Are you one?
Yesterday was the first day the doctors said I was allowed back in the water, and I was just chomping at the bit. Sitting on my fat ass for the last month and half was no fun at all, turns out that when you can’t play in the water Kauai doesn’t have a whole lot going on. You can only do so many drugs before it starts feeling repetitive.
I just didn’t have it in me to drive North and deal with 30 foot surf. Not in good enough shape, desperately need a warm-up session or two before venturing into anything substantially bigger than overhead. But the winds were great, so I found a fun little Eastside spot and paddled out.
It was only waist to chest when I hit the water, but it looked fun and I figured the swell wrap would fill in over the course of the next few hours. Which it did. Not terribly consistent, but an awesome little runner would roll in every once in a while, and I had the peak all to myself.
After about an hour I was joined in the lineup by a guy on a mid-sized epoxy Firewire. I don’t like big shortboard-like shapes. All the downsides of a longboard, none of the benefits of a shortboard. Makes the mental kook bell ring, that strange urge to ride a “shortboard” when you don’t actually have the ability.
I caught a fun one and, while paddling back out, watched the guy paddle over to exactly where I’d been sitting, lining up with a telephone pole on shore. Kind of annoying, but no big deal. I just changed course and paddled to the next peak over.
There was a long-ish lull, I caught another wave, and watched him paddle over to where I’d just taken off. So weird, but whatever. I went back to my original spot, caught a wave, and watched him do it again.
We went back and forth for the next hour or so. I’d catch a good one, he’d hurry over to where I’d been sitting, rinse and repeat. It never occurred to him to sit still and wait, so he never caught a wave the entire time, just followed me around the lineup.
People slowly trickled out from the parking lot, it was a very nice day with fun, forgiving waves, until it was, while not truly crowded, crowded enough that everyone just fell into the normal routine of trading off.
On the drive home I got to thinking about all the weird, counterproductive, shit that surfers do in the water.
The Shadow- Like the aforementioned homeboy, the shadow doesn’t understand how to lineup and position himself, and so uses better surfers to dictate where he belongs. Not obnoxious about it, he won’t usually engage in back paddling or hassling, but still manages to be a minor annoyance, like an errant grain of sand during a post session tug.
Mr Herd Mentality- There could a million miles of empty surf, but he’ll seek out the only guy in the lineup and sit shoulder to shoulder. Not really a problem if it’s consistent, trading off waves can occasionally make a good session seem great. You get to laugh and hoot and bond with a stranger over your shared joy. But once there’s two guys going back and forth you can rest assured the next ten people to pull up are going make a beeline straight for you both. Which sucks, sharing can be fun, but waiting your turn is not.
King Delusion- Brand new hiperf board, cunningly placed stickers, total inability to make sections, but loves to sit deep. Started surfing in his early to mid twenties, has enough years under his belt to understand what’s going on, but grossly over-estimates his ability. The type of guy who gets clipped in the head by the lip, claims it, and paddles out to tell you about the barrel he just got. Gets pissy when, after you see him blow the drop for the millionth time, you paddle around him and stop being considerate. He’d surf ten times better if he picked up something fat, flat, and thick, but that’s nowhere near as cool as his China white brand name sled. So he struggles on inappropriate equipment, but swears they’re awesome boards because an online volume calculator told him so.
Fat Guy on a rockered out log- A decent amount of ability, though not as good as he should be, considering how long he’s been surfing. But he let himself get fat, and now feels like a sack of shit whenever he tries to ride the shortboards he bought when he was twenty pounds lighter. Filled with a small amount of self loathing because of his equipment choice, well aware that his turns don’t look nearly as good as they feel. But I’m having fun, and I’ve been hurt really badly the last few years, so I try not to beat myself up too badly over it.