Life As A Surfer

Crowd Control

By: Ashley Henderson 


crowded summer beach surfing

We’ve all been there before, sitting in class daydreaming about taking off on the most glassy peeler of your life, or in a dingy cubicle counting down the days until you can finally hit the beach.  The months before summer seem to tease us with the foreshadowing of sunny weather and beautiful beaches and though it may seem like a perfect time to surf, many locals find their regular breaks and line ups crammed full of tourists, foamies, and inner tubes.


In an effort to regulate such crowds and avoid angry moms with wagons chasing their children, sunscreen in hand, here are five sure fire ways to avoid the summer crowds and still get your surfing fix: 


1. Dawn Patrol

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard the prehistoric phrase, “The early bird catches the worm.” Well in this case, it catches the wave.  I know you love to sleep in; you’re a surfer, surf all day and rage all night right? Wrong. If you really want to beat those crowds to the beach you’re going want to avoid the hangover, or at least put on a pot of coffee for this one, so put down that beer.  I know you don’t like waking up early, well it turns out, people on vacation don’t either.  Remember Packing up the minivan, the cooler, and inflating the inner tube doesn’t happen until at least 10 am, so you’re safe until then. Be sure to check the tides at the beach you’re going to beforehand, sometimes the morning tides are too low or too high. It’s always better to be prepared.


2. Sunset Session

In stark contrast to dawn patrol there is the sunset session or sunset sesh, as I like to call it.  This is even better for those of you who really don’t like waking up early and can be just as serene and relaxing as dawn patrol.  Even though it may be hard to believe in today’s day and age, everyone has to eat, you’d think we’d have some kind of technology for this by now, but just around five or six O’clock the crowds start to clear out and look for some trendy late night beach café’s to eat at, or just empty the cooler and head back to the hotel.  This means it is prime time for sunset session; not only are the beaches and line ups virtually empty but you can watch the summer sun set and bounce off the backs of those glassy waves.


3. Surf With Friends

It can be intimidating paddling out into a crowd where you don't know anyone.  But by going surfing with a few friends or going to a break where you often bump into people you know, you are increasing the % of surfers in the water that are friendly with you.  The more friends you have in the water, the less likely you'll have to fight for waves.  Simply put, friends sometimes let friends have waves regardless of right of way, just because they are nice guys.  But it goes both ways, once in a while, let other people have waves when they are in a good position, especially if you've been cleaning house.  And hey, the nicer you are, the more friends you will have in the water, and that makes everyone happy.  Basically, share the stoke.


4. Secret Spot

Another way to do crowd control is to avoid the crowd all together.  Find a secret spot to surf.  This may entail actually voyaging out to the ends of the earth to find said secret spot and though it may seem extremely difficult it is only because it is virtually impossible.  Don’t give up just yet, there are some sick places that though they have been discovered are not completely swamped in beach umbrellas and family barbecues.  Areas like Bali, areas of Fiji, and Santa Catarina in Brazil are great places to take a surf trip to and do some exploring.


5. Skate

Ok, I know nothing can really take the place of gliding down the face of a wave or trimming a beautiful right? But when it’s over crowded or there are no waves, skating has always been a slightly more acceptable method for getting that surf fix than most.  Whether you are into polyurethane wheels and Lords of Dogtown, or going 50/50 down a rail to ollie down a set of stairs, skating can help you with your balance and over all surfing performance, so don’t be afraid to pick up that board and skate away from the crowd instead of paddling into it.  If all else fails in preventing these massive crowd shenanigans, you can always buy an air horn to clear people out of your way, because yelling shark in the water is like yelling fire in a movie theater, and an air horn only cost around $7.95, this is a very acceptable alternative. 


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