My wife Di continues to teach me valuable lessons about surfing in crowds.
Where we live, when the waves are up, the crowds at the points are intense. These days there are even zones where if you do not have a 9 foot log and a beard, you are not allowed to surf. True! Well I exaggerate a little. If you have a moustache then you will also be accepted.
Anyway, it seems these days these guys, along with a band of stand up paddlers, (none of whom seem to have ever traveled to any place where surf etiquette actually might be enforced by violence) seem to have invented their own new code of etiquette. This of course results in them getting more waves for themselves and less for everybody else.
A sign of the times maybe? Perhaps a broader statement on the current selfish state of world affairs? Possibly. Wave hogging seems to be getting worse not better.
Anyway … I don’t know how you go in crowds but I don’t cope so well and can get pretty frustrated. When I see people snaking, dropping in and generally hogging the waves, it really sets me off and ruins my whole vibe. I probably hold some unrealistic, utopian view of how it’s all supposed to work out there. But at times it can feel like everyone is your enemy and the whole scene gets pretty intense. It’s no fun at all.
My wife on the other hand is very happy and vocal. She chats with strangers, hoots people’s rides, calls others into good ones and even tells people to go in if they’re mis-behaving. (Who could argue?)
As a result, almost every session, she makes a new friend. Whereas I feel like I make a new enemy.
So last session I tried her technique with a few lines like ‘that was a good wave’, ‘how does that board go for you’ or the old ‘beautiful day isn’t it?’
I still didn’t catch many waves. But I made new friends and had a whole lot more fun which is what it’s all about after all. I guess these days, my happiness in the surf is no longer determined by how many waves I get. But it’s a lot easier to have fun this way.
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