Billy Idol has a point. When you’re dancing (or surfing) by yourself, there’s nothing to lose and nothing to prove. No prying eyes are critiquing your cutbacks, no hecklers are on the shoulder hoping you catch a rail and fall so they can go on the wave, and there’s no turtle diver in your way looking at you like a deer in the headlights as they sit right in the perfect spot for your turn. Surfing by yourself can be a very rewarding experience for some, while for others it’s boring and pointless. Some people wonder if when a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? Those people are the people who paddle out after every wave and ask if you just saw that last air, or say something like, “Damn, I wish I did turns like that on every wave. Did you see those turns? They were sick.” Yeah, you saw the turns, and they were all right. No matter how good they were, you more often than not just say, “No, I missed ’em, bro.” Does this make you a hater? No, it makes you like 33.33333 percent of the surfing population. The same 33.33333 percent that like to surf alone.
There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. Some of us like to surf with friends just to bullshit with each other about life, last night’s mischief, the girl or guy we tried to hook up with, real-estate prices, movies, and whatever other topics non-surfers talk about at the watercooler or the coffee machine.
There’re three groups of surfers. A third like to surf solo and hold their best-turn stories to themselves and are content with having those special moments inside. Then there’re the guys who must tell the world how rad their last carve was and how stoked they are to be surfing so awesome. Then there’re people like me who don’t mind surfing alone, but prefer to have a few people out to bullshit with. Whichever you are, you should try surfing alone once in a while-as thousands of surfboards are sold every day and surf schools are selling out every weekend, surfing alone may soon become a rare and ancient pastime, enjoy it while it lasts.-C.C.