Wednesday, October 6, 2010

#22 Uncrowded Surf

For the modern day surfer, scoring good waves all to oneself or in a small group isn’t as easy as it used to be (in case you haven’t noticed!).  With the advent of the internet and its slew of wave cams and forecasts, today’s surfer is forever hard pressed to get the goods all to themselves.  Try as they may, other surfers just keep popping out of the woodwork at every turn.  It’s all a bit disconcerting, yes, but a humbling reminder that the surfing population will only continue to grow while surf spots and waves remain fixed, finite resources.  With the floating zoo sideshow in full effect at many of our favorite surf breaks, surfers are left to their own devices and methodologies to score waves and maintain sanity in the ever challenging, competitive conditions (See Localism).  If only there were more waves to go around, less surfers shoulder hopping, or dare we even say less surfers!?  While we won’t hold our breath on that last one happening anytime soon, surfers who bide their time can take solace in those rare moments when the circus leaves town, the kids go back to school, and the summer rental tourists pack it in for the season (see "The End of Tourist Season").  Note – (That last sick cutback sequence you just did followed by 3 to the beach was not ignored. It was most assuredly observed & critiqued by every frothing surfer in the parking lot and wave cam jockey from here to the valley.  Rest assured they’re packing their boards and on their way to join you in the lineup asap!!)

Scoring uncrowded surf near any major population center in this day and age is an illusive and trying endeavor to say the least.  Short of paddling out down the beach to subpar waves or taking a far flung and oft times expensive surf trip, surfing locally and dealing with the crowds is the only option we have.  Lo and behold, after enduring so many crowded sessions complete with paddle battles, back paddling, and copious amounts of stink-eye, eventually a day dawns where by cosmic forces of chance the local lineups thin out and uncrowded surf conditions reign.  It is rare occasions like these that are cause for unadulterated celebration for the ever diligent surfer.  As if in some alternative universe straight out of the Twilight Zone, the surfer may initially enter into a mild state of shock at their newfound good luck.  They can’t help but second guess their enviable position.  While they gorge themselves on the set waves of their choice, the surfer will mutter to themselves or a bro within earshot, “where is everybody?” knowing full well that they don’t want to know the answer or risk jinxing their amazingly uncrowded surf session.  Periodically the surfer will frenetically scan the beach half expecting a mutant army of surf starved surfers to appear any minute around the bend like a zombie scene straight out of the movie “Night of the Living Dead”.  If it’s really firing the surfers’ mind might start to play tricks on them such as, “was there a shark attack here?”; “am I asleep and only dreaming this?”; or “wow, I guess all that sewage runoff from the recent rain we just had really could be cause for contracting Hepatitis, super!”  At the end of the day, the surfer will revel in their good fortune of getting it good without the hassles of a crowded lineup.  This will of course be brought to every other surfer’s attention that wasn’t there in the form of more shameless bragging about scoring epic surf.  This in turn will let the cat out of the bag on the uncrowded surf sitch and the next day will find 50+ eager surfers circumventing the lineup on a rumor that it was firing yesterday with nobody out.  “Hmmmmm…..Might want to get it while the getting is good!! Crowds suck bro!!”


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