The ocean can quickly become a crime scene if you happen to commit any of the following surfing do-nots
Surfing is gravy when there are a waves for everyone and the sun is shining and people who you’ve never met compliment your style. But surfing and the ocean can also bring out the worst in humanity.
In fact, the ugliness of society seems even more apparent when it shines through the cracks on the most pleasant of pleasant days.
The reason being that littering, violence and general waterborne skulduggery seem all the more facetious when framed by the natural beauty of the ocean and the innocent joy of surfing.
But instead of shy away from this sad reality, I’ve decided to list some of the worst crimes one can commit as a digital nomad who surfs.
If only to serve as a gentle reminder that even surfing, which is about one million times more satisfying than a clean wipe, is as full of fuck ups and dick moves as Australian cricket.
Throwing Away Your Trash on the Beach
There’s nearly nothing lower than throwing away your trash on the beach (or anywhere for that matter) without taking pause to consider that you're actually hastening the end of the world as we know it.
Seriously… with the amount of things we know about pollution and the fact that more than 268,940 tonnes of litter is estimated to be floating in the earth's oceans means this is still an issue.
And nothing says, "Hey... I'm a dick", about a person like the act of tossing a cigarette butt, ice cream wrapper or beer bottle onto the beach.
Like sleeping in on the day of your nanna’s funeral or pulling up in a disabled parking spot, throwing away your trash on the beach is unforgivable.
Stealing Someone Wax
The wax bandit is somewhat of a villain within the surf community.
They are generally unassuming and often friendly. But behind their benevolent veneer is a thief with no regard for the property of others.
They're the type of people who pay their bills in 5 cent coins and whip the sand of their towel into the eyes of others.
Sure, stealing a block of wax isn't the same as flogging a board, but it’s the pettiness of the act that makes it one of the worst crime you can commit as a surfer.
If you suspect someone you know is a wax bandit or that you may be one yourself, there’s still time to make things right with those around you.
Just buy your own block of $5 wax god’s sake and make a promise to yourself to never use the last piece of someone else's.
Becoming a Serial Deadline Pusher
This one is a tricky one because we’ve all pushed deadlines before.
Some of us do it because we've had something urgent come up in our personal life. Other push deadlines because the client hasn’t supplied them with enough content to complete the project.
But there are those of us who are repeat offenders when it comes to pushing deadlines, all because we can’t plan ahead to accommodate for the surf or work dilemma.
Now, if the waves are pumping, I get it. But after being in the shoes of the one pushing the deadline, plus the one who’s project won’t be finished on time because another contractor had to push theirs, I can tell you it’s infuriating after a certain point.
And news flash amigos… it ain’t a good look for your business or for other freelancers in general.
So, if you feel you’re a serial deadline pusher then perhaps this article will serve you well.
Instagramming a Secret Spot
One of the cardinal rules of surfing is as follows:
If you stumble upon a secret spot, you should never, ever blow it up by posting photos or videos of it.
The reasons being that some surf spots around the world are a heavily guarded secret and deserve to be kept that way.
This means not even the elite of the elite when it comes to surf photography are allowed access to them.
Whipping out your phone or pulling out your camera with the intention of taking a few innocent snaps could therefore lead to some dire consequences.
My advice? If you find a secret spot, don't paddle out with a crew of surfers and don't shoot photos without permission from the locals or whoever has been surfing there the longest.
Also, don’t post said photos near the break hinting that you’ve surfed it unless you’re looking to have your bumhole spread from breakfast to dinner by a group of angry local yokels.
Getting the Wrong (Or No) Travel Insurance
Your friends, your family, the owners of the resort you’re staying at or the skipper of the boat you’re on and of course yourself.
This is a list of people who’ll be impacted if you knock yourself unconscious on a coral head or undergo an impromptu lobotomy courtesy of the nose of your board.
If you have travel insurance, the drama and the costs surrounding your evacuation or transport to the nearest hospital or medical clinic will be mitigated.
Cop an injury without travel insurance, however, and you’ll be putting everyone on this list and especially yourself in a shitty position.
Whether it be because the people who feel responsible for you have to risk their own safety to ensure yours, or your parents have to take a second mortgage just to pay the fee for your helicopter ride to a dodgy Indonesian hospital.
Worst yet – you may just end up dying in a foreign hospital while your family is still rallying to get you home.
It sounds farfetched until it doesn’t, and travel insurance horror stories can be found everywhere throughout the internet.
But since we digital nomads and surfers spend most of our time in developing countries where medical assistance may not be as prompt or as comprehensive as where we grew up, getting the best travel insurance is something one should never overlook.
Snaking People in the Lineup
The lineup is essentially a hierarchy, with the surfers who've waited the longest for a wave at the top and those who’ve only just paddled out or jumped off the rocks to join the lineup down the bottom.
In an ideal world, this lineup would operate like a queue where everyone is civil and cutting in front of someone deemed unthinkable.
But cram a horde of wave hungry men and women into a small takeoff zone on a dying swell and you’ve got yourself an atmosphere akin to high noon in a dusty wild west town.
This can lead to people jumping the queue in a hostile attempt to steal more waves for themselves.... an attempt that often ends up in fisticuffs.
It’s wrong and maddening and it screams elitism. And for that reason, the offender should be ostracised from his or her friends and family and forever labelled a dirty snake.
Dropping in is in fact the lowest of the low act when it comes to the art of surfing.
It is the ultimate sin and no punishment is too severe for those who commit it.
For those unaware (yeah right) of what the drop in is, it is when a surfer takes off on a wave while another surfer is already riding it, shitting on any chance the first surfer had of enjoying their wave and essentially ruining the essence of surfing in the process.
Now, there are situations where a drop in acceptable, such as when its knee high and you’re foolin’ around on mals with friends or if someone calls a party wave.
Also, if you happen to spot an ominous looking fin cruising out the back, no one will chew you out for turning about-face and catching a wave into shore that’s already got someone on it.
Drop in out of wilful ignorance for the rules or blatant disregard for your fellow human though and you’ll never earn respect in the lineup or end up with a waxed windscreen.