties, this just won’t do.

Mine, for the most part, fit. But I’m still a sufferer of some small water collection and the occasional toe rollover at the front, and as difficult as they already are to wear, an ill-fitting pair will make the despair twice as bad.

Oh, and lastly, don’t wear them with a short-arm like I did, you’ll look like a fuckwit.

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