What to do when your local surf spot goes flat

If you’re a salty mermaid (or merman) who loves to plough through the brine on a board, flat spells can leave you feeling lost and adrift. After feverishly foraging through surf reports for a whisper of a wave, don’t despair just yet. When the ocean looks flatter than water on a platter, here are a few alternatives to wile away the hours.

Give your stick a wax job

Scrape off those sandy bumps and give your board some love. Photo: Clementine Gray
When the waves are flat, yet your board’s surface looks like the moon’s (i.e., filled with waxy lumps), take this time to give your stick a tremendously good wax job. Think of it as spring (er, summer) cleaning for your surfboard.

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Get out for some paddle practice

Time to perfect that stroke. Photo: Clementine Gray
No one got rock-hard surfer arms by watching bad TV. Swap dreary fitness lengths at your local chlorinated pool for hearty strokes up and down the beach on a board. You may look a bit silly, but you’ll be left laughing in the lineup with a powerful, well-perfected paddle that’ll propel you into that set wave.

RELATED: How to improve your paddle technique for surfing

Try deep-water soloing

Bold boulders with bright blue ocean below. Photo: Clementine Gray
If you’re fortunate enough to live by a coast lined with crags, rock climbing above water is simply one of the best things in life. Slither and smear yourself up the stone — and when you lose a tentative toehold, just slip off the rock and into the ocean below.

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Turn an old skateboard into a handplane

Load up on the acrylics and get creative. Photo: Courtesy of goon.bunny
You could use an old flip-flop as a handplane, but since you’ve got time, take that skateboard gathering dust and borrow a buddy’s jigsaw. Within a few hours, you can carve out a handplane, drill in a couple of holes for a hand strap and wham, bam, thank you, ma’am, you’ve got yourself a nifty upcycled craft ready for the sea.

Organize a beach cleanup

Hard work deserves reward. Photo: Courtesy of McDermott C.
Grab some buddies and spruce up your local beaches. Trawl the sand for odds and ends that you can upcycle, such as driftwood, and finish the day with a beach BBQ. Normally you’d be so busy surfing in the last light of the day that it’s a novelty to enjoy the sunset from the sand — with an ice-cold, frothy beer in hand.

Whittle some wood

Ready for teatime. Photo: Clementine Gray
After your beach cleanup, grab those pieces of old driftwood lurking around and a sharp knife and start whittling. No soup tastes better than that sampled with your own hand-carved cutlery.