Having spent thousands of hours in the water, from Cape Town to Costa Rica, Santa Cruz to St. Augustine, I’ve been dropped in on, blocked, and called out for my share of boneheaded moves. I’m not the only one, though. And while most of us do our best to give respect and surf with etiquette, there are those who will always ignore or bend the unwritten rules.
Here’s a helpful list of the most ridiculous surfers you’ll find in the lineup, each with their own unique way of laughing in the face of propriety and taking any wave they can, regardless of priority.
The Tour Chaser
With big dreams of going pro, this guy aggressively roams lineups around the globe with a transparent Kelly complex. If there’s a camera on the beach, this person will do whatever it takes to be in the shot. After all, it only takes one great pic to make you famous. A wave-hog extraordinaire, they’ll drop in on you, snake you, backdoor you, and then give you an earful for ruining “their wave.”
The Loud Mouth
This species of surfer is most often spotted paddling around the peaks of Santa Cruz’s Pleasure Point. However, the Loud Mouth has a wide range and can technically thrive in any lineup across the globe. You’ll always hear them before you see them. But there’s no need to keep your eyes peeled for this surfer because as long as you stay in the water long enough, they will find you – assuming they weren’t already sitting at the top of the peak making everyone aware of their presence from the start. Though they rarely take a wave of their own, the Loud Mouth will harass, make fun of, and even threaten everyone outside of his crew for having the nerve to surf anywhere near them.
The Friendly Foe
This unsuspecting nemesis will paddle right up to you, chat your ear off and then snake every single wave that comes your direction. Typically found captaining a longboard, most agree that the Friendly Foe doesn’t even realize what he or she is doing. But does that make it ok? I think not. You can try to shake him by paddling up or down the lineup, but once he has you marked, there is pretty much no chance of escaping.
While you spend half your energy fighting to stay on the peak, this dude just goes with the flow. You’ll see them coming from a mile away (literally) but that won’t matter. This surfer goes where the current takes them, and almost without fail, aloofly positions himself perfectly for the best wave of the set when you least expect it. The Drifter wouldn’t be such a menace if it weren’t for the fact that after a good float down the lineup, they’ll take one in, walk back up the beach or the point, and make repeat passes all day long.
When it comes down to it, these guys are really just part of the fun. We are all kooks in our own way and the important thing to remember is that surfing isn’t supposed to be so damn serious (take notes, Tour Chaser). Sharing waves is simply a reality of surfing nowadays. You can let those with loose ethics ruin your day or you can rise above it, but that choice is all yours. The best advice I can give is to keep it fun out there and throw those “yewwws” around liberally.