Inconveniences that only surfers will understand

Us surfers are a slightly different type of human being. Anyone who has converted can attest to this. Surfing really does drastically affect your priorities and goals. It shapes the way you think about life as a whole.

Surfing is great, but it also can make your life a little more complicated at times if there is a good swell running. If you are a surfer, then I think the following ‘inconveniences’ will resonate with you:

1. Making plans

For surfers, all plans are made with the swell forecast in mind. The thought process goes something like this: Next dentist appointment? Well, let me check what the waves are doing this week first. You want to get breakfast on Saturday morning? Nah let’s push that back to a lunch so I can get in a surf before the wind picks up. You are going out on Saturday night? That’s a no go because I am dawn patrolling* on Sunday morning.

There is nothing worse than missing good waves by your own choice. The anxiety can eat you alive. You gotta work your schedule around the waves, tide, and wind.

*For you non surfers, this is a surf session at dawn.

2. Working full time

While surfers may boast that our sport is free, those boards and wetsuits don’t buy themselves, not to mention the gas spent running around checking all of the waves. As a result, we are forced to join the rest of the world in the full time workforce to pay for our lifestyle, which does not exactly promote our desire to surf when the conditions are good.

I have learned to adapt to the full time work life (which is now much easier after buying a car), by squeezing in the before work and/or after work sessions. In the dead of winter when the sun is up at 7 and sets at 5, there’s not really any getting around it. You’re screwed.

3. Surf Trips

We surfers are some of the most traveled people around, hopping continents in search of waves. However, traveling with a surfboard is not only a pain in the ass, but expensive as well. Sometimes I envy the traveler who can set off with just a backpack, oblivious to perfect surfing conditions, and be perfectly happy. I, like most surfers, cannot go on a trip without a surfboard and helplessly watch perfect right handers peel down a point. It’s torture. So we dish out the extra money to bring the board on the plane, only to find that Mr. Bag Handler did not treat the board with the same love and care that you treat it with. Don’t forget to bring ding repair.

Two surfers walk down a dirt road in Uruguay with a stray dog.
Lugging boards around on trains, taxis and buses from Buenos Aires to Uruguay.

4. Wax and Sand

Wax and sand are the byproducts of surfing. They find their way into everything. Most of us know what it feels like to sleep with a little bit of it in our beds and can produce a mound of it by turning our backpacks upside down. As far as wax, it feels great on your feet when you are leaning hard into a bottom turn, but it does not feel great when you leave your surfboard in your car on a hot day and are trying to scrape it out of our car’s interior for weeks on end. Most recently, wax has found it way onto my sleeping bag of all things, which makes for some interesting camping.

So if surfing is such a pain, why do we do it?

Well, this is a simple question for anyone who surfs. The physical and mental connection with the ocean is one that will change you forever. I am not going to go into the details. Maybe another time. Just see for yourself.

Unlike those who say, “Don’t try Surfing, there are already too many of us,” I say exactly the opposite. Do try Surfing. If everyone was affected by Surfing the way that I was, well I am inclined to say the world might be a better, more radical place (like the surfing type of radical).

Surfing has created a web of friendships around the world for me, all which were forged by the common love for a sport. After all is said and done, I’d say the benefits of surfing are worth putting up with these minor ‘inconveniences’.

4 thoughts on “Inconveniences that only surfers will understand

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