Surfing ain’t about rules … it’s a counter-culture after all. That’s all well and good but even counter-cultures need sage advice.
1. Always have two blocks of wax in your car. One freshy for your stick and one sandy, hairy, possibly dog-chewed, fragment for lending to the inevitable wax taxer in the car park. It’s a win-win.
2. If you’re getting a lift with a mate for a wave make sure you pack a bin bag for your post-surf, piss-ridden, damp suit. The driver doesn’t want the acrid taint of your pish haunting their car once you’ve gone.
3. Never claim the surf by text message to your mates until it’s too late. When it’s near dusk and any chance of getting in has evaporated then by all means drop the ‘OMG it was off its fricking chops today! Where were you? LOL!’ to rub it right in.
4. Never ever use ‘LOL’ or ‘OMG’ in a text message or online unless you are a teenage girl; or pretending to be a teenage girl.
5. We don’t need to tell you this but just to be sure: DO NOT ever wear board shorts outside of your wetsuit. Unless you want every single right-minded person in the universe to think you are a tool of the highest order; and yes it is okay to point and laugh if you see someone doing it.
6. Ultra hairiness is not cool. Chicks do not dig it. Invest in some clippers. Keep it at ’number two’ max. You’ll be surprised at the benefits. One being not peeling your suit off and it appearing that its been borrowed by a mountain gorilla. The other being, err, some things look larger. That said a Connery style chest wig is acceptable as long as it ain’t too much of a thatch.
7. Always be as careful as a brain surgeon if you are bringing razor sharp mechanised clipper blades of doom anywhere near your downstairs. Trust us it smarts when it goes wrong and it’s a tricky area to apply a plaster.
8. You can never have too many of the following: fin keys, leash strings, leashes, fins. Keep spares squirrelled in your car, garage and friends’ houses.
9. If you are too deep for the wave of the day go anyway to give the crowd a show. Everyone loves a good swan dive or karate kick into the flats and someone in the right spot can still enjoy the ride.
10. By all means hack down a tree and shape yourself an alaia board if you feel the need to be a hipster. Just don’t expect a spot in the line-up rotation. They don’t paddle, can’t turn and if you really want to be doing stand up 360s you can borrow a bodyboard.
11. No matter how many fin keys you own, the length of time it takes to find one is in direct proportion to the quality of the waves. Where’s yours right now?
12. See. Told you. Get one on your key-ring.
13. Ladies, barbecues are a man thing. They may never cook normally (and sadly spaghetti bolognese ain’t cooking … that’s warming) but when it comes to fire-based, outdoor cooking the inner caveman takes over. No questions.
14. There’s no such thing as a veggie BBQ. Would you really want your Quorn burger burnt on the same grill as the hydraulically reclaimed meat and abattoir floor sweepings that pass for burgers? You may not win any friends with salad, but you will miss out on the E-coli food poisoning.
15. Never hang a wetsuit out to dry near a BBQ, unless you get off on the smell of burnt rubber and/or greasy meat debris on your precious.
16. Boffins have calculated it takes exactly four and a half minutes from when you buy a new board until you ding it on the nearest solid object with a sharp edge. It’s science.
17. Riding a longboard is actually only legal from July 30 to August 30. The police told us so.
18. Cruising on a swell board is okay any time of year as they are super fun and are amazing for doing big floaters on, knee friendly and ding proof too, also you can run over tourists who will let you off thinking you’re an inexperienced tourist too.
19. Surfing leashless maybe a freeing experience and great for your fitness but it’s lethal in busy waves. If you’re doing the 4:30 a.m. dawn run then knock yourself out; anyone else in the line-up and you’ll be knocking someone else out.
20. Coffee maybe the poor man’s cocaine, but stained teeth and bad breath are preferable (and 10x cheaper) than paranoia, impotence and a heart attack in your thirties.
21. The first rule of Surf Club is: you don’t talk about Surf Club.
22. The second rule of Surf Club: no smoking.
23. The third rule: no sandy feet, we’ve just had the carpet valeted.
24. You don’t need to get every biggest and best set wave of the day. Sharing is caring and sometimes the smaller ones run better. Just ask Slater.
25. If you see some litter on the beach pick it up. Might not be yours but it’ll do wonders for your karma.
26. Recycling doesn’t only apply to newspapers and bottles.
27. Give broken boards away to people less fortunate than yourself. Especially when in the Third World.
28. When you say, ‘This is my last wave!’ mean it, even if it’s a smoking deep keg. If you paddle back out for just one more you can guarantee you will either a) paddle around in a mirror calm ocean for half an hour and have to paddle in looking like an idiot or b) snap your pelvis off on the next one.
29. Never drive away from good surf.
30. You will regret it, cos you can guarantee that by the time you get back from searching up and down the coast the tide will have changed and the bank will have turned to mush.
31. Never pee in your wetsuit in the car park.
32. And really, never pee in your suit in the car park then kick drips at your friends from the ankles. That’s just gross.
33. It goes without saying that dumping in your wetsuit is a no-no.
34. Unless you have dysentery. Or if the surf is the best it’s ever been and ever will be, although this is a movable goalpost. It has been known in Ireland on epic tow days.
35. Cheap is not an option. Your wetty is not a style statement. It is a technical item. Buy the best one you can. Warmth and flexibility are worth paying for. A ‘twenty quid from the garage’ job is not a good suit.
36. Chafing is an unavoidable hazard. No matter how good the suit if you surf a lot you will get neck rubs. Which look like obscene love bites. Doesn’t matter, let the rest of the world think you’re still having frenetic teenage style sex.
37. Never love bite a wetsuit rub, it’s sticky.
38. Surfing is done on the water not on the Interweb.
39. Learn how to forecast waves the old school way using pressure maps alone.
40. Living somewhere for a year does not make you a local.
41. Living somewhere for five years still does not make you local … it makes you a regular.
42. Being a true local is not a license to act like an idiot.