How To: Celebrate International Surfing Day (A Day Late)
Getting in the water would be a start, but that’s not the most important aspect of ‘surfing’.
Happy International Surfing Day, aka the third Saturday of June! Well, I guess that was yesterday, nevertheless, let’s reflect on the aquatic hobby we all love and have no doubt ‘wasted’ many moneys and hours doing.
ISD started back in 2005 after Surfing Life and the Surfrider foundation were jealous of all those other ‘days’ out there and thought we were deserving of our own special day… they clearly weren’t aware that World Surf Day already existed.
Anyway, we’re here to celebrate this glorious day, and I figured there’s no better individual than I, a mediocre bodyboarder turned very average surfer, who writes (editor interjection: poorly) for this publication on the weekends, to publish a piece on the most important parts of surfing. The Gestalt principle that ‘the whole is more than the sum of its parts’ may be true for surfing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the finer details.
While getting in the water and catching a few waves is the main goal of our favoured pursuit, it is by no means the activity we spend the majority of our time doing while pursuing our surfing dreams. So, I suggest you take this time to reflect on all the loveable activities we too often overlook.
Sitting in the car ‘checking it’
It’s a well-known fact that as you age the ratio between checking it and surfing gets exponentially larger.
When you’re a grom and your parents drop you off, you’ll surf anything. Well, anything that isn’t big enough to kill you, or at least convince your parents it’s too big for you. You imagine once you get your provisional license you’ll be surfing more than ever, but what you fail to realise is you’ll actually just be checking it significantly more.
Rather than driving to a beach and surfing it, you’ll be clocking clicks up and down the coast for two hours before you return to a slightly more blown-out version of the first spot.
Then, once you progress into jaded-adulthood you get over all that spot checking and just resort to talking about it all in the carpark: the good ol’ days when the banks were good, you were good, and you actually surfed.
A mind-surf, unlike the real thing, is never disappointing and in my mind should be embraced significantly more.
Getting really fucking angry
There’s a number of catalysts for fury in surfing: a crowded lineup, a hoax of a surf report/forecast, poor ability, getting dropped in on, receiving backlash for dropping in. The list is truly endless. These instances however should be cherished rather than feared.
Some hemp-wearing, doobie-smoking dick might tell you surfing is all about the soul. But for some of us, it’s a great way to unleash pent up rage.
If you’re a good surfer, you can emancipate your frustrations with a well-timed whack or end-section air, but if you’re shit, then you can just unleash it via your lungs or perhaps even direct it at some other underserving individual.
Riding the wrong board
Most of us are on the wrong equipment, either for our ability or the conditions. So, to exacerbate and thus celebrate this fine tradition, I suggest riding something grossly inappropriate. Let’s say…a foamie in clean, four-foot surf (a hobby usually reserved for Byron Bay residing knob-heads and people that are really good) or a step-up thruster on the worst day your local has seen in months (usually reserved for every overseas learning surfer in Sydney).
I don’t suggest this as a form of masochism. I see it as a learning activity. When you push the barriers of ‘appropriate equipment’ this far you’ll soon realise how horrible it is, you might however also realise that if you head back in the other direction you’ll enjoy your surfing much more.
To your partner, parents, friends, and even yourself.
Surfing is built on lies and don’t you ever forget that.
Whether you’re lying about the price of your new board to your partner, lying about why you’re late to family lunch, why you can’t afford the rent this month, or most pertinently, lying to yourself about your own ability.
Whatever it is, let rip a big old lie this weekend and remember to never ever watch footage of yourself surfing.
It’s a right of passage for all surfers to eventually throw in the towel and live their former lives vicariously through their kids or through an internet comment section. Besides, there’s nothing more altruistic in surfing than giving it all up to let those who remain surf in a less crowded world.
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