5 simple pleasures of surfing

OK, break out the lava lamp and beaded curtains. We’re about to get all bohemian here.

Solid waves and good friends are all the reason you need to surf, but these are some extra perks. Photo: Courtesy of Brian Ralphs/Flickr

Although it’s different for everyone, in surfing, there is a common exhilaration in the ocean propelling you shoreward. Of course, there are those who get their excitement from escaping the jaws of a massive barrel, just inches above sharp teeth of coral, but if you’re new to surfing, there’s the elation of simply getting up on a foamy 2-footer and cruising out ahead of the whitewater.

No matter your skill level or board preference, here are some basic, common aspects of this waterborne pursuit that we all can enjoy.


There are a lot of reasons to get out for sunrise, but none is better than dawn patrol. Photo: Courtesy of Michael Seeley/Flickr

You don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy dawn patrol. Trail runners, river guides and even early commuters all appreciate the beauty of that blazing orange ball. Maybe you’re more the “yawn patrol” type who paddles out at 9 a.m., but there’s very good reason to surf early — most notably because it’s before the wind comes up.

The subtle symbol of the new day, seen while most of the world is sleeping, is gorgeous and uplifting. Plus, there’s a lot to be said for beating the crowd.

Getting hooted

The only thing that makes a good wave better is when your buds hoot you into it. Photo: Courtesy of Mike Sutherland/Flickr

What is it about the simple “Yeeeeeewwwwww!” from the shoulder that gives you that extra bit of momentum to get into the biggest wave of the set?

Whether you see surfing as individual sport or a communion, a little altruism goes a long way. No matter how late you are, there’s no pulling out once your buds give you that hoot. It’s the ultimate encouragement … unless you hoot for your own wave. Don’t do that.

Experiencing other cultures

Seriously. You may be on a surf trip, but would it kill you to get a little culture? Photo: Courtesy of Celine Colin/Flickr

Clearly, you don’t have to surf to experience different places. Even if you fancy yourself a dedicated waterman or woman, there are inland experiences worth seeking. If you go to Europe and spend the whole time searching for beachbreaks, you’re missing out.

But surfing propels us to travel, and travel means languages, food, customs and people. It’s called culture, and there’s a lot to learn from exploring new ones.

Bonus waves

Heading somewhere not expecting to surf and you score some fun waves? Those really are the best trips. Photo: James Carnes/Flickr

Have you ever had waves you weren’t expecting? Maybe you fought summer traffic to take your kids to the beach and happened to slide a few lines. Perhaps you found a couple of open faces despite the fact that your home break was howling sideshore and no one else wanted anything to do with it.

Have you ever gotten waves on a trip that wasn’t some celebrated surf zone? There’s something extra special about a hurricane swell in New York or renting a board on a work trip to San Fran.

Post-surf grinds

There’s something about a big slice of boardwalk pizza after you get out of the water. Photo: Courtesy of BobisTraveling/Flickr

In the same way that all food is better when you’re camping, anything is tastier after you surf. Open a can of tuna by the campfire after a session and you’ll think you’re eating the freshest ceviche de atun.

There’s nothing better than getting out of the water to a giant slice of boardwalk pizza, a plate of rolled tacos or an acai bowl. And you just exerted all that energy, so you can eat whatever you want (or just tell yourself that).