The best surfer is not the one having the most fun, it's the one surfing the best…
I’ve been surfing half my life. I started off on shortboards, but after an epic trip the Nicaragua a few years back I don’t even want to look at a board below nine feet. Our gutless waves here make for ugly speed pumps and flailing arms. I catch so many more waves than I otherwise would, the rides are longer, and I go out on the smallest ripple with my tanks. While I love loggin’, I fear the learning curve for my next trip with real waves will get pretty steep. Should I dust off the fish and grovelers and force myself to work with what we’ve got, or continue on with the log?
Self Loathing Log Lover
Dear Rory says: I adore longboards in barreling surf. Get in early, set a line from behind the section, jam that trailing arm in to pump the brakes and use the extra volume to float over turbulence. Easy as pie.
But expensive as hell. Pulling in on a big board is a costly habit. Fuckers snap like twigs, every blown section the recipe for a split down the middle. Flapping sheets of fiberglass, an expensive repair bill (I both hate, and absolutely suck at, doing my own repairs).
I struggle with my love of logs. Left long flat spell shores far behind nearly a decade ago, never really need one. Usually a short drive to quality surf when you live on an island in the middle of the Pacific. Actually look forward to those sheet glass doldrums days. Makes for great visibility, an easy swim, fish on the spear for din-din.
Little tangent here, gotta point out how weird it is that most surfers spend their lives floating around the lineup without thinking about what’s going on beneath the surface. Heck of a lot of cool shit going on down there.
Longboards are fun because they’re easy. Especially if you’re oafish enough (as I am) to duckdive the damn things. Really takes away the challenge factor. Fly out through the lineup, push under an oncoming, use that foam to rocket your way to the surface. Sit deep, outside, take your pick of sets. Remember to take a break once in a while. We’ve all be on the receiving end of a rapacious dick using extra planing surface to cheat his way into every wave. Super frustrating, totally rude.
I’ve been surfing my entire life. As long as I can remember. And I’m a pretty good surfer. Should be, after roughly three decades of trying hard. But, as I get older, I realize I really should be better. I can ride a hi-perf sled well enough, if I’m on. Slightly hungover? Rhythm a bit off? Then it’s hell. Flail and struggle. Mistime turns, bog rails, generally fucking suck.
There’s no point in making things more difficult. The waves allow what they allow, you surf how you want to surf. You could go shorter, ride a little mini Simmons or retro twinny. But I wonder if there’s really a difference, between them and a log. No matter how you slice it, it’s just about making things easier. And regardless of your cheater varietal, you’re always gonna feel like you’re surfing better than you actually are.
Which isn’t any fun at all. The best surfer is not the one having the most fun, it’s the one surfing the best. But I’m beginning to wonder if I really care whether I’m the best surfer anymore.
It’s hard to separate fact from delusion, especially if you spend as much time as I do inside your own head. I’m huge these days. Cultivated mass all the way up to 260, harvested my way down to a current 230. Which is fucking monstrous.
At 6’2″ I carry it decently enough, and I’ve converted a large amount of that blubber to muscle. But if I’m being totally honest with myself I know I could easily ditch another 20 pounds by eating healthier and doing some, ugh, cardio. And if I kicked my ass into tip-top shape I could probably hop back on my low volume rides and start blasting fins out again.
Am I gonna? I don’t know. It doesn’t sound very fun.
Recent visitors were on some crazy health kick. No sugar, no carbs. They look great, but their diet looks like hell. Constantly eating, always hungry. Don’t know if there’s a middle ground, but if there is I’d sure love some directions to it.
Anyway… I guess I’m starting to believe that there’s no honor in making things difficult. If you’re not looking to do airs, or win contests, riding an unforgiving board in lackluster conditions is dumb. Sure, when some guy who’s a foot shorter and a hundred pounds lighter than me surfs circles through the lineup on a small day I feel like a total kook. But it’s all give and take. Yeah, he can blow up a waist-high section, but I can reach shit on the top shelf.
There’s no point in making things more difficult. The waves allow what they allow, you surf how you want to surf. You could go shorter, ride a little mini Simmons or retro twinny. But I wonder if there’s really a difference, between them and a log.
No matter how you slice it, it’s just about making things easier. And regardless of your cheater varietal, you’re always gonna feel like you’re surfing better than you actually are.
Maybe that’s the secret? Just embracing the lies we tell ourselves?
Ride what you want at home, change equipment as conditions dictate. And when you find yourself with butterflies in the belly on your way into a offshore, top to bottom, foreign barrel, do what I do. Heave yourself over the ledge a few times, use the beatings to chase away the nerves.