Move Inland and Get a Real Job
My most recent tack, and certainly the one requiring the most commitment. After a lot of thought and a giant fourteen foot long “option appraisal” laid out across the floor of my kitchen, I came to the conclusion that the best way to get consistently good waves for the rest of my surfable life was to go back to the books and get a profession. Those guys surfing the early morning shift at Margaret River were all professionals in one field or another, who’d worked hard to get to where they were now which was a position where they could surf good waves every morning before heading in to work with wet hair and earn enough for a good standard of living, i.e. multiple surf trips every year. When I worked at a friend’s surf camp in Costa Rica, all of the guests and almost all of the other surfers passing through were all professionals on vacation from their careers in the States. Almost every time I’ve paddled out at a good wave, particularly in an idyllic and exotic location, I’ve shared the line-up with a doctor or a lawyer, or more often than not, a teacher. Maybe there was something to it then; that prescriptive western doctrine that says you have to work hard and pay your taxes, settle down and get a “real job” that I’d been avoiding all this time. Maybe this was the key to surfing regularly, earning enough to get a few new boards and going on a trip or two every year, and maybe even migrate one day to one of those joints with all-time waves to finally end up like the doctors and teachers of Margaret River.

There are a lot of options to choose from here. Friends of mine have got themselves a trade spending years on an apprentice wage with the aim of becoming their own boss, downing tools when the waves are good and having a valuable skill that makes them desirable to certain wave-rich southern hemisphere nations. Others have hit the books hard and worked long hours away from the ocean to become Doctors, Lawyers or high-flying suits, professions that are pretty easily transferable internationally and have hefty enough paychecks to facilitate the sort of surf trips that make up for long hours in the office.

I still don’t think that I’ve figured it out, so I’ll gladly accept any suggestions and give them my full consideration. If you’re lucky enough to have got it dialed, let me know how you did so please – but perhaps don’t tell everybody in case they end up doing it too.

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  • bozo returns

    ha ha – I wonder how many people have got it dialed and can take it easy and wait for the surf?

  • bozo returns

    ha ha – I wonder how many people have got it dialed and can take it easy and wait for the surf?

  • unfocused

    Cool introspection. It is a dilemma. Here’s my thoughts. Maybe, there’s the best of three worlds? For instance, perhaps choose a place with a great Metropolis. A big city, on the coast, that happens to have a lot of waves. Maybe not the best in town, but a short drive away. Cities such as Sydney, Honolulu, Los Angeles, and even San Francisco. Which is where i live. SF, has world class surf about 6 months out of the year. It has even better waves, all within 50 miles of it, which have extended seasons beyond 6 months. Santa Cruz is a short drive, and can get waves all year round.
    I bring up Metropolis, because there is economy in Metropolis. Yes, there is a lot of service industry work, of course, but there is a lot of other oppurtunity. Big cities tend to have a lot of colleges, trade schools, and work programs. This is where the “fall back” presents itself. I became a professional when I received my Bachelor Degree, but i was like most people who wanted to make his parents happy. I admit this. Yes, i did do it for myself, but, deep down, I always knew that it would be a “fall back”. So, having the degree, i would say is better, than not having it. Having the finances to enjoy surf trips is an amazing benefit. But, will require hard work.
    I think it is important to remember, that no matter how much we want great waves all the time…it is un-realistic. Unless of course, as you pointed out, the 1% that can travel anywhere, anytime when the waves are good. Even Indo and North Shore go flat for 6 months a year. This is a reality. What is the right answer? Does one even exist?
    I will say this about the dirty old man, livin in his van….it eventually will get creepy. And sooner or later, you will be considered homeless. If that’s a life people seek, i say even that will get old. And while im not passing on any wisdom, I’ve just found thart the big cities present economical realities that can open doors, and if you have a sense of adventure and desires for no dull moments, the big city is a place to escape and return to, that you can always call Home. Good luck in your journey quest my friend. You’ll figure it out. And always, always Stay Stoked-

