To Be Cool Or Practical

The world belongs to Sally Fitzgibbons’ helmet and we’re all just paying rent. Photo: TarasPractical! Sally Fitzgibbons. Photo: Taras

Colored wax. Webbed gloves. Nose-mounted GoPros in waist-high dribblers. Certain surfing faux pas are widely accepted indicators of kookdom. This is good because it helps us identify those we can snake, call names, and give wedgies out in the lineup.

Yet, if we are being honest, there are several condemned surfing practices that could easily improve our lives, if only we weren’t so egotistical. Regardless of how kooky they may be, certain methods are inherently practical. In this spirit, I present you with seven ways to obliterate your street cred but maximize surf efficiency!

Rashguards
In tropical locales, especially when surfing over sand, there is nothing better. Surfing in a wetsuit top is great when there’s a stiff breeze above or an angry reef below, but they are often too warm and tend to obstruct paddling. Surfing in t-shirts is the worst, period. Meanwhile, rashguards have a list of perks that include paddle efficiency, not overheating, sun protection (generally SPF 50+) and, like its name suggests, rash protection (which can make or break any surf trip). Just do us one favor — always go black and long sleeve.

Lycra Shorts
We can all agree that ball/tip rash is bad on multiple levels. You can’t surf, you can’t walk, and you most certainly can’t use your pickle for anything other than peeing. Lycra shorts not only protect your goodies from debilitating red bumps, but they also assist backside tube riding. By using your butt to stall in pig-dog position, your bro globes will receive a pounding from the rushing water. Lycras keep the pecans high and tight, which is not only a good tube-riding technique but also a safe place for the boys to reside during times of heavy impact.

Leash Tying
Leashes are cumbersome. They’re long, tangly sand-traps and the velcro catches on everything. The only way to avoid these annoyances is to wrap your leash snug and tight around the fins of your board, thus removing all loose ends. Despite this, the only people I see tying their leashes are, well, kooks. While most surfers know it’s in their best interest to wrap it up, the majority refuse due to ego and therefore suffer from sandy, tangled leashes and unexpected children.

Pre-suiting
It’s 6 AM on a Monday, and the waves look fun on the cam. You’re gonna paddle out no matter what because a pre-work session always improves your day. So why then, in any logical world, would you not put your suit on at home? It’s much warmer than changing in the frigid morning offshores and it streamlines your pre-surf routine – just wax and go. Yet, for some reason, the guy who arrives at the beach pre-suited is considered a barney. Thanks @kookoftheday.

Hot Water Jugs
Sometimes you need to go straight from the surf into the real world. That’s where a deliciously warm jug of water comes into play. Instead of heading to work smelling like month-old cat piss, both you and your salty, sandy wetsuit will benefit from a beach-side pseudo shower. But it’s mainly older fellas that utilize this method, rarely a young shred. This might be because it’s a little kooky, or maybe because it requires waking up a few minutes early to get the water warmed up and in the jug. All old people wake up at 4:30 am, sharp.

Board Racks
You have a hybrid sedan because gas is expensive and you love the environment. Only problem is, your beloved boards just don’t fit. Well, they do, but you’d have to rearrange your seats and get wax all over the new pleather. If only there were a way to transport boards on the outside of your vehicle. Oh wait, there is! But sadly, board racks have fallen to the kook side of the surfing spectrum, forcing us either to ruin our cars’ interiors or subject ourselves to a life of depression and anxiety. Tough call there.

Stretching
Another favorite of kooks and old guys everywhere, stretching before a session will maybe increase your surfing ability tenfold! I’ve never actually tried, but it looks like it might work. I’ll start by age 40 for sure.

In surfing, as in life, there’s a clear division between what’s cool and what’s practical. My general rule is that doing what you want and not caring about others’ opinions is the coolest thing anyone can do. Falling into social conventions is the exact opposite of that. While I don’t personally use all of the methods listed above (5/7), I believe in the merits of all of them. The list doesn’t end here, but I’ll let you decide the rest for yourselves. Just please, no Samsung surfboards.