"The surf is for everyone" lie and other grievous felonies…
As a rule, I’m anti-death penalty. The thought of being framed and then convicted of a crime in a country where capital punishment is doled out blithely, Bali, Singapore, America*, gives me occasional night terrors, as it has since I was a child.
How would I face death? With a brave face and a clever one-liner? Panic and buckled legs?
Crimes in the surf are a different kettle of fish, as they used to say, and it’s important, especially with the rise of “WSL ” and “VAL”, to remind surfers, experienced and new, of what constitutes a capital offence.
Following is a list of surfing’s gravest crimes. Please help fill gaps.
- The surf is for everyone argument: Just as a skate park revolves around a hierarchy of best first, worst, last, and where the child scooter rider languishes at a perpetual end of line, so does the surf. To operate this argument in the complaint of a drop-in by better surfer is among the most heinous of man’s crimes. You can imagine Jeffrey Epstein, may he rest in perpetual madness and torture, a follower of this line of thinking.
- Slick extortionists who paddle out, sit next to you and assume priority: You know ’em, but only in the context of the beach. A smiling face paddles out, sits on your inside, strikes up a conversation, then spins for the first set, yelling.
- Paddling for the shoulder on a set: One man’s wave ruined, the other avoids a duckdive.
- Refusal to split a peak: Two surfers in position for an A-frame. Instead of a civilised sharing of the spoils, one decides to backdoor the peak.
- Pulling back on a set you’ve warned anyone else from touching: From a yell to reverse-arm paddle.
- Presuming local status at remote, and foreign, reef: American ex-pats in Tahiti, Australians in the Mentawais, Brazilians in Bali.
- IG-ing a once-secret wave and then weeping at its reveal.
- Surfboard thrown away, in panic at spectre of set, in crowded lineup.
- The presumption of priority because of longboard, SUP.
- Refusal to attach leash to longboard for aesthetic reasons.
(*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story described North America as a “country”. Matt Warshaw has pointed out to me via email that North America is the continent and America or United States is the country. This error has now been corrected.)