When it comes to selecting the perfect day to ditch, all a surfer need do is take a crash course on the “5 W’s” from 4th Grade English class – (the Who, What, When, Where and Whys). A tactfully planned and executed ditch day can mean the difference between you and your bros getting shacked silly all day versus bobbing like a buoy in the shallow end of the oceanic baby pool. An integral part of any surfers’ preconceived plan must factor in crowds, tides, wind, swell angle, and a myriad of other variables synoptic to a surfers’ local break. After all, there’s nothing worse than scheming for days on end about possible excuses to tell your boss only to get skunked come ditch day.
Surfers nowadays, for better or worse, are pretty dialed in when it comes to predicting swell events. Aided by the internet’s wide array of surf reports and forecasts, it doesn’t take the sharpest tool in the tool shed to score pumping surf. Over-hyped swells pitched by the various surf report media outlets can clog a line-up quicker than you can say, “Surf trip, please!” All bets are off for a ditch day solo session if a surfer happens to reside in a metropolitan area with 5 universities and an overabundance of trustafarians making the rounds. Plan accordingly!
A typical day of ditching work for waves consists of rising at the butt arse crack of dawn for the dawn patrol sesh. Sleeping in is not part of the ditch day regimen and should only be reserved for weekends when waiting out the swarms of ‘weekend warrior’ surfers or the early morning high tide is the preferred option. For the majority of 9-5 working surfers a well executed “I’m sick” call between the hours of 8:00 to 8:30 in the morning to the company receptionist or voicemail should do the trick. Feigning illness or dishing out some other believable excuse is a crucial step in promoting a successful ditch day experience. After the minor inconvenience of side stepping work is out of the way, surfers are free to revel in several more hours of surfing bliss followed by a bountiful breakfast burrito and a refreshing machaca beverage at their favorite taco shop. Follow this up with several more hours of noodle armed surfing and a couple of beers with the bros at sunset and you’d think you were on vacation, if only for a day.
Some may claim that ditching work for waves is reckless and irresponsible. After all, until the recent explosion of surfing’s popularity, surfers were often pegged as counterculture slackers and deadbeats by the rest of the homogenized, non-surfing world. But what these naysayers fail to recognize are the highly therapeutic, soul nourishing doses of sanity that surfing provides to so many of us. A couple power gouges, a few cutties, and maybe even an in n’ out barrel section if you’re lucky and the world just seems right again. As the 1980’s Billabong tagline so aptly put it, “Only a surfer knows the feeling”! Next time a solid swell pulses its way onto your ubiquitous surf radar, do yourself a favor – be a surfer, paddle out, get some!