The American philosopher Jim Rohn once said that ‘reasons come first…answers come second’ and this idea lead me to a big question…why do we surf?
Is it for the adrenalin rush surfing gives you, or a pursuit for inner peace? Is it escape from the daily grind or the fact that you can enter into a sub-culture with its own fashion, language and style. So, in no particular order, here are 57 1/2 reasons why people surf – see if you can find the best reason for you.
1. To look cool amongst your peers
Shallow as it seems, image plays a big part in surfing. Unlike some of the other water sports, surfing is generally regarded as quite cool – but then these people don’t see you rinsing out your pee-stained wetsuit, or watch your nose drain seawater all over dinner.
2. It can help you get laid more often
Being a tanned rock god/goddess of the ocean can have its upside, as pro surfers seem to attract pretty hot partners. Hopefully a bit of that Kelly Slater magnetism can rub off on you…though obviously, there are no guarantees.
3. You’re having a mid-life crisis
20 years of working hard in the corporate machine has left you soulless and metaphorically washed up. These days you feel like the walking dead, ready to turn to dust and you’re barely 40. Life is ticking by faster and faster, yet there’s so much you haven’t done…grey hairs are appearing, your kids don’t think you’re cool anymore, your partner won’t sleep with you and has threatened to leave…its domestic hell, and lets face it, you’ve become fu*kin boring. Surfing, is probably the only answer.
The Surfer: A great British surf comedy
4. You want to tick it off your bucket list
If you haven’t been to Thailand, sky-dived out of a plane or run a marathon by the time your 30 you’ll struggle to fit in these days. Surfing is another ‘to do’ on many people’s bucket list. It’s such a ‘must do’ that even the British prime minister David Cameron claims to surf – though you might want to call it dick dragging.
5. It’s a topic of conversation that can make you look good in job interviews
Brave, fit, healthy and an early riser – just some of the traits you could associate with a surfer – so a great hobby to mention during a job interview…but be sure to avoid conversations about the surf drug scene, and how you’ll always skip work if there’s a sick swell on.
6. Because Batman and The Joker surf
If superheros surf to protect the world, then so should you…no excuses!
7. It makes you more exotic
Being British just doesn’t seem cool anymore. But by dropping in lots of surf slang into your conversations, and adopting an affected Aussie twang into your accent you can quickly become more exotic and cool…it’s like your character is now shaped by many far away lands and nations.
8. Because it’s what real-life superhero Laird Hamilton does
9. Cos it’s a socially acceptable form of rebellion
Waving placards down Whitehall, fighting the cops or blowing up Tescos tends to get in the way of your career prospects. Release that inner rebel through surfing and feel good about yourself.
10. Now it’s OK to wear all the surf/skate fashion
Embrace surf culture, embrace the ocean and you can embrace designer surf labels. It’s now totally OK to dress yourself head to toe in global surf brands. From Quiksilver or Billabong hoodies to Volcom 2-piece suits, there’s almost too much stuff to chose from. You can also point at chavs wearing boardies and say stuff like: “…they probably don’t even surf”
11. You feel the need for a sub-culture
Fitting in with mainstream culture is ok to a point, but it can feel good to be part of something more niche. Life can be more fun in a smaller group where everyone has something in common.
12. You love wetsuits
A well-designed wetsuit should be comfy, warm, stretchy and snug. You can even get custom-made wetsuits here in Newquay too.
13. You can get a tan without appearing vain
The sight of men sunbathing in their speedos by the pool or on a beach is pretty scary – plus it spells VAIN. We all know fake tans just don’t cut it unless you live in Liverpool or Essex, so overcome the problem of looking like a pastey pom by getting a great tan surfing.
14. Develop strong shoulder and back muscles without going to the gym
Save yourself money on gym membership and get bigger shoulders and back muscles by surfing.
15. Eat and drink what you want
If you surf everyday you can pretty much eat and drink what you want and you probably won’t put on weight. Surf 2-3x a day regularly and you’ll have a super-human, carb-craving metabolism.
16. It is better than watching trash TV
Who would anyone watch trashy TV when they could be in the water surfing? Forget trash TV and hit the surf.
