Should You Sacrifice Wave Quality to Avoid Crowds? - Stab Mag

Should You Sacrifice Wave Quality to Avoid Crowds?

An existential treatise in this week’s Stab Fwd.

Words by Brendan Buckley

Surfers are selfish, narcissistic, terrible people, etc. And we hate each other. 

A handful of things are often supplied as evidence to support this line of thinking — localism, fights, the hyper-competitive nature of certain lineups — but I’ve always had a hard time buying into it. Dickheads are the exception, not the rule, and they exist in every culture.

For each fight in the water, twenty good things happen towards the other end of the spectrum.  

I think about Selema’s speech last year, about the paddle out. I think about all the GoFundMes that went and got funded. I think about the countless bonds struck up in the water. I think about how some of those bonds have led to lifelong friendships, about how most of them have merely led to more enjoyable sessions. 

People have invented many ways to group otherwise random assortments of individuals, and I’d go so far as to say that surfers, as a whole, could be described as kinder than most. 

Having said that, I hate crowds with a passion. 

Always have, always will. I will sacrifice wave quality for wave quantity — unless the stakes are particularly high. As a rule in life, you should never surf somewhere average if you know you could be getting barreled somewhere else nearby. 

It’s easy to get pissed off in a crowd. I think we’ve all done that. In a crowded lineup today (tubes), I started to — then I thought about how weird that is. Under slightly different circumstances, I might make friends with some of these strangers. And the fact that there are more strangers to potentially make friends with erases that? 

And, yes, I understand that we’re competing for a limited resource. But I also understand that said resource is a spurt of energy we’re pursuing recreationally. Nobody is starving here. 

A hatred of crowds is not and does not have to be a hatred of surfers. Thinking about that put me in a better frame of mind today. 

And a better frame of mind always nets you more waves. 

Jimmicane: The Most Impressive Surfing I’ve Seen

Jimmy killed double grabs, understands the WSL much better than the WSL understands the WSL, works hard, wins soft top competitions, responds to texts beginning at approximately 5:30 AM and has the body build of a souped-up Honda Civic — strong and reliable without going over the top. His mind is one that surfing is fortunate to have. Enjoy it along with his photographs. 

The Surfboard Resale Market Is Booming

There’s nothing like a new surfboard, or even a new old surfboard. I have written previously about my incessant desire to buy second or third or fifth hand boards. Here’s an article that digs deeper into an interesting trend in the surfboard industry. 

Dane Reynolds Calls These ‘Shit Waves’, But Eithan Osborne Doesn’t Care

When I was 13, I remember being frustrated by the lack of bad wave surfing in DVDs. It was hard to watch clips from Indo then go surf 2-foot windy shit bowls. I would often resort to a few waves from the Euro section in Montaj to get me through. This gets it, though. Here’s to more shit waves in 2021.

Episode 4 of Stab In The Dark with Taj Burrow

Speaking of Taj, let’s watch him choose the 2021 Stab In The Dark winning board. I spoke with Stab’s founder, Sam McIntosh, earlier this week and he described this as one of his favorite things Stab has produced. That says a lot. I’m not gonna spoil anything, but it lives up to the hype.

How Eric Geiselman Saved A Famous Stand-Up Comic From Drowning

A clip from this interview got over 1200 comments on our Instagram earlier this week. I’m going to once again choose not to spoil anything. But, know that this piece is free, 17 minutes long and an easy listen. Chuckles or your money back. 

One last thing: 

I recently got a new board and, due to a shared hint of yellow, it would appear as though I have intentionally color-coordinated the tail pad, leash string and fins. What the fuck kind of psyschopoth would do that? Serial killer shit right there. Looking at it makes me feel terribly uncomfortable.


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