  • unfocused

    Cool introspection. It is a dilemma. Here’s my thoughts. Maybe, there’s the best of three worlds? For instance, perhaps choose a place with a great Metropolis. A big city, on the coast, that happens to have a lot of waves. Maybe not the best in town, but a short drive away. Cities such as Sydney, Honolulu, Los Angeles, and even San Francisco. Which is where i live. SF, has world class surf about 6 months out of the year. It has even better waves, all within 50 miles of it, which have extended seasons beyond 6 months. Santa Cruz is a short drive, and can get waves all year round.
    I bring up Metropolis, because there is economy in Metropolis. Yes, there is a lot of service industry work, of course, but there is a lot of other oppurtunity. Big cities tend to have a lot of colleges, trade schools, and work programs. This is where the “fall back” presents itself. I became a professional when I received my Bachelor Degree, but i was like most people who wanted to make his parents happy. I admit this. Yes, i did do it for myself, but, deep down, I always knew that it would be a “fall back”. So, having the degree, i would say is better, than not having it. Having the finances to enjoy surf trips is an amazing benefit. But, will require hard work.
    I think it is important to remember, that no matter how much we want great waves all the time…it is un-realistic. Unless of course, as you pointed out, the 1% that can travel anywhere, anytime when the waves are good. Even Indo and North Shore go flat for 6 months a year. This is a reality. What is the right answer? Does one even exist?
    I will say this about the dirty old man, livin in his van….it eventually will get creepy. And sooner or later, you will be considered homeless. If that’s a life people seek, i say even that will get old. And while im not passing on any wisdom, I’ve just found thart the big cities present economical realities that can open doors, and if you have a sense of adventure and desires for no dull moments, the big city is a place to escape and return to, that you can always call Home. Good luck in your journey quest my friend. You’ll figure it out. And always, always Stay Stoked-

    • Mat Arney

      Hello, sorry I only just realised that I didn’t reply to you directly but instead left my comment as a separate post above.

  • unfocused

    That’s awesome Sammy. we think alike. i hadn’t even read your post, and big city was your perspective. It is a dilemma. Who knows if there is a right answer. Anyhow, Stay Stoked, brother. Cheers to the City

  • Mat Arney

    Thanks for taking the time to comment guys! I spoke to a few friends about the big city thing; definitely an option in Australia, the States or South Africa and a good one for the reasons that you mention, however the good city/good surf combo is a little harder to synch elsewhere, like in Europe and particularly the UK. Another factor to add in is whether you’re a city head or if you’re more into having fields and trees behind the beach. Hence the dilemma! To a great degree it depends if all you really want to do is surf, or if you also want to embrace and enjoy other elements of what non-surfers might call a “normal” lifestyle. These days with the internet it’s a lot easier to work remotely or access music and other cultural garnishes from a far away surf spot, but these digital-connections don’t always cut the mustard (excuse the British slang) over many months or years of trying to strike a balance. As I mention in the article, it’s tough to line it all up and make it work, and how you do that depends very much on what it is that you’re after and what sort of a surfing lifestyle you’re trying to construct. If you’ve already got it nailed then congratulations, and to everybody else, best of luck!

  • Mat Arney

    Thanks for taking the time to comment guys! I spoke to a few friends about the big city thing; definitely an option in Australia, the States or South Africa and a good one for the reasons that you mention, however the good city/good surf combo is a little harder to synch elsewhere, like in Europe and particularly the UK. Another factor to add in is whether you’re a city head or if you’re more into having fields and trees behind the beach. Hence the dilemma! To a great degree it depends if all you really want to do is surf, or if you also want to embrace and enjoy other elements of what non-surfers might call a “normal” lifestyle. These days with the internet it’s a lot easier to work remotely or access music and other cultural garnishes from a far away surf spot, but these digital-connections don’t always cut the mustard (excuse the British slang) over many months or years of trying to strike a balance. As I mention in the article, it’s tough to line it all up and make it work, and how you do that depends very much on what it is that you’re after and what sort of a surfing lifestyle you’re trying to construct. If you’ve already got it nailed then congratulations, and to everybody else, best of luck!

  • Mat Arney

    Thanks for taking the time to comment guys! I spoke to a few friends about the big city thing; definitely an option in Australia, the States or South Africa and a good one for the reasons that you mention, however the good city/good surf combo is a little harder to synch elsewhere, like in Europe and particularly the UK. Another factor to add in is whether you’re a city head or if you’re more into having fields and trees behind the beach. Hence the dilemma! To a great degree it depends if all you really want to do is surf, or if you also want to embrace and enjoy other elements of what non-surfers might call a “normal” lifestyle. These days with the internet it’s a lot easier to work remotely or access music and other cultural garnishes from a far away surf spot, but these digital-connections don’t always cut the mustard (excuse the British slang) over many months or years of trying to strike a balance. As I mention in the article, it’s tough to line it all up and make it work, and how you do that depends very much on what it is that you’re after and what sort of a surfing lifestyle you’re trying to construct. If you’ve already got it nailed then congratulations, and to everybody else, best of luck!