Clever matrix determines your ability level!
Surfing has an odd way of cutting into your bones and menacing your well-being. One day you’re king of the hill, debonair as anything on each wave and close to complete mastery; the next your legs refuse to unfold upon lift-off and your feet feel as if they belong to a different man.
From plans of surfing until your death-bed to dismal thoughts of giving the game away. Surfing I love but you’re bringing me down and so on.
So if we all perform at dramatically different levels from one surf to the next, how can we definitely say we’re a kook or, say, a competent amateur?
I remember once, years ago, having played a sweet hot jazz on a few waves in a row, believing that the learning days were over. That I’d secured my rung as a gifted surfer.
The next day, of course, I surfed abominably. And the next etc.
Am I a kook or a competent amateur? Depends on who you ask.
While scrolling through the Wikipedia entry on Surfing today I came across a helpful matrix that identifies “Surfer Skill Level” as applied to “Wave Type.”
It makes a fascinating study.
For instance, a competent surfer rides waves with a “peel angle” of forty to fifty degrees, with heights of up to three metres and “section speeds” of twenty clicks. The waves I should enjoy, if I am indeed a competent amateur, would be Kirra and Burleigh Heads.
The “Top Amateur”, with his ability to ride a thirty-degree wave, can apply for sets at Bingin and Padang in Bali.
The beginner? He, and she, necessarily, must never venture beyond waves with an aspect of seventy degrees. He (she etc) should live in Atlantic Beach, Florida.
Where do you squeeze in? Top Amateur? Top World Surfer?
Or are you one of those Intermediates who surfs Bells Beach or New Zealand?