How to Surf a New Spot Without Looking like a Kook

dont-be-a-kook-featuredSurf­ing and trav­el go togeth­er like surf­ing and…localism. It’s true, we surfers have cre­at­ed quite a lit­tle conun­drum for our­selves. We all want to trav­el, but we don’t want any­one to trav­el to our spots. We want to have our break and eat it too. And, for every wave that you’ve been dying to surf, you can all but guar­an­tee there is a local there who does­n’t want you to surf it. Can’t we all just get along? No, we can’t, but if you fol­low the advice below you can avoid look­ing like a kook and might not get your butt kicked. 

Be Respect­ful
This is imper­a­tive. Fol­low basic surf eti­quette. Don’t be obnox­ious. Be friend­ly and cour­te­ous. Don’t lit­ter. Don’t draw atten­tion to your­self in the park­ing lot. Basi­cal­ly act the way you would want peo­ple to act if they were surf­ing in your backyard.

Trav­el in Small Groups
Solo is ide­al, but unless you’re an MMA fight­er, it’s prob­a­bly best to have a like-mind­ed friend to have your back. 

Be Incon­spic­u­ous
This doesn’t always mean all-black wet­suit with an all white board. It means try to look like you belong there. If you’re at a semi-secret spot up north, by all means stick to the all-black nin­ja look. If you’re in New­port or VA beach, wear some neon and rock the stick­ers (it helps if you actu­al­ly rip).

Watch the Locals
Noth­ing screams kook like get­ting washed over the reef. Watch the locals to fig­ure out where to exit and enter the water. When it comes to nav­i­gat­ing reef, research is always bet­ter than learn­ing through experience.

Pho­to Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/321684028/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Let your Surf­ing do the Talk­ing
If you surf well, you will get waves. Excep­tions apply at elite waves, but as a rule, if you are respect­ful, take off deep and exe­cute a mean turn, you won’t have any trouble. 

Don’t Blow up the Spot
If you’re on your cell phone blab­bing about how it’s fir­ing, you prob­a­bly won’t make many friends. Unless you’re in cer­tain places in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, in which case you might just blend in. 

Know Your Lim­its
If you can bare­ly per­form a bot­tom turn you should nev­er pad­dle out at Tres­tles. If every­one in the water is a sig­nif­i­cant­ly bet­ter surfer than you, you’re prob­a­bly in the way. It’s always good to push your­self, but make sure you’ve mas­tered the basics at a begin­ner break before you step out of the baby pool.

Don’t be a Total Kook
The leash goes on the back foot. The wax goes on the top of the board– nose to tail, rail to rail for a long­board, trac­tion pad to chest-area for a short board. Don’t wear gog­gles unless absolute­ly med­ical­ly nec­es­sary.  Booties with a spring­suit is a fash­ion deci­sion that must not be tak­en light­ly. Fins must face a cer­tain way. If you’re clue­less, ask your local surf shop. All of these things should go with­out say­ing, but let’s face it, they need to be said.