Motivation for a more radical yet stable existence!
If there is one thing that unites us on BeachGrit — from conservative to liberal, young to old, man, woman, etc. — it is the love, the undying passion of riding waves.
Am I wrong? Are we only here to prod and harass one another? Maybe yes, but I also think you could do that on Reddit or Pornhub if so desired. There are plenty of platforms for meaningful-leaning-deranged interactions with anonymous voices, but at the core of BeachGrit’s community are seeds of surf. It’s important to all of us.
And many of you, dear readers, are not young. I don’t have any statistics to lean on, but based off the content in the comments section, it’s clear that a majority of our regular visitors are adults — proper adults. Not twenty-something burnouts with jobs at the local surf shop.
Maybe that was life ten years ago, but now it’s all about babies, spouses, twelve-hour office stints and as a result, very little free time. You surf a couple times a week, but rarely during peak conditions. As the train of life trudges along, you are the willing but not-so-ecstatic passenger.
This is why it’s imperative, and I mean absolutely vital, to submit yourself to perfect waves at least once per annum.
That could mean skipping work or a familial obligation on a firing day at your local, or jumping on a plane to somewhere warm and uninhabited. The only requirements are: 1. you know it will happen sometime in the next 365 days, and 2. either the when or where is undisclosed.
Let me explain the second part.
For most working/family-oriented souls, it’s damn hard to drop everything and go. As a result, “vacations” are often scheduled months, if not an entire year in advance.
“We go to Cancun every January,” is a totally fine thing to say if your ideal reprieve is simultaneously contracting sun and alcohol poisoning in front of pasty Midwesterners. For a true surfer, though, and especially for a surfer stuck in the 24/7/365 cog of families and jobs and everything else that falls under the term real world, this sort of excursion only deepens the madness.
All year long we watch videos and scroll past photos of perfect waves breaking all around the world. Is it so much to ask that we get to indulge, if only once?
So here’s what you do: If you have job/family flexibility, pick a place in the world that you’ve been dying to surf all your life, watch the charts like a crackhead watches… anything, and pull the trigger when the right swell appears. Not only will this ensure a score, but the excitement that comes from checking the forecast every evening is incredible. Spontaneity breeds hope breeds positivity!
If you don’t have that kind of flexibility, take a week off from work a few months in advance and wait. Do not, I repeat do NOT fall into the trap of pre-booking a location that could be very good but could also be completely flat when your week of freedom finally rolls around. You have one chance at this, and to put that much faith in Huey would be foolish.
So you wait. Two weeks out, you begin perusing the long range forecast. Ten days, you start to build some confidence in storm systems around the world. One week, you focus your assault — pick two regions that look promising and start making phone calls. Find out how much it will cost to buy airfare, lodging, rentals, etc. See if surf camps have any openings. Three days out, pull the trigger. Forecasting is so good nowadays, you’re almost guaranteed to score at this point.
Now, there’s just one variable that I’ve neglected — money.
For many of you, the idea of a last-second surf trip seems impossible from a financial standpoint. Maybe your job doesn’t pay very much, or maybe you’ve got medical expenses or student loans hanging over your head. Either way, I have a solution.
First of all, start saving $100-150 per month. Pass up on the bars, the movies, whatever, just live humbly and make it happen. $1,200-1,800 is enough money to strike most places in the world, and with a tangible goal in mind, you’re more likely to make smart financial decisions.
Next is transpo. Airfare is what it is, so unless you have one of those buddy passes, you’re gonna pay to get where you’re going. That said, some research Re: bag fees is always key.
Where you can really save cash, though, is on the ground. And all it takes is a couple friends.
This can work two ways: either you travel with a few people and thoroughly cut the costs of transport and accommodation, or, if traveling alone, you find a way in with the locals. The second option takes some cojones, but it’s often the most resourceful and enlightening way to travel. Here’s how it works:
When flying solo, you’re perceived as 1. a motivated, self-sufficient, generally cool person and 2. non-threatening. This perception, when combined with a warm demeanor and maybe a few beers for the local boys, will almost always be met with hospitality. Maybe even an invitation to hang with them for the remainder of your trip.
My advice is to fly in without any long-term accommodation plans. Find a shitty motel the first night, and go surf the next morning. Approach the lineup with a smile and nod, be extra gracious when it comes to wave selection, and strike up conversation with the locals. Ask them about their country and home, where to surf, eat, sleep, and find a way to slip in your current situation. Traveling alone, nowhere to stay, looking to score. They’ll jump at the chance to help you out, and you’ll gain priceless local knowledge and save money in the process.
Traveling with friends may be the best thing in the world, but traveling alone will teach you about life, foreign cultures, but mostly about yourself.
For those of you wondering, I’ve taken this concept to the extreme by committing this year to travel the world. Considering my age, job flexibility, and not-yet-procreating status, I feel there’ son better time to explore the best waves on the planet.
It took a lifetime of saving, of passing on the movies, the bars, whatever, but the freedom and excitement that comes from chasing swells across the globe is genuinely priceless.
I’ll be broke soon enough, but for now I’m gonna ride this tube train into the sunset. I hope this manifesto motivates you to do the same. To treat yo’self to a life of exceptional surf.
Because otherwise, what are we even doing?