17. Surfing gets you away from ‘chavs’
If you find yourself surrounded by bling, guys with pitbulls and the constant thud of R&B coming from the back of Vauxhall Novas, then you’ve hit a new low and need to escape… Get away from the chavs in the surfing line up.
18. It gets you closer to nature
Life in the concrete jungle can be stressful – traffic, pollution, busy tube trains…mad people screaming at you in the street. Its left you far removed from nature and where you evolved from. So enjoy the peace and harmony of the ocean – go surfing.
19. It brings you closer to God
If you believe that there is indeed a power on earth greater than ‘Laird Hamilton’, then surfing may be able to bring you closer to your chosen God…Cameron Diaz certainly seems to think so.
20. Surfing allows you to tap into your deep inner self
Sitting on your surfboard in the tranquil ocean can help de-clutter your thoughts and allow you to listen to your inner voice…
21. Surfing is good for your posture
With stronger shoulder and back muscles surfers tend to slouch less and naturally adopt a more healthy posture.
22. Long surf sessions could help cure insomnia
Take to the surf for at least 2-3 hours a day and pretty soon those restless nights where you can’t sleep might be over.
23. Surfing is better than sex
It is a big claim (and I guess it depends on who you sleep with), but on those epic days most surfers would admit it atleast comes close.
24. You love the smell of surf wax
From bubble gum smells to exotic coconut, there are many different types of surf wax available to help you stay connected to your board. This year’s fave for the UK is cold water Sticky Bumps – nice ‘n’ sticky and good to sniff.
25. You are a water sign
Whether you’re a water sign, or you’re trying to impess a water sign – the ocean is a great place to be.
26. You own loads of board shorts
Head off to warmer climes to surf and you can use that drawfull of over-priced boardies for what they were designed for.
27. Surfers are sexy
Whether you’re a man or a woman, you’ll find a surfer that you think is really hot.
28. It raises your self-esteem
Getting fit and strong while you learn and refine your surfing skills can help make you feel good about yourself and make you more confident.
29. You can’t dance
Not everyone was destined to be the next James Brown, and while dancing may not be Occy’s thing either..he did have some awesome surfing moves to dominate the world with – Watch a clip of Occy on dancing with the stars.
30. Surfing is a safety valve
Sometimes we need to get away from work, the screaming kids or a nagging partner to feel calm. Surfing is a great way to achieve this, because if they can’t surf, they can’t follow you out back!
31. You will want to travel more
Unless your blessed with living on a Hawaiian island or in a coastal village in Indo, chances are that surfing will make you want to travel. Begin your constant search for warm water and uncrowded breaks. Be like a new Alan Whicker…but on fibreglass.
33. You like Jack Johnson’s music
If you’re a fan of Jack Johnson, then you should be a fan of surfing too. Hit the surf and hum along to Jack’s favourite tunes…while you try and get shacked
34. You wish you were born in the 1960s
Uncrowded breaks, cruising in a V-dub camper and discovering new surf spots to carve up on your 9’2 single fin with Micky Dora…the sixties was the era when surfing really took off, so why wouldn’t you want to be there?
35. Unleashing your inner ‘collector maniac‘
Surfing is addictive, and so is buying surfboards. First you have one…but then you want more. A mal for the small days, a gun for the bigger days…and then something for the hollow days, and so it goes on. Before you know it your re-mortgaging your house and living in a warehouse off the A30. But don’t worry about it too much, because you’ll still have your surf mates to share your OCD with.
36. You are a masochist
From fins in the face, to being scraped across a reef, to potentially life-threatening, hold-downs…surfing can be a dangerous sport. Experiencing a range of pain on a daily basis will become a habit you may learn to enjoy.
37. You are a sadist
On the other side of the coin, watching others suffer a bit of pain can be equally addictive and as Taj Burrow once said: ‘Watching your mates wipe out on heavy waves is almost as much fun as surfing” – well he could be right.
38. British princes do it
Apparently the royal family likes to surf. Prince Charles is known to have surfed around Roche, North Cornwall and it also looks like prince William likes surfing as well. Who knows, he might have been trying to impress his wife-to-be Kate Middleton.
