"Surfing only has its 'heroin cool' factor if you keep pushing yourself. Otherwise it’s as domesticated as the gym."
To all the sad sacks of BeachGrit: if you’re saying surfing isn’t core anymore, that’s ‘cause you’re not core anymore.
Surf scribe JP Currie wrote a piece of “quit lit” a few years ago that annoyed me so much I remember it three years later.
After abandoning his family to go surfing for the weekend, he got skunked, concluding that it would have been more fun to get pissed with his mates.
Some of my favourite lines included: “Better to burn all weekend like a flare than fizzle like a damp sparkler in a crumbling, onshore rivermouth” and “Not worth putting on the sodding wetsuit.”
Plus: “Can’t remember any turns. Whole weekend gone.”
That’s got to hurt.
But, here’s the thing, JP: surf trips aren’t about doing turns. They’re about getting pissed with your mates.
Here’s some friendly advice from an Australian with no experience of Scottish winters, living inland or maintaining surf buds into middle age: find someone who is even more stoked on surfing than you are to trip with (and go surf some slabs, before you’re too old to try).
Before you call me out for being a hypocrite, I also struggle with shit weather. And I can take your story of having to go to bed in your van at seven (“Nowt else to do this far from home, at this time of year” – my god the bitterness) and trump it.
Over Easter, I had to go to bed in my tent at 5:30pm because of a storm (there was nothing else to do but sit in the car or watch my awning get railed by the wind). Although I will admit, I got fun waves the next morning.
Yes, this whole piece is a low-key brag that for once I got some waves
What I’m trying to say is you need to get good waves.
I also struggle with motivation as my best mate has stopped caring about surfing. But I’ve kept the stoke by surfing with different people (found one dude with a mad Jetski/Toyota Camry set up) and by doing more solo road trips.
I’m still a giant kook, but it’s way more fun, and the people are way friendlier because the element of danger (and wildlife) means there’s a sense that you’re all in it together.
Back to you: there are heaps of slabs in Scotland and, unless I am very much mistaken, when Mason Ho was there surfing them you made some feeble excuse about being in a “COVID afflicted pedagogy” (whatever that means) as to why you weren’t getting amongst it.
I’m not sure sure what “pedagogy” means, but for now I’ll take it as: “I am scared of waves over three feet.”
If Torren Martyn can do it on a mid-length, surely you can do it on a step up?
Or if big waves aren’t your dram, that right hander Mason Ho surfed. I’ve seen steeper takeoffs at Malibu.
You could literally surf this on a foamie.
Oh and: pics or it didn’t happen.
PS: If your rebuttal has anything to do with the risks of violent personal injury, I refuse to accept it. I’ve surfed heaps of slabs (admittedly always on small days) and never got hurt. Nearly broke my neck though surfing my local beachie as I aggressively claimed a low-tide closeout from a friendly backpacker and caught my outside rail.
PPS: From the Longtom Trainspotting Department (choose Surfing, not Life!), surfing only has its “heroin cool” factor if you keep pushing yourself. Otherwise it’s just as domesticated as the gym.
If you keep surfing the same beachbreak with the same fuckwits and the same board (and I admit I am coming at this from a very Sydney perspective; your local might not even be a beach), you’re bound to be tempted to give up surfing.
For me it’s those rare adrenalin sessions that make me remember why I surf. And the good thing about surfing is, if you don’t die doing it, it won’t kill you! It might even make you live longer (albeit deaf and with pterygiums). And unless you’re surfing Jaws, or you’re old and have a heart attack or something, that’s pretty unlikely, I think?
Anyway, I’m sure you don’t care what I think, but thought I’d lay you the challenge, as seeing footage of you going over the falls on some kind of Scottish Scalpel would give me an entertaining five seconds on my next lunchbreak phone scroll.