The term 'kook' is a label bestowed upon surfing neophytes, however it can also be broadened to include individuals who act recklessly or cluelessly in the surf, endangering others with their whimsical maladies.
Professional surfers were once kooks. Some may even admit to close friends behind locked doors in secluded cabins that they still suffer sporadic bouts of kookitis. It's likely though that us mortals would still regard even their most heinous kook act as one of our best performances, maybe even worthy of a claim.
This means that we're all essentially kooks. You, me and especially people that wear those webbed gloves. Gew. But the question is, just how kook are you? Are you a full blown Westie that wears socks and sandals to the beach or do you drop in on little kids at your local pointbreak then try to box their dad in the carpark?
I've developed the following checklist to answer these question and to help you gauge where you belong on the kook scale. The more points you accrue, the more likely you're inflicted with kookitis. Check it out and remember that with practice comes salvation. Unless you're a hipster that rides a fish, then you'll always be a kook in my eyes.
1. You own a pair of those webbed gloves I talked about earlier. Shame on you. (1 pt)
2. Post surf, you keep your wetsuit on to visit your favourite cafe or bar and order what I can only guess will be an extra frothy frappuccino or perhaps a cocktail that comes with an umbrella (2 pts)
3. You ditch your 10 foot longboard when a wave breaks in front of you, even when there are other surfers right behind you (2 pts)
4. You wear socks and sandals to the beach. You probably think its looks good too (1 pt)
5. You paddle for a set wave and miss it, only to turn around and try to catch the next one. I've seen it happen. Expect to be dropped in on (2 pts)
6. You bully a grommet out of a wave then yell at him for getting in your road. Tears ensue and you end up scrapping the kids dad in the carpark, only to be choked out and left gasping for air as you try to figure out whether you've soiled your wetsuit. No one wins in this situation, especially not surfing (3 pts)
7. Your first surf instructor told you that you need to warm up before every surf, and you took it to heart. Now you stretch and run sprints on the beach before you paddle out, then you wonder why your on-land efforts don't translate into better surfing (3 pts)
8. You purchase Outerknown surf gear (that's not even on sale) and believe Kelly's new Cymatic is the logical next step now you've tamed the longboard. It's not and you'll end up hating yourself and surfing if you try (3 pts)
9. You wear a fluro rashvest (2 pts)
10. You blame your surfboard for your kook tendencies but really it's your lack of ability that gives away your true kook nature (2 pts)
11. An all expenses paid surf camp slash yoga retreat in Costa Rica that offers couples massages is your idea of the perfect surf trip (2 pts)
12. You non-ironically claim waves (4 pts)
More than 10 points: Certified Kook
You're a definite kook, and probably a fan of the movie Point Break, but chances are you're still learning all the social and sartorial norms that exist within surfing. Relax, embrace your inner kook and try not to kill yourself or anyone else.
8 - 10 points: Borderline Kook
You ain't a full time kook, but an accident or embarrassment free surf session still alludes you. Don't get ahead of yourself, you don't have the right to call out others for being a kook just yet.
4 - 7 points: Delusional Kook
You can link a couple of turns and once upon a time you thought you got a stand up barrel. You probably didn't, but for sure you pulled off the wave and did that not-so-subtle wipe your nose claim. Everyone below you is kook scum and everyone above you gives you just enough respect to ensure you get a couple of set waves during a session, even though all they want to do is see you fall.
1 - 3 points: Overconfident Kook
You're a confident surfer that sometimes has off days. Maybe you even surfed a few competitions when you were younger. Now though, you're content with being the seventh best surfer at your local and giving every blow in the stink eye as you paddle around them. You sometimes wear a wide brimmed hat in the lineup.
0 points: Sans Kookness
What can I say, you're gods gift to surfing. Either that or you're in kook denial. In that case, there's no help for you. Go back to the valley.