Dear Locals, Let's Keep Surfing Fun. Sincerely, A Local
Today’s version of surfing in some places is VERY different than yesterday's. I laugh when I think of Duke Kahanamoku’s reaction if he were to be cruising along on his longboard and then see a surfer doin’ an air reverse or a 540 on a shortboard. (PS- Duke’s the dude on the back of your necklace!) The pressure is ON with innovated boards and maneuvers! Especially in beach towns where locals reign- it’s tough for the average joe to keep blissfully average joe-ing, local or not. It can seem like the expectation in certain areas is that if you're not able to surf during hurricane swell, while doing crazy turns on a shortboard- you shouldn't paddle out. I'm here to say that that’s so. not. true. Surfing is supposed to be FUN. That’s how it started, at least! So let's talk about why there’s nothing wrong with vibing small or medium sized waves on your favorite fun board and relaxing.
It’s hard to define what a “good” surfer is…not only because everyone is different as a person, but also because there are so many different boards and breaks out there. A part the radness of surfing is being open to anything and down for whatever! Who says you have to surf at a high-profile spot where everyone goes? Maybe the small break just north of it is what fits your vibe. In old school surf culture, surfing was a way to connect with other people out there who shared a common passion for the ocean and lived their lives doin’ their own thing. Keep that mindset whenever you want to go surf and it'll help you paddle out for the right reasons- beaming with positivity. Other people will feel it and give it right back!
Me, taking my own advice and heavily cheesin' 😁
Nowadays, surfing has become so competitive at certain breaks that there's some serious pressure in the water. The friendliness and smiles that you see in surf films aren’t always the case for localized beach communities that hold lots of competitions, unfortunately! Sometimes when I’m out at a high profile spot on a good day just wanting to do my thang, groups of “good” surfers will paddle for the best waves and I’ll back out to let them get the wave because it’s intimidating. If you just read that and remembered a time that happened to you, I’m here to tell you you’re not alone!!! No one should feel like they "aren't good enough" just because they aren’t sponsored, don’t ride a shortboard, and can’t do airs. Competitive surfing has become more mainstream these days, and it has drawn a very real line between paddling out for performance and paddling out purely for enjoyment. But both types of surfers are out there!! Believe me. There are a lot of us who believe it’s about being one with nature and the waves and the other people in the lineup.
And if competing is something you wanna do eventually- cool! What ever happened to entering a local competition for fun? They should be fun… right? Rally up some friends to enter it with you, and grab some food after (tacos, please!) Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with airs (they’re pretty sick) but so is doing your own thing. There’s a COMMUNITY in the water- and communities are nurturing environments- so don’t let anyone else’s energy deter you and instead find the people who are going to encourage you- we’re out there! If the pressure is on in your surfing life, try these things next time you’re in the water:
- Pretend like it’s only you and your friends out there- no one else!
- Don’t give up a wave just because you feel like someone else is better.
- Ride your favorite board. Don't feel pressured to use a certain one.
Chances are, the other surfers out there aren’t thinking about your skill level…it just feels that way. So go out there, have fun, and oh...I forgot to write #4: Always bring your St Christopher with you for good vibes and safe travels :)
Written by Adria Noelle.