Understanding surfers is not always easy. To non-surfers we speak an unknown language, look strange and make seemingly odd life choices.
To help non-surfers understand and to embrace the oddities of surfing, here are 23 weird things only surfers will understand.
#1 A wetsuit tan
Brown hands, white arms and a tide mark half way up your neck is the unique tan imprinted on most cold water surfers.
You can get a wetsuit tan by simply wearing a full wetsuit in the sun, but I’d advise going in the water to keep cool.
Just to be clear: nobody ever said a wetsuit tan looks good.
#2 Pissing yourself…
…and feeling good while doing it. The very first time peeing into your wetsuit may have felt as awkward as the first meeting with your in-laws.
However, more often than not this turns into a special kind of friendship. Especially while surfing cold waters, you’ll love the warm flush of a fresh wee.
#3 Not going for set waves
Or at least not being able to, because you are still busy with #2.
It can be a very tough decision between paddling and peeing – imagine you’re peeing a considerable amount of yellow water against your stomach while a set wave is approaching.
And you know you won’t finish peeing in time to start paddling for the upcoming wave.
Of course, if it is really a do or die situation and you see that the approaching wave is going to be the wave of your life, the basic need to pee will always come off second best.
#4 Plastic is an anagram of devil
We know it’s wrong. But so is all the disgusting plastic waste floating around the world.
As surfers, we are immersed in our natural environment more than most and establish a true appreciation for it’s beauty and fragility. Plastic is a problem that is not going away anytime soon, unless we #breakfreefromplastic.
#5 Filthy hair
Bad hair, great surfing – 1975 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach
There is nothing better than filthy hair that’s impossible to comb.
But only if it is caused by vast amounts of salt and sand.
And partially by dodging the shampoo on purpose.
No, shampoo does not mean shower gel.
#6 Dirty feet increase cred on the street
You enjoy quite a reputation if your feet are covered by a mysterious, dark cloud of dirt by the end of the day.
If you want to, you can look up the meaning of street cred here.
#7 Pro surfers are our friends
At least in our heads.
We all have an anecdote about when we were outback with Kelly or John John on that surf trip exchanging waves, hoots and high-fives.
To be honest most pro surfers are more likely to smile than be rude when you pretend to be a long lost friend, but ‘be cool’.
#8 Surfing outside the water
“Hold my beer!” he briefly said before he started running on a wall like a nutter.
Surfers can project a wave onto every object around them.
Just like Stefan from the surf blog Travelonboards who found a snow barrel:
#9 Feeling deep respect for random strangers
Have you ever paddled out and saw someone perform a critical turn right in front of your nose?
No more words needed.
Back in the lineup, you and your friends honour such surfers – without them knowing – with terms like sensei, master, or warrioress.
#10 Duck diving can hurt
Not because you’re taking a hit from a big wave (that’s why we duckdive, duh).
But because you practically have to stick your head into a bucket of ice cold water #icecreamheadache.
#11 Duck diving can be fun
If you see a mega set approaching and know you can dodge it. You’re the one furthest out and know if you paddle hard enough you’ll just be able to duckdive the beast before it explodes.
It’s quite a satisfying feeling to turn around and see the entire lineup has been wiped out.
You’ll have the next set to yourself. Epic.
#12 Hating mega sets
Now turn the tables!
You’re the last one paddling out with a mega set approaching. Deep down, you already know you are not going to make it. You’re gonna get it on the head.
Until it finally happens.
And it’s worse than you thought – you’ve been dragged over the falls and sucked down deep. You’ve had the wind knocked out of you, you’re disorientated and your lungs are burning.
Sweet mercy! You gasp frantically as you pierce the surface and then the next set hits.
#13 Fully trained weather experts…
…are less reliable than surfers! Nostradamus has nothing on the average surfer.
Using nothing but a barometer, tidal behaviour, and wind directions the average surfer can accurately forecast when there’ll be a rideable wave. They can also tell you if it’s gonna be sunny or not, but that’s not important.
#14 Magic seaweed
Is nothing you smoke, but rather the oracle of surfers.
I have to correct myself: the frequently hated oracle of surfers.
Sometimes, the oracle will deliberately provide you with false information in order to give you a (surf) life lesson.
#15 Wax addiction
We rub it on our boards, use it as a car air freshner and some even use it as an antiperspirant.
We can’t get enough of the slightly chemical vanilla scent.
Why exactly does wax HAVE to smell SO good?
#16 Absurd conversations in the lineup
Sometimes you have to wait for the next set to show up.
That leaves lots of space and time for you to fabricate the weirdest nonsense.
Or it leaves space and time for you to come up with your very first fantasy bestseller, in which the honorable princess Salia leads her followers into a dirty battle against the Skettiz clan in order to protect the capital city called Metis from the lousy mischief caused by the Skettiz clan. The entire kingdom of Anartak stands behind her, even Portadur (you know, the friendly innkeeper with a dark past)…okay, let’s stop this.
#17 Being interrupted
Well, I wanted to finish telling the story, but there was a nice set of waves I couldn’t miss out on.
Aaaaand there is the next set wave, talk soon.
Where had we got to?
#18 Looking out of the window
Gazing at the world, weather and water have a much higher priority than looking at your phone. Especially in the mornings.
Who knows, maybe Poseidon has sent some waves for me JUST this second.
#19 The beautiful beach
A beautiful beach does not stir my soul unless there are sweet waves caressing the blue salty water beyond the beach.
The “sunbathing“ human beings on the beach distract me even less.
A gnarly reef with gorgeous waves breaking over it – yes please.
#20 Being landlocked sucks
The worst of all diseases amongst surfers.
There is literally nothing worse than being landlocked. I would not wish it on my worst enemy.
#21 Hatred for airlines
It is quite normal and absolutely okay for you to charge a gazilion dollars for the transporting my board bag by air.
It is also alright whenever you give back destroyed surfboards and claim it was not your fault.
You even did this to our dear friend John John, shame on you!
#22 Addicted to surfing
Every true surfer is 100% addicted to surfing. There are scientifically proven reasons for this.
It is the most beautiful form of addiction, isn’t it? *crowd applause in the background expresses approval*
#23 Hooked FOREVER
Surfers understand the term forever. I will let grandmaster Kelly do the talking:
“For a surfer, it’s never-ending. There’s always some wave you want to surf.“
“Surfing is my religion, if I have one.“
“It’s like the mafia. Once you’re in – you’re in. There’s no getting out.“