Surfing sucks. Don’t try it.
It’s the tag line of a good friend, Jaime, that got me thinking. He came up with it as a response to the zeitgeist phenomena that riding waves has become, and he’s got a point.
It does suck – it blows, big time
As anyone who has spent any length of time attempting to surf will know, finding the right spot, on the right day, at the right moment and not having to share this nirvana with a multitude of other hopeful searchers requires a level of commitment, knowledge, luck and zen that pushes any non-surfing onlooker into headspins of laughter, wonder and confusion.
All the planning, information gathering, driving and looking for what precisely? Expectation – hope of that perfect session – is always high, based exclusively on repeating the best session ever which is etched in memory in out-of-focus grainy black and white. More often than not, arrival at the “chosen spot” or “last/only hope” is greeted with a smug, just out of the water neoprene blimp waxing lyrical: “Oh it was great, you should have been here an hour ago / this morning / yesterday” or some other time equally past.
Or else there are fifty people in the water.
Or else there are nine in, at least half of which are pumped up locals and the take-off zone is the size of a gnat’s arse.
Or else the wind just went onshore.
Or else the tide’s too high / too low / too mid.
Or else the swell’s dropped.
Or else there’s a competition on.
Or else there’s ban due to a shark / tsunami / pollution.
Or else you get an ear infection.
And so on, and on.
In fact, the total number of external pervading factors that must coincide for a good session are astounding and should really make surfing extinct. What are the chances?
And for what? This is the part where I say how catching a wave makes up for it all, recompenses the effort and stress it causes. Maybe. But just maybe surfing causes an irrevocable shift in priorities in a person’s life – to do it at all, it must. Where you holiday, where you live, what job, what car, who you talk to and end up being friends with after passing fruitless hours waiting and staring at the ocean. It’s not just a shift but an alteration, and the quest for “that great session” is the junkie’s next fix.
For what? Surfing sucks – don’t try it.