How To Surf Good Waves Sans Crowd - Stab Mag
Something like this. Photo: Martxel Txintxurreta

How To Surf Good Waves Sans Crowd

We’ve cracked the code in this week’s edition of the Fwd.

Words by Brendan Buckley

Where I grew up, the water gets cold. 

Like, 40 (4 celsius) degrees cold. When I was in my pre-teens, I was not allowed to surf alone in the winter. As a result, I remember having to ride my bike up and down the beachfront, scouring every peak, hoping to find another rubber-bound soul. 

Look — there’s somebody on 12th. I can go surf! 

That didn’t last for very long, and so I spent many hours in my formative years bobbing around alone in the cold water trying to…I don’t know, figure out how to make a surfboard go backwards? There’s an old shipwreck at my home break and the mast still sticks out of the water at low tide. I named it Michael Angelo. My surf buddy. 

I was home over Christmas. On one unseasonably warm and sunny day, I saw about 70 people crowding the same stretch of waist-high peaks. 

Lineups are getting more crowded, and that statement seems to apply globally. 

Winter used to be a refuge, a place where we could go to freeze our asses off, surf by ourselves and possibly give Ninja Turtle names to shipwrecks from 1885. It now seems as though a change of season is no longer a sufficient crowd deterrent — another statement that feels globally relevant. Even in the five years I’ve lived in France, I’ve noticed a huge difference. 

Could have something to do with wetsuits getting cheaper and better. Probably has more to do with surfing’s surge in popularity — a consequence of boards getting cheaper and worse, maybe? I don’t know. Is there any way to know? 

I’m not here to lament or complain. If you know the joy of surfing, how could you be upset by the idea of others experiencing it? Instead, I’m here to talk about another way to get more waves. 

Dodge the sun. 

I’ve noticed this for years and it used to baffle me. Wave quality is the most important factor in surfing, right? Wrong, for a lot of people. This isn’t a new phenomenon — obviously the surf would be more crowded when it’s a beautiful, sunny day. Anything outside is busier on days like that. 

However, I think the number of people who surf has gone up while the number of people who surf when the weather is atrocious has remained relatively stable. 

Want proof? Go find some clouds. You might even save money on sunscreen. 

Ellie Jean Coffey in underwear

Winners of 2020

Would you look at that? Last year wasn’t all doom and gloom. Some people made money — and lots of it. This article tells you who they are and how they did it. There are a few surprises here, including Ellie-Jean Coffey, who seems to be the #1 ranked Fantasy Surfer in the world right now.

Here’s Everything We’ve Learned About Hawaii’s Viral Jet Ski Saga

Some people are content to simply watch a Jet Ski launch 50 feet in the air on an XXL day. Others yearn to learn more about the series of events that transpired in order for a Jet Ski to launch 50 feet in the air on an XXL day. We asked some questions — that’s the Premium difference. 

Inside the Roaring 2000s at Quiksilver, Part 2 of 3

Do you remember the surf industry? It was this thing where a whole bunch of people bought t-shirts and oversized boardshorts from brands under the premise that wearing those garments would effectively signal to others that they adhered to an active, adventurous and, at times, extreme lifestyle. It exploded, because why wouldn’t it. 

This is the second piece of a three part series remembering the surf industry.

Influential Hawaiian Icon Ben Aipa Has Passed Away

Damn. Just last week, I wrote about a board that was shaped by Ben’s son Akila, and inspired by Ben’s designs. I would part with any other board in my quiver before I parted with that board. Which goes to show you how someone like Ben’s spirit lives on — through surfboards, through his influence on individuals, through his impact on our culture. Rest in power, as they say.

Stab in The Dark with Taj Burrow, Episode 1 of 4

In the beginning of this video, Taj jokes about being 42, retired, and owning a beer company — saying this will be very relatable. He proceeds to guess none of the boards correctly and, for a moment, you believe that it will in fact be relatable. Then he surfs and you remember that he’s still Taj and that there has been a void in your heart that only Taj’s surfing can fill. This year’s SITD is off to a damn good start.

The Pick Up: Who’s Going To Win The Digital Vans Triple Crown?

Breaking the format to include this. Forty minutes of action, humor and insight all for free. You’d be a fool to miss it. 

One last thing: 

Alternative entrances into a lineup, such as jumping off a rock or paddling out from an abnormal angle, are typically hallmarks of a true local. These practices should be cherished and celebrated — especially when they realistically conserve very little in terms of time and/or energy,


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