14 Types of Surfers Probably Creepin' a Lineup Near You

One-Wave Wally, is that you? Photo: Miguel A. Amutio//Unsplash

The Inertia

A while back I penned a piece about the surfers in the lineup often encircling me like sharks. I’ve been fortunate enough to surf a lot more this year, and I’ve also been…well, mostly, fortunate to spend time with this cast of crooked characters. I think you’ll recognize at least a few of these wave warriors, water hogs, barrel dawgs and full-on shredders. Full credit to those in the comments section last time throwing me ideas!

The Hostile Local Ripper:

This shred-the-gnar local in his or her neon sponsor wetsuit and sticker-covered (but painstakingly stuck) board is staring you down because not only are they better than you, you’re in their territory…which is the ocean. Yeah, that’s right: they own the ocean. That’s how good they are, despite the fact that they’re eternally unhappy, yet. dying to impress you. The best part, Brah, is that they’re not even from this town, though that tattoo on their chest says “local pride.”

Setup: Great White Twin I-Bolic Volcanic, no leash, black wetsuit, coach and videographer on the beach arguing about what wax is stickiest.

The Social Club: Ah, the beloved group of people that paddles out together, sits in a tight circle, and dishes the hot goss. Lots of laughs, and a lot of confusion from yours truly, since I’m from New England, and we don’t waste waves to trade memories. However, I’ve gotten to hear a lot about Ocean’s birthday party and how Reef and Coral made out in the kitchen, and I’ve grabbed a lot of leftover waves while this group spills the tea. 

Set-up: Interchangeable funboards, cheese, crackers, and low-cal wine.

Romeo and Juliet: You’ve got to love the teenagers who ditch one board to make out on the other. I get the sense that these kids have nowhere else to go, so they tell their overprotective parents they’re “going surfing” and then they paddle out and play tonsil hockey for a while. Yep, it’s exactly as bad as it sounds. I mean, in my day we just lied to our parents and made out in parked cars on dead-end streets.

Set-up: Doesn’t matter; they’re just going to ditch one board and make out on the other one.

The Angry Boards: This couple decided to head out for a day of carefree surfing that they thought would diffuse the argument they’ve been hurtling back and forth like a frisbee. Sorry: adding obstacles like the waves and tides only makes the fact that these people hate each other, worse. They’ll continue to loudly berate one another as they take off on waves and chuck personal insults back and forth, the best I’ve heard being “I wish I’d never married you – and that was my wave!”

Setup: His and her Al Merrick thrusters, one of which will soon be smashed to pieces and included in the divorce settlement.

The Shower Hog

Not to be confused with the Waterhog, we encounter this decreasingly rare specimen on the steps, if you’re lucky enough to have a shower at your break. This unique mammal suddenly thinks that they are at home and in their own shower, so there’s no point in waiting to rinse off, because they’re singing, lathering up, and making intermittent groaning sounds. If they start shucking off that wetsuit, run.

Setup: Mid-length Egg, the better to hold their shower caddy and bath towel, and one of those shower-spray-things for your car, so they can rinse their feet off again in the lot.

The Endless Optimist

We’ve all been this person one day or another. Off on the horizon, you’re 99 percent sure you see a perfect peak that is SO much better than the slop you and 100 other people are scrapping over. Turns out, you paddle 500 yards for…nothing. But wait, the other way, down past where you were, looks even better…The best part is that while you were gone, the original spot turned on and everyone got tubed.

Setup: Mid-length that paddles well, binoculars, Cliff Bars and orange slices

The Swell Stealer

I encountered a Swell Stealer recently, and she apparently heard that in surfing, you’re supposed to go on every single wave, wherever you are, regardless of your last few wipeouts, because there are NO RULES IN SURFING…sorry, am I yelling? I have a bit of an anger problem…

Setup: A step-up, because the swell’s hitting 2-3 feet and they thought step-up was a terrible movie about dancing.

The Foam Battering Ram

It’s unclear where this creature comes from (my bet’s Arizona), but they’re hunting for your head, and the goal is to bludgeon you with the foam board they have no control over.

Setup: Dented foamie, torn wetsuit, black eye, GoPro to poke your eye out and get your misery on film.

14 Types of Surfers Probably Creepin' a Lineup Near You

Foam battering ram anyone? Photo: Guille Alvarez//Unsplash

One Wave Wally

A fascinating creature, One Wave Wally drives to the beach, suits up, walks down, stretches, slowly paddles out, complains about being tired, grabs one wave, and heads in. Wally perplexes us – does he know no one is forcing him to surf?

Set-up: Old groveler, hammock for naps.

The Lot Lizard

Ol’ Lizard’s got a sprinter van full of surfboards dragging a bicycle equipped with a surf rack and a stereo that only plays Def Leppard, but his true love is hobnobbing in the lot. He’ll be there 24 hours a day, with no plans to go surfing, but big plans for taking over the Porta-Potty and using it as a shed.

Setup: Eleven longboards in varying states of decay, sticker of Calvin (of Hobbes fame) peeing next to a “Surfing Sucks, Don’t Try It” sticker.

The Over-Stretcher

You catch them on your way out, hanging back, maybe doing a couple of hops or toe-touches. They’re still on the beach as you end your session, moving through an increasingly complex series of Pilates-inspired moves that remind you of the wounded seal that just swam by. They’ll make it down to the water by nightfall, limber as an octopus. 

Setup: Twin-fin, yoga mat, home-brewed kombucha.

The Sup Stealer: The paddleboarder playing paddle ball while paddling who gets in early and is quasi responsible for your 100 missed waves. Famous for appearing suddenly on the wave you’ve been waiting 10 minutes for, and then enthusiastically saying, “Sorry, Dude!” because they’re…not sorry at all and they’re definitely riding your wave all the way to shore. No, I’m not bitter. Yes, you’re allowed to steal their paddle and hide it in the sand.

Setup: Twenty-foot paddleboard, cooler full of Michelob Ultra, tiny dog named Steamer Lane.

The Kayaker:

The Kayaker appears lost and confused amid the swells, until they cut you off and shout “Wooohoooo!” as they disappear into the fog. Turns out, they thought the break was a saltwater pond; but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to stay a while and clog up the takeoff zone with their wide-brimmed hat and life vest.

Setup: Bright red kayak, jeans, boots, rain slicker, camping gear.

The Wildlife Enthusiast:

When the dolphins invariably join the party, this guy or gal can’t just smile and keep surfing. Instead, they’re going to fill you in on every single marine mammal factoid they know and don’t even get them started on those piping plovers. As a matter of fact, this guy or gal starts paddling towards the dolphins, because they’re our friends, and it makes sense to get as close as you can to wild animals, dig?

Setup: Sustainable surfboard, rescue dog, rescue cat, rescue crab, rescue mollusk

I’m signing off until next time with nothing but love for the characters in my local lineup, of which I am indeed one.


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