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The glory days. Photo: Surf

The Inertia

I have a thing about reminiscing. Inside my brain, everything used to be better. Progress be damned! I should have been born Amish. Nah, that would suck – they have to judge everyone.

Anyway, surfing’s got a couple of little gems that I wish to God I was either around for or could pull off now without coming off like a total lunatic. With any luck, in a couple of years when the fashion cycle makes its loop, I’ll be paddling out in a white spring suit with my face covered in pink zinka. I can’t wait!

The black shoes definitely don't help.

The black shoes definitely don’t help.

#1. White wetsuits: Remember these things? Oh man! Every now and then, someone gives it a shot again, just to see what happens. White wetsuits have always looked slightly ridiculous. Even when Kelly was wearing them, I think everyone snickered under their breath – but if Jimmy Slade is doing it, no one’s saying a word. I always wondered what happens when you pee in a white wetsuit. I can’t go more than one session without dousing myself in urine, and I imagine after a while a white suit would be, well, not so white.

Nothing says "hey bud, let's party" like a white nose.

Nothing says “hey bud, let’s party” like a white nose.

#2. Neon zinka: Who could forget slathering your face with neon war paint? I used to love watching people act really serious when they looked like something out of that scene in the movie “Hook” where they all throw imaginary food at each other. Bang-a-rang, Peter Pan.

The only reason Ian Battrick is surfing in cold water is to wear a wetsuit thick enough to protect against the dreaded nipple chafe.

The only reason Ian Battrick is surfing in cold water is to wear a wetsuit thick enough to protect against the dreaded nipple chafe.

#3. Full deck traction: Ah yes, the ol’ nipple destroyers. Great on the feet, murder on the chest. I’m still not sure how people used traction up front for so long. I suspect they were an alien race of nippleless freaks sent to test our waters for habitable salinity levels. They didn’t find them, so they left and took their extra traction with them.

Safety first! Aw crap, it fell off again.

Safety first! Aw crap, it fell off again.

#4. Nose cones: Seriously, did these protect anyone ever? I suppose (if you somehow managed to keep it on for more than an hour) that a paper thin layer of rubber over the pointy nose of your surfboard should, in theory, work. Every single one that I ever had either fell off and probably choked a baby turtle or promptly split open and gave me a false sense of security.

Not ok, guy.

Not ok, guy.

#5. Puka shell necklaces: Actually, wait. I hope these never come back. There is only one circumstance where they are ok: if you’re a 9-year-old girl in an all-inclusive Mexican resort, and your parents bought you one to go with your beaded cornrows. Then you’re ok. Other than that, do the world a favor and leave the shells on the beach.


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