Chances are good that you are either one of these people, know of these people, or have been one of these people.
1. The Loud Guy
It’s scientific surf fact that volume in the water is inversely proportional to surfing ability. The best surfers are silent killers, picking off wave after wave while barely looking at you and never saying a word. They paddle out alone, they surf alone, they have breakfast after alone, they work from home… alone. They even go out at night alone (before going home with the hottest chick at the bar who they’ve said nothing to). Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the spectrum is The Loud Guy. He paddles out with his buddies hooting and hollering and within minutes the lineup has gone from a quiet group meditation in nature to a complete donkey show. Every time he actually goes for a wave he sinks the nose and wipes out only to paddle back out and loudly recount the ride with a nonsensical mixture of words that always includes “epic,” “sick,” “rip” and “shred.” He’s got eleven boards in his quiver, the most expensive new wetsuit and utter lack of surfing ability. He’s got ten years worth of SURFER Magazines stacked under his coffee table and refreshes his browser at work every three minutes in hopes of a new John John web edit. But when all is said and done, he’s an even bigger kook than the guy on the Costco foamie because he’s spent his entire life trying to seem like he’s good at something rather than actually becoming good at something.
2. The Elder Statesman
The dad of the grom mentioned below is the Elder Statesmen. Every break has one, and the one in your lineup looks just like the one at mine. Salt and pepper hair, goatee, 10-foot single fin with no leash and a look on his face that says “I hate everyone surfing here right now except for me and my buddy (who looks just like me) that I paddled out with.” They take way more than their fair share of waves, but are somehow still miserable. They mumble angrily under their breath at anyone who paddles near them, and God forbid you actually paddle for the same wave as them. Get ready to hear a long speech that starts with them telling you exactly how long they’ve been surfing there. I get it dude, you moved to Malibu in the late ‘60s. So did every other acid-dropping hippie turned Republican i-banker who saw Endless Summer.
3. Groms on Longboards
Normally I love groms. They’re too young to be grumpy, they usually sit on the inside catching the shore break, and they rip. However, that all goes out the window on the one day a month they decided to ditch their shortboard and paddle outside on Dad’s log. Nothing is more depressing than trying to paddle battle with a kid 20-years younger than you that’s hopped up on a breakfast of Maple Brown Sugar Pop Tarts and Monster Energy drinks. These kids have a daily arm workout that includes six hours of Call of Duty and four masturbation sessions. Don’t challenge them for waves unless you are prepared to catch ZERO.
4. The Hood/Booties/Gloves-Even-Though-It’s-Warm Guy
Body temperature deregulation is a sign of severe mental illness. I’m not kidding. Google it. Think about the homeless guy wearing a parka on a hot day. He does that because he has serious mental issues and registers temperature different than a “normal” person. So next time you paddle out, at all costs be sure to avoid the guy wearing a hood in the summer or the guy in SoCal with gloves on. You don’t want to drop in on a guy that has to medicate heavily just to make the voices stop.
5. People Wearing Hats (or Sunglasses)
Every break has “accessory guy.” Maybe he’s the cool hipster dude who wears a trucker hat from his favorite surf shop/shoe store/kombucha café, or the nerdy older dude who rocks the bucket hat with chinstrap and sunglasses, but one thing is for sure: he’s not about to lose his favorite piece of haberdashery to the ocean on your account. The choice between running you over or bailing and potentially being separated from his chapeau is not much of a choice for him at all.
There are two kinds of stand up paddlers: those who don’t know what they are doing and those who do (even worse). Someone new to SUPing is even more dangerous than a bad surfer because they’re wielding bigger, heavier boards, plus a paddle with which to injure you. It’s only a matter of time before he or she gets caught on the inside and then it’s barney yard sale time. Sure, a paddle to the face is bad, but what’s worse is catching no waves at all. If you’re sharing a wave with an advanced stand up, that’s exactly what you’re going to get. Maybe it’s something about literally spending all of their time looking down on the lineup, but for some reason, the best paddlers aren’t much for sharing.