Anyone who has ever ventured down to their local surf spot will know that they are home to a colourful bunch of people. Those who are surfers might even find themselves reading about one of the following characters thinking that it all sounds very familiar. And if you haven’t ever had the sheer joy of encountering these guys we suggest that you head on down to the beach with this guide in tow. It’s a little like birdwatching or train spotting but in our opinion far more entertaining. Enjoy!
The Superstar Kid – Like everybody on the beach, these dudes are there to serve a purpose. To make us feel bad about ourselves. As we struggle to carry our 10ft foamie down the beach, these kids run past us without a care in the world, jump gracefully into the water, paddle seamlessly out beyond the break and proceed to show up every person twice their age.
The Surf Bum – Likes to hang out in carparks adjacent to the best swell going. Will usually own a VW van or something similar and when he ventures away from the safety of his van or the beach to civilisation, he’s often thrown spare change as people assume he’s homeless. We are never quite sure how the surf bum fuels his van or himself for that matter as there seems to be nothing as inconvenient as a job getting in the way of surf time.
The Mid-Life Crisis – There reaches a certain point in everyone’s life where that all important question raises its scary head: ‘Where am I going in life?’ One day this guy or girl was totally content with their life and then bam the next they feel worthless. They need to shake up their lives and quick. And all of sudden, the solution is so clear. Surfing. Kelly Slater makes it look so easy, so cool, so fulfilling. They are totally confident they too can rock that vibe.
So they head out, buy all of the kit. The sales assistant talks them into buying the works – of course you need the latest merino wool lined 5mm suit – after all you’ll become totally addicted and want to surf all year round. Before they know it they’re running across the beach daring David Hasslehoff to give them a run for their money in the cool stakes. They hit the water feeling awesome. Until reality hits and they realise surfing is a lot harder than it looks. Reality check.
The Grumpy Local – Despite the fact that this dude is guaranteed to be benefitting from the recent influx of surf schools and the business they bring to the local community, no surf town is complete without a grumpy local. A fan of leaving abusive “No Parking” messages on windscreens and telling anyone who will listen that surfers are a reincarnation of the devil. Rest assured though, he will not turn your money away when you buy a cup of tea from his local café.
The Surf Schoolers – Dressed in brightly coloured rashies, it’s impossible to head to surf school and remain incognito. Bouncing around in the whitewater, these are the guys who always appear to be having the most fun. Nothing quite matches the first time you stand on that board for all of about two seconds. You can guarantee that every single person in the surf school walking away from the beach is doing so with an ear to ear grin, even if they are freezing their nuts off in the rental suit!
The Surf Instructor – Not to be confused with the surf school owner. The surf instructor can be found standing in the water with a false grin plastered on his face as he pushes the 100th person into a wave that day. He is simultaneously wishing that he had not drunk so much last night, while mentally planning another big session that evening.
The Surf School Owner – This guy seems to have endless enthusiasm. He celebrates even the most pathetic shred of mediocrity on a surfboard. He is genuinely passionate about his business and loves nothing more than watching people get into the sport that he loves.
The Silver Surfer – Otherwise known as the pioneers of the sport, these dudes remember the days when surfboards were wooden and instead of wetsuits people wore woollen jumpers in the water. They may have grey hair but they still rock the same bodies they did when they were 25 and mentally they haven’t aged a bit. A little stiffer than they were in their prime, they opt to rock a longboard and show the young ones that they still have it when it comes to grace and style.
The Stoner – The Stoner is content to be on the beach. He claims he surfs but we’ve never actually seen him in the water. And to be honest that’s probably for the best as he seems to spend his whole life totally baked. When he is not sitting on the beach completely mesmerised by the surfers in front of him, he can be found in the local bar nursing the same beer for hours on end speaking very slowly to anyone who will engage with him and never really making much sense.
N.B Most stoner surfers will not be as good looking as Matthew McConaughey or as cool as Woody Harrelson.
The Pro – Usually seen with a bevy of girls in their wake, the pro will always make out that they hate the attention but we know that they secretly love it. These guys deserve to have a bit of an ego though, they are properly talented and we all look at them with utter awe as they show us how it’s done time and time again.
The Wannabe –
Read full list, here