I SURF BECAUSE…

Parallels with one of my favorite surfers.

Now I am aware the title is rather cheesy, but let me explain. I surf quite a bit. Almost every day if I am lucky. And if you follow me on Instagram, you watch me surf quite a bit via the Surfline cams (sorry). But it’s not easy. Well, sometimes it’s easy. When the waves are pumping, I am sold on the idea the night before. Sometimes even days before. I check Surfline so much that I am always tapped in to what the next couple days will bring. If it really looks good, I go to bed excited. When I was younger, I often had trouble going to sleep in anticipation of swell (a feeling pretty similar to christmas, as waves on the east coast are far less abundant than that of the west coast). When the forecast looks good, it’s not hard to go surfing.

But back to when it is hard to get in the water. When the waves are small. When it’s windy outside. When your boards are dinged. When the waters cold. When the air is cold. Blah blah blah. There are so many more reasons as to why I shouldn’t surf than why I should. But for me, I never had a problem overlooking all of these negative factors. I just loved to surf. Day in and day out. I think it stems back to being wave starved on the east coast. But even when I am home, I am chomping at the bit to get wet. It’s just ingrained in my brain at this point. Surfing = fun. Who doesn’t want to have fun?

But, contrary to popular belief, surfing is far from fun sometimes. Bad waves, eggy crowds, or just not surfing up to your usual standard can bog down any session. Sure, all it takes is one wave to turn that frown upside down, but I’ve had sessions where even an immaculately surfed wave couldn’t make me forget the 30 waves I surfed horribly. 

I am sure people from the outside looking in wonder why I (and everyone else who surfs before their work, surfs instead of other obligations, or just is surf obsessed) surf so much. Especially those who hear me say “yeah the waves were shit” upon exiting the water or getting home. There’s just much more to it than the actual act of surfing. Let’s let one of my (late) favorite surfers explain:

I never knew AI and I would have so much in common. First off, we’ve both lost to girls in a surf contest. While he has a little bit more pride in his stride considering he is a 3x world champ, it’s a commonality nonetheless. Speaking of girls, we hear Andy mention one of the reasons he started surfing was that it would get him chicks. Take it from me, it doesn’t. I mean, maybe the odd few, but no one cares if you surf. It’s sometime seen as cool, but who care? I too had all these illustrious ideas in my head of what surfing would get me. Girls, social status, “being cool”. But the thing surfing gives me is something that isn’t really tangible. And is by far the most important thing I get out of hopping in the water.

The 3 minute piece ends with “I surf because I am always a better person when I come in.” Let me preface this real quick: this is not how it used to be or how it always was for me. If you knew me in my younger years and even on a (now extremely) rare occasion at the age of 25, if I had a bad surf you can tell. Before I went away for college, I really would act like a girl. After I landed at school in California, I knew I had to grow up. These temper tantrums would look foolish. But it still was really easy to tell how pissed off I was after a shit surf. A bad surf put me in a terrible mood twice as potent than when a good surf put me in a happy mood. But as I grew older, I soon realized how to just kick this embarrassing habit and enjoy surfing for what it is.

Long story short (kudos to you if you’ve made it this far) surfing makes me a better person. I don’t particularly know how or why, and I feel like many others would agree with this strange phenomenon. I mean hell, even Andy felt the same way. I just look back to times where surfing wasn’t as prevalent in my life or I couldn’t get a session as easily and correlate it to that being the source of my problems (or the reason my problems felt little relief). Sure, my demons aren’t anywhere near the magnitude of the late Andy Irons or others in this world, but everyone has their own problems and down days. It’s not always sunny. But for me, the ocean is the only way to rinse them off and part the clouds. And I am fortunate to now live in a wave rich environment where it isn’t that hard to get wet. Having a good session at this point is just the icing on the cake.

