Here’s How To Decipher Your Friend’s Perplexing Surf Report
“‘There were good ones, but I just couldn’t find my rhythm’ = I am going through a terrible divorce.”
Ed note: the following is the 634th installment of our new weekly email chain called the Stab Fwd. If you’re into it, subscribe here.
I saw a friend in the water just before.
After a summer of mostly small but fun (but small) waves, Sunday could be good here in France. You might imagine an empty overhead wave breaking twenty or so feet from the beach, offering the potential to get barreled in either direction, depending on which side of the peak you find yourself on. [Note: Be behind it, please.]
You might not imagine driving around, checking one spot, seeing it’s too high, going to another, seeing it’s already too low, missing a call from your friend, calling your friend back, no answer, checking another spot because of that one text in the group, seeing it’s too crowded, another, too walled, giving up, packing a few closeouts, voila.
In the water, my friend and I laughed about how the first few swells of a new season are confusing here. The winter will go weeks without producing waves below head high, but there’s something about getting barreled in boardshorts that leaves everyone frantically trying to find the golden sandbar.
It made me think about word of mouth surf reports. Because, as we all know, they are so much more than words. Being able to get a realistic picture of the surf conditions from a brief conversation is one of the true arts of surf forecasting, so I decided to put together a guide. If I missed anything, and I’m sure I did, email me and I’ll include it in the next Fwd.
It was surfable = You can stand up on a wave but that does not mean you will experience any joy whatsoever.
It was fun = It was pretty bad.
It was pretty bad = It was fun.
It was firing = It better have been fucking firing.
There were a couple = 1 out of every 50 waves was makeable.
It wasn’t as good as I thought = I rely on colors/star ratings in my surf forecasts.
It was kind of walled = Do not plan on exiting a barrel ever.
I found a few corners = My heart races at the thought of taking off under the lip.
There were good ones, but I just couldn’t find my rhythm = I am going through a terrible divorce.
I woke up early and checked the cams = I never even planned on setting an alarm.
A pixelated photo of a decent-looking wave = The waves were not good and I am lying to you to make myself feel superior.
The surf industry is funny. “Marketability” — is that a real word? Shit, Google says it is. Apparently it’s the ability of a commodity to be sold or marketed. On that note, everybody on the Stab staff selected a few commodities that the surf industry (mostly) deemed impossible to sell or market. Click in and make sure you don’t buy anything.
Damn. I feel for everybody in Australia’s new shark hot spot — especially the family and friends of Nick Slater, who died in an attack at the Superbank earlier this week. It’s deeply unsettling to know that someone lost their life like that at the world’s most crowded wave. These photos are bizarre.
Speaking of bizarre photos, want to see a guy in a haz-mat suit rolling up to one of the most crowded beaches in Spain the Basque Country to detain a woman? What an image. I wish Steve Sherman was there to take a moody black and white photo of it. We’d be obliged to do another print edition of Stab just to put it on the cover. Peak 2020.
No. The answer is no. Our intern decided to explore the old “The best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun” cliche. He posits that there is no correlation between enjoyment and success. And why should you take his word for it? I don’t know, maybe because he got kicked off Instagram for creating a pizza-themed Florence Marina X account.
Do you remember the Rumble At The Ranch? I don’t. However, this weekend the WSL will host its first-ever post-pandemic surf event actually held in the ocean! Yes, yes, it’s big news out of Cabarita. For real, it should be a fun watch. Hit the link above for everything you need to know.
Gotta be honest. I planned to feature Filipe Toledo’s new edit, so I wrote a few words about it. I scrapped that and wrote something else when Mason Ho dropped this. And then, out of nowhere, my current favorite surfer decided to recreate my all-time favorite surf section. Italo Ferriera’s version of Andy Irons’ Campaign part fills my heart with joy. Brb going surfing.
One last thing:
Every time I clean my wax off a board, I picture Occy hovering over me in a springsuit, shaking his head in disgust and saying, “One board, one wax job.” I feel genuinely ashamed and I would likely benefit from consulting a mental health professional.
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