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Posts Tagged ‘Guru’

Surfers Waving

It has come to my attention that with the increasing numbers of beginner surfers who have recently graduated to the intermediate level, many have learned how to stand up and ride waves, but the majority have missed out on the unwritten laws of the hard core surfing devote.  There was time years ago back when I learned how to surf when these laws were bestowed upon ever novice surfer early on by “law of the club and the fang”.   What this means is that when a beginner, usually under the age of 15 (adult learners just did not happen back then) caused an infraction of one of said laws he/she was ridiculed, kicked out of the water, beaten, thrown in a garbage can, dunked in the water or subject to numerous other forms of punishment.

Only after being punished was one informed about the rule he had broken.  This was the way of things since surfing had come to the modern world.  In earlier days surfing was a bit more rough then it is now.  The boards were not as beginner friendly.  Wetsuit technology was primitive at best, as was surf forecasting.  Do you believe there was a time when we did not have the internet, cell phones or web cams?!!!?  If a surfer wanted to know how the surf was he had to actually get in his car and check it himself. (to my female surfers I am not being sexist, I am just using the figurative he for this narrative.  I actually have no problem with the sex of another surfer, or what they ride for that matter as long as they follow the rules and are respectful) Before the internet the only surf forecasting was the weather channel and NOAA radio alerts.  From these two entities one would have to make his own inferences on what the waves might be like.

Things have changed.  Now if you disciplined another surfer in the above manner for getting out of line you could be thrown in prison.  I believe I penned it before that we are now in the Era of Kook running things as oppose to the elite.  There are more of them and they spend more money.  Lets face it kooks hold down decent jobs and surf when they have time.  Us hardcore guys surf all the time, have no money and can barely hold down a job unless we found one that easily catered to our addiction.  What I would like to do here on SurfingRuinedMyLife.net is every so often pick one or two of these unwritten rules of surfing and explain it so that maybe just one novice or graduate may get a glimpse into why many of us guru’s always seem so salty these days.

The Rule of Two

My car only has two seats in it when I go surfing, Mine and one for a passenger.  The back seat is always down and is for storing my boards.  Most days it only has one seat for me.  For myself usually I am surfing well known, heavily surfed lineups that are already pretty busy by the time I get there.  At these locales I like to go alone.  I am not worried about the buddy system because there will be plenty of buddies to share with at the break.  Just come surf Rincon on a Saturday when its decent to understand what I mean.

You know when you are in a public space and on the wall there is a sign that says “Maximum Occupancy” and then there is a certain number.  Those signs are put up to inform users that if that number is exceeded it can be really dangerous.  At surf spots there are no such signs.  Contrary to popular belief these spots have a maximum occupancy, which is defined by the number of people that can logically catch and ride waves for the conditions and size of the break.  For example a wave like Rincon is a very large point break with anywhere from three to twelve distinct take off zones and many other minor ones on any given swell.   If its eight foot with six to eight waves in a set every fifteen minutes with smaller ones in between the spot could easily hold 150 surfers safely.

If it is only six foot on a dropping swell with only one or two waves in a set and those sets are 20-30 minutes apart 150 guys is going to be a shit fight out there.  Lets take a spot like Hammonds, its a reef break with a small take off zone.  Even at its most consistent it can only comfortably handle around thirty guys.  When one checks a spot besides just considering the surf one must also consider the crowd.  I always ask myself when checking a spot “is there room for me”.  The best way of answering this question is to see how many waves have went unridden in the interim you are watching it.  I know if I see one wave go by that no one is on then there is room for me.  On the other hand if I see six guys fighting for every wave coming in then I know I should go someplace else.

If I had brought a friend with me, then I would need to see two waves go unridden.  If I brought three friends then three waves and so on and so forth.  For this reason I usually go surf alone.  Not everyone is a social recluse thus I will allow bringing a buddy along.  When I do roll with more then one other person I try and go to spots that I know are going to be less crowded.  Never bring a crew to a some what secret spot, or localized spot.  By yourself you may be able to sneak in and get some fun waves.  With a crew its not going to happen.

I can always tell the days Rincon is going to be too crowded when all I see are SUV’s and Vans in the parking lot each one chuck full of eager surfers.   If I see the majority is cars then I know its mostly ones and twos getting out there.  I am an advocate for car pooling as much as the next guy, but if we all took our own cars down to surf then the lot would always be full thus deterring other surfers purely cause there is no place to park.  Next time you decide to go for a surf and have an itch to call all your buddies and load up your Nissan Pathfinder, maybe think again and just call your one bud who owns a Honda Civic and roll with him.

Tune in Next Time for Lesson two: Surfing and Cell Phones

Surfers watching sunset

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