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Beach Grit

Quiz: Would you ever give up surfing?

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

What would it take?

Three days ago, I asked the horrifying question, Will You Be An Intermediate Surfer Forever? Being…okay… at something you love more than anything is a barren and mediocre terrain, a bleak horizon to ponder.

And yet we persist with surfing despite never getting better until we hit oldish age and start going backwards.

But what happens when you think, fuck this, and you quit surfing?

Throughout my life I’ve marvelled at people, some who’d once been very good surfers, giving up surfing in entirety.

Boards gone. Beach vacations swapped for examinations of the cultural history of eastern European cities; weekends spent decamped at cafes and art galleries, or parked in front of the television “binge watching” docu-soaps. Hair yellow to brown. Body type triangle to pear.

Have you ever thought about quitting?

I thought about it once when I persisted with a surfboard shaper, who despite universally adoring press, delivered custom surfboard after custom surfboard that made me turn pale every time I went surfing. Oh they were treacherous! I didn’t just want to quit surfing, I wanted to quit life.

I didn’t, of course. I’m happy enough as is, a naive optimist.

But those who do drop the microphone, so to speak?

Do you think it’s a sudden event: a bad surf, a bad heat?

Or is it the aggregation of a thousand things: the bile of an argument, a surfboard that refuses to work, a wide stance that won’t narrow, a long spell of uninspiring waves, a surf trip that goes to the dogs, a wife or husband that stares daggers when you go for a surf and leave ‘em with the screeching kid?

And what would it take for you to give the game away, for good?