In Defense Of The Barrel Dodger
There are seedier vermin among our ranks.
Let us admit that barrel dodging, while embarrassing, does take a certain level of chutzpah.
You were there. You paddled out. You dropped in. That you failed to enter the tube is unfortunate, but 3 out of 4 steps is still 75%, which is technically a passing grade. Swell dodging, on the other hand, is an utter failure and the ultimate form of pussery.
A swell dodger purposefully avoids entire days, trips, or regions that could potentially provide a tube. He will “drink too much” the night before waves and “forget to set his alarm.” He’ll “run out of funds” for a trip, despite the fact he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah the week prior. He’ll tell you that “Reunion Island has too many sharks”. We all know this is bullshit, yet, in most cases, these excuses are met with empathy and the swell dodger’s cowardice is swept under the rug.
Because there is no Instagram page to shame those who sit idly and twiddle their thumbs. The only person the swell dodger has to face is himself, and despite the quiver of hand-mirrors in his arsenal, somehow he’s convinced himself that wave modesty is, in fact, the best policy. He has justified his own pusillanimity.
Some famous swell dodging examples include: Filipe Toledo, when an ankle injury allowed him to stomp high-impact airs en route to a US Open victory, but didn’t allow him to go straight at macking Teahupoo in 2014 (for a point of comparison, see: Kelly’s broken-hoofed victory in 2003). Then there’s my anonymous friend*, who failed to surf Baja Norte’s swell of the decade because he “had work” and “was afraid to call in sick”. And lastly, I would consider anyone who’s surfed the wave-sheltered bay of Sandspit to fall into this category. So yes, you can be a barrel hound and a swell dodger in one fell surf.
But swell dodging isn’t always on purpose. Sometimes you pray for waves, like genuinely plead with Poseidon, Huey, or whichever deity you attribute to maritime wind generation, and nothing will come your way. The entire month of September, I was forced to watch the east coast, my home coast, peaking like gun sales after a mass slaughter. On multiple occasions I pitched ideas to the boss-man but, despite being sympathetic to my cause (Ashton too hails from the east), he didn’t see it as a viable option. The company was in the middle of an acquisition and Stab in the Dark was set to launch, so the timing just didn’t work.
But let’s talk about timing for a minute. Let’s talk about the fact that I left California yesterday, for the east coast, for a long-planned family wedding, and how completely fucked that is. Because as I bid the Pacific adieu from 3,000 feet, I saw something I hadn’t seen in months. Maybe years.
They were lines — long, strong lines. The likes of which produce waves, the likes of which I’d like to ride. As I chase east, California is getting its best south swell of the season. Maybe be the century.
But the east coast has been harvesting tropical fruits for a month straight… surely there’d remain a few sips of nectar for Poor Old Me.
Wrong-O. Zilch. Nada. It’s flatter than Kansas and more crumbly than a Nature Valley bar. And so here I sit, laptop engulfed by my quickly chubbing tummy, what’s left of my muscles cramping from saline deficiency (Most of my sodium intake comes from small sips of ocean water, just like Rasta.), my mind quickly but surely turning to mush.
Morgan was right — surfing is necessary. I am a sad little man without it.
I’ll return to California on Monday, at which point the swell will have shriveled and warped into a Lilliputian form of its same lineage. From Jaime to Tyrion Lannister.
Never have I wanted to be a barrel dodger so badly. But today, I am swell dodger. Hear me weep.
Globe Pulls Out Of The Apparel Game
…and, Taj Burrow and Dion Agius are now looking for new main sponsors.
Owen Wright Announces Retirement From Competitive And Heavy-Water Surfing
But will surf final CT event at Bells.
Fancy An Ale, Some Good Music, And A Bunch Of Tubes?
Ballet's minimalist full-length will satiate your needs.
Take Stab’s 2023 Audience Survey, Win A 3-Board Quiver
Stab towels and Premium subscriptions also up or grabs.
Jessi Miley Dyer On The New Challenger Series Schedule And More
Did you know that you could miss the mid-year cut and still theoretically win the…
Don’t Miss The Last Wave Of The First 2023 SEOTY Entry
Jacob Willcox's ‘Into Dust’ just set the bar.
Warren Smith on New Welcome Rivers Range and Buying Jaguars on Facebook Marketplace
Now available in the Antipodes...
Wavegarden Spills How The Sausage Is Made
BTS of their global air wave rollout ft. Yago Dora, Dion Agius, Reef Heazlewood and…
Minds, Machines, And The Magic Of Hands
How modern shapers split their time between designing files and hand-finishing boards.
Are Hectic Lefts The Final Finless Frontier?
William Aliotti is on the right-foot-forward fringes.
Watch: Luke + Eddie
A mostly unknown, on-duty lifeguard won the most prestigious big-wave event in history. How Luke…
A Pipe Master, Ryan Burch, And Some Pickle Forks On The Eastern Seaboard
This one ticks a lot of boxes
Brazil Has A Talent Problem
And three other things we learned from the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
Mick Fanning On A Unicorn, Bags Of Dicks, And A Shocking Script Read By Surfing’s Biggest Stars
Vaughan Blakey and Nick Pollet on their outrageous film, 'The Greatest Surf Movie In The…
Italo Ferreira Caught 63 Waves In An Hour
And other stats from our Stab in the Dark production.
Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.
Already a member? Sign In
Want to join? Sign Up