39. Chicks dig scars
Chances are that if you surf regularly you’ll get a few cuts and bruises along the way. But no fear…those reef scars and sea ulcers could drive some women wild.
40. It’s less dangerous than moto-cross
Practising airs and getting it wrong might land you in A&E occassionally, but its not as stupid-dangerous as moto-cross and trying to be Travis Pastrana. Misjudge that landing into your skip full of foam and your toast…goodbye bike, hello traction. So go surfing instead – you’ll have a better life expectancy.
41. Cheaper than kite surfing and windsurfing
Surfing kit can be alot cheaper than some other water sports. If the water’s warm, all you really need is a surfboard.
42. Impress the kids
When it comes to kids, no one wants to be boring. So who wouldn’t want to be seen as a cool parent or relative? Go impress the youngsters with your retro Mark Richards bottom turn or an Ozzie Wright kick flip.
43. It’s the sport of kings
If you know your history, you’ll know that surfing is in fact the true sport of kings.
44. Cos beer always seems to taste nicer afterwards
It’s a mystery of the universe, but whether it’s a smooth pint of Tribute ale or a Skindog surf beer – for whatever reason – beer always tastes awesome after a surf session.
45. Because you hate team sports
Lets face it, getting 22 people to turn up in the same place just so you can engage in a sport can be a massive headache…and what if you play well, but your team mates are rubbish? You lose, and that sucks. With surfing it’s just you and the ocean. Of course the ocean reserves the right to kick your ass whenever she wants…but hey, c’est la vie. If you’re independent, adverse to compromise and like doing things your own way then surfing could be the sport for you.
46. You wanted to kite surf but there isn’t any wind
If there’s not much wind but there are waves, then surf.
47. Someone bought you a surfboard as a present
Usually considered a BS reason for selling a board on Ebay, but lets assume it happens…someone has spent hundreds of pounds on a surfboard as a gift for you, on a wild hunch you might enjoy it. Surely you owe it to them and yourself to surf? I mean it’d be rude not to.
48. You live by the beach and everyone surfs
If you’re lucky enough to live by the ocean then make the most out of it and surf.
49. It means you can skateboard in the water
When the tarmac stops the ocean begins. For avid skateboarders, surfing can be a great extension of board skills learnt on land.
50. It’s a great way to mow down bodyboarders
Not to be done without very good reason of course…but if they stole your girlfriend, then perhaps…
51. We’re 90% water anyway
Whether its scientifically accurate to say ‘we are 90% water’ is neither here nor there – the point is we are mainly water. And if humans evolved from the sea…then it sort of explains why we love to spend time there.
52. Other people think you are adventurous
To some – i.e. the naive – a surfer is almost like a modern day hero.
53. Cos the minerals in the ocean are good for you
Let the minerals in the ocean make your skin healthy while you surf.
54. Get up close to sea life
If you’re a David Attenborough fan and love sea life, then you can get up close and personal to lots of it by going surfing. Most of them are friendly…though do keep a keen eye out for the men in grey suits…sometimes there’s a good reason to scarper.
55. To get barreled
You’ll often hear this cited as the number one high point of surfing. From Clay Marzo saying “I probably wouldn’t bother surfing if it wasn’t for barrels”, to Taj Burrow claiming “There’s nothing better than getting crazy barrels with your mates” – so evidently getting barreled is king. For some insane neck-breaking barrell footage, check out Taj and his mates in this video shot by Billabong.
56. You love Beetles and campervans
These vehicles are not known for their lightning speed or 1st class comfort, but they are inter-twined with the surf lifestyle and they look pretty cool too. The only negative is that Hitler is credited for designing the Beetle…but did he…really?
57.“Cos I’m always a better person when I come in” – Andy Irons
A real inspiration for this article. Below is a moving short film featuring the late, great AI made just before his death. You may have seen it before, but its good enough to watch again, and again, and again…
57 1/2. Because you only live once
ps: Did you find the reason why you surf in the list? Or are there other reasons that make you surf?
Let us know in the commments below!