HAVING A FAVORITE SURFER

Having a favorite surfer (or athlete, in any sport) is something really cool. It’s someone to root for during contest time, study their movements, and try to figure out as much as you can about that one person. If you could do what they do even with an ounce of similarity, you’d be able to sleep great that night. While you obviously could work on layup packages similar to your favorite point guard or practice dribbling like your idol, I feel like surfing is one of the sports where you can really try to follow in the footsteps of your idols. There are enough factors to get you closer and closer to your dream. Sure, you can wear the same kicks as your favorite all star, but it won’t dramatically affect the way you play. Jump on a surfboard similar to your idols and you will be forced to draw lines that are dictated by the piece of foam. Then, you need to watch all your favorite surfers movements in hopes of imitation. If you look up to the same surfers as me, it is pretty obvious we will never replicate their form, as they are of the highest caliber of surfing. But we can try! Here are 4 guys I’d love to surf like (and sometimes try my best to do it): 

ETHAN EWING: HOW TO SURF

In 2020, Ethan Ewing is the surfer I would most want to imitate. With immaculate railwork, massive spray, and a relaxed style reminiscent of the surfer below, he embodies what my surfing goals that will never be. I’ve backed EE for some time now, and he is finally getting the recognition he deserves. (Mick ain’t too bad to watch either). 

ANDY: THE ONE

Andy was one of the only surfers that could consistently give Kelly Slater a run for his money during his heyday. Never backing down from a section and charging massive waves Andy had no fear. Next time I shy away from a section I’ll think how Andy will surf it and go full commitment on the next. 

BOBBY: BACKHAND ATTACK

One of the best backhands surfing has ever seen and one of the standout surfers from a wave that shaped my surfing (Rincon), Bobby Martinez surfs so tack sharp and is loyal to the rail. Jamming in 2-3 turns where most could fit one, Bobby surfs incredibly light, powerfully. 

MEDINA: THE FLY BOY

While Ethan is my surfing goals, it sure would be cool to be able to surf like Medina. One of the best tube riders in the sport, highest flyers, and has a razor sharp forehand and backhand. While people hate Medina for his out of the water antics and competition tactics, denying his ability would be pretty kooky. 

QUICK CLIPS: Five <5 Minute Surf Clips to Froth Over (Throwbacks)

Sometimes the waves look terrible. But sometimes you also could just be itching so hard to surf, you just need that little extra nudge to get out there and tackle the high tide or wind chop. There are a couple surefire ways to speed up the process. One of the easiest? Slam a cup of coffee and get your froth on. Sometimes you might have already had a cup or two and don’t want to push it. Sometimes all it takes is the buddy system. Phoning a friend and hoping they can also look past the meager conditions or less than favorable factors. Once there is someone with you, they can either bath in the misery of bad surf with you or share in the score. Because you need someone else to back you up that the session was fun when the cams are blue.

If you are out of joe and all your friends are occupied or MIA, then there is only one last hope to get your energy levels up and take a dip. This is the surf clip. A surefire way to get you off your ass and in boardies or a wetty. Sometimes, it is matching a clip to the waves you are going to surf. Others, it is seeing your favorite surfer blitz waves to a classic tune. The frothiest of them all however is the vintage clips you grew up on. Seeing the nostalgia and also ripping from the past makes itch to surf to make the inner kid in you happy. While it is easy to get sucked into a time warp of vintage sessions, I like to keep it quick and get out of there after 1 or 2 clips. Here are 5 vintage videos to get the gears in motion. I will describe why I like them in a single sentence.

Taj Burrow in Stranger than Fiction = Future forward style over a song from Metric in pristine pumping surf, opening with a crazy alley oop lien grab.
Bobby Martinez in Mixtape = A fellow goofy foot blitzing sections and blasting airs to hip-hop.
Andy Irons in Campaign 2 = Charging backhand turns as hard as your backhand tubes, to a song everyone knows was in your section.
Dane Reynolds in Stranger Than Fiction = Absolutely ripping in mostly beach break conditions, making it relatable and not relatable at the same time.
Parko from Free as a Dog = Scoring offshore tubes with just your mates to a song you might have been dancing to at the local watering hole the night before the score.
 Bonus: Andy Irons in Campaign = Because every Andy video section is gold.