Stab Magazine | How To Change Your Mind: Mental Judo And Why There's No Such Thing As A Bad Surf

And The Winners Of The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Are... Watch The Pick-Up Episode 5, Presented by Vans, To Find Out


How To Change Your Mind: Mental Judo And Why There’s No Such Thing As A Bad Surf

Or, reveling in negativity and picking apart the utterly fantastic life you live but struggle to appreciate.

style // Nov 29, 2018
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

I just had a shocker of a session.  

One of those days where you’re always out of position, reflexes are slightly off. You’re just a tad too slow; mistiming sections, blowing turns, and bogging rail.

My normal reaction to the self loathing a shocker brings on is to drink myself stupid. Bury the shame in alcohol, shut down that voice that says, “You’ve been doing this your entire life. How do you suck so bad?”

It’s not exactly a healthy way to deal, something of which my therapist repeatedly reminds me: “By anyone’s measure, you’re an off-the-charts addict.”

I disagree. My addiction is entirely functional; I’ve hated myself, off and on, since childhood—long before the drugs and alcohol and health insurance that pays a stranger to listen to me whine for an hour each week.

That said, the wife is gone for the week, and when I’m alone things get dark. The urge to go full hermit grows intense, the darkness creeps in. I want nothing more than to shut myself into a cave and ignore the world. Revel in negativity and pick apart the utterly fantastic life I live but struggle to appreciate.

But maybe not this time. Maybe I can talk my way into a shred of joy. Remind myself that life ain’t so bad. That there’s a lot out there to enjoy. The important small things that I take for granted but truly make my life worth living.

Hooting a beginner into a closeout

One thing I love about living in Hawaii is that shops will rent surfboards to tourists regardless of the amount of swell in the water. Take their money, point them at the beach. Let Mother Nature sort things out.

They battle into the lineup splay-legged, sit hunched over their board, paddle for anything that comes their way.

And when it’s sucking dry, bottoming out, and they’re a bit too far inside—is there anything better than an encouraging hoot? “Yew, go!” The over-the-falls detonation and sputtering, white-faced ladder climbing to the surface that comes after is delicious.

Maybe a tad mean, but we’ve all been there. We know how it feels. Yeah, it’s a bit scary when you’re new, but it’s damn funny when you aren’t.

Tiny Bikinis

Look, Don’t Leer, that’s a rule to live by. Pretty girls are pretty; there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the view.

And butts are back in fashion and I’m a massive fan. I’ll happily get distracted by action on the beach and miss a set, or take a set on the head to see a good duck dive.

I’m likely old enough to be her father and the days when she’d be receptive to my flirting are long in the past. But that’s okay. We take what we can get.

Gloriously Hideous Tan Lines

I surf in a neoprene vest most days. It protects my nips, delays my skin cancer, and is delightfully slimming to boot. But it makes me look ridiculous with my shirt off. Tan face and arms, fish white belly and back.

Spending your life in the sun ages a person hard, and I’m no exception. It’s healthy to kill your vanity, remind yourself that you’ll never look as good as you once did.  

Brings a bit of humor to pre-existing sexual relationships, penis tucked between the legs, tank top tan line, and gyrating hips. “Hey, baby. Would you fuck me? I’d fuck me.”

Listening to people spin lies

I don’t like to tell people that I write about surfing. It invites mundane small talk about a subject to which I already devote far too much time, and without fail it’s always the same conversation: a half-lie about the time they surfed big waves, received with a smile, nod, and a quick attempt to change the subject.

It’s more fun to eavesdrop. I once spent a lovely evening relaxing in a timeshare jacuzzi while some boner did “breath hold training” in hot water while his friend chatted up a pair of tourist girls about the big waves they were about to go surf.

More recently, a Military Guy circled an Attractive Acquaintance while spinning a web of nonsense about his love of surf that left me mildly embarrassed for him.

It’s amusing, the idea that women are attracted to men who surf well. Here’s something most of us learn while we’re still teens: They aren’t. They don’t care. 

Military Guy ended up asking me if I surf toward the end of the day. “Sure,” I replied, “It’s Hawaii. Everyone surfs here.”

“Rory writes for a surf magazine,” the Attractive Acquaintance chimed in.

“Oh yeah? Which one?”

Stab,” I told him.

“Never heard of it.” 


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