Why Do You Surf? - Stab Mag

Why Do You Surf?

Don’t overthink it…

style // Dec 14, 2020
Words by Brendan Buckley
Reading Time: 4 minutes

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 don’t put much thought into the big-picture reason why I surf. 

Too messy, too easy to sell yourself on a post-rationalized idea.

It would be convenient to say something along the lines of it being an outlet for expression. The reality is closer to the simple fact that my dad did it, or the fact that, when the vanity of puberty kicked in, I began to believe it would make me appear special in the eyes of other people. 


It’s more fun to consider all the small-picture reasons—all the things that get you in the water on any given day. For example, when I think about the past week… 

Exercise. Even shit waves are still better than going to the gym. 

A reset. Dunno how this works, but after a long day, it clears the mind like nothing else. 

Warm food. I find it tastes better when you earn it. 

Cold beer. Ditto. 

Time killer. Can’t think of anything else to do on a stormy winter Sunday in the Basque Country. 

Pleasure. Figured I should put this somewhere. 

Creativity. I’m going to elaborate on this one. 

When I have a creative task, I don’t like to think about it in front of a computer. A lot of times, I like to keep it in my mind and go for a surf. I think I end up with better ideas that way. Maybe I trained this into my mental software. Maybe I just tell myself that it works so I can surf more. I don’t care. If it ain’t broken… 

(The intro to the Fwd you’ll receive two weeks from today was written in my head in the water yesterday.) 

There are a million more reasons why you should surf. Find them, use them, and sometimes surf just for surfing’s sake. 

Subscribe here to the FWD.

Leo Tames The Mongrel, Slater Rides A Twinny, And The Women Are Going To Pipe(?)

It’s been a crazy week in professional surfing. Shark attacks, COVID, a best-of-three showdown that felt something like surfing’s version of Talladega Nights. If you haven’t been following, this article will get you up to speed. 

Tyler Wright’s Title Pursuit Is Equal Parts Socially Conscious And Sociopathic

As Steph Gilmore puts it, “She’s surfing for something bigger than herself, which is pretty scary.” Don’t be surprised if Tyler Wright’s story is the biggest thing in surfing this year, the thing that makes people outside our world pay attention. 

Thank You Andy: The New Trilogy

Oh, yes. An edit of Seth Moniz, Griffin Colapinto and Ethan Ewing riding Andy Irons’ surfboards? Thank you, Thank You Andy. Bigger boards have a way of slowing surfing down. It’s fun to experience, and it makes for good watching when more foam finds its way under such talented hooves.

May I interest you in some libel? 

Big Dick Power Surfer came out of retirement and appears to be in form. Many reliable sources are saying that his 6’4” has been looking magic and that he will be an unstoppable force on the QS this year. View his brain in this article if you’d like.

Do you want to watch some small wave air reverses? 

I kid. That would feel blasphemous during the Pipe Masters window. Instead, here’s Jerome Forrest — an everyman who surfs better than just about every other man. This is a sick edit. With people being largely incapable of travel due to COVID this year, can we take a moment and realize that nobody did it better than the denizens of WA? 

Kael Walsh, Jay Davies, Jacob Wilcox, now this. If you ain’t looking at tickets into Perth whenever travel opens back up, you may be doing something wrong.

Want to kiss the reef? 

Last week, I asked you to share stories about getting throttled. I enjoyed all of the responses — but I enjoyed this one from Thom the most. Surfing always involves a bit of guesswork. If you’re getting it right every time, you’re not pushing it hard enough. This photo is beautiful. To me, it is a portrait of pure optimism in 2020. We should all get throttled more.

Could you buy me a beer? 

This is a story about Wasted Talent, a France-based magazine, store, cafe and now clothing label. The founder, who we interviewed in this piece, is my neighbor. I’m putting this here because whenever bars open back up, I think I can use it as leverage to make him buy me a beer (earned via surfing). Oh, and because they’re a small brand making good stuff.  

One last thing: 

Where I grew up, there’s a lot of current when it’s on. I think this instilled in me a borderline subconscious urge to try to counteract any movement of water. Even if I plan on doing a drift, even if a drift is necessary, I can’t help but fight it. 

Some of you, I’m sure, suffer from a similar condition. 


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