Longboard surfer finishes wave

K. Get your last wave. Time to grow up, grom. Photo: Knut Robertson

The Inertia

“This is what I mean by quitting surfing. When you surf, as I then understood it, you live and breathe waves…You cut school, lose jobs, lose girlfriends, if it’s good.” 
― William Finnegan

I get it.  No one understands what surfing really is. It’s not a hobby. It’s not a sport. It’s a passion. But it’s time to cut the leash, swim to the surface, and grow up. Don’t believe me? Here are seven reasons why you should Craigslist your quiver, get a straight job, take up golfing, and finally mow the goddamn lawn. It’s time to quit surfing.

1. Surfing will steal your soul.

Being hooked on anything is bad, right kids?

Thad Ziolkowski’s 2021 book The Drop parallels a surfer’s first wave and an addict’s first hit: both are intense neurological experiences that sweep people away.

In other words, surfing is getting high, and getting high can be dangerously addictive.

2. Surfing saps motivation.

Your friends are buying houses in the burbs, celebrating career milestones, and stacking that IRA.

Your “job” is only a means to an end, and that end is a brand new Channel Islands thruster and a trip to Indo.

Ultimately you’ll get canned for writing a moderately amusing newspaper piece about your employer (true story for this writer) or for telling off your boss (true story #2), but it won’t matter because all you need are some tasty waves and a cool buzz, man.

3. Surfing shreds relationships.

Another perfect swell, another family BBQ…another cheap excuse to get in the water.

When Kelly Slater compared the trap of surfing to the mafia, he wasn’t wrong. You’re never sure if you can pencil in that hike with your fiancé next weekend since a swell is definitely coming. Probably. Maybe. If the winds line up.

Here’s a news flash, Cheech: just because you have names for your surfboards, doesn’t mean they care about you.

Families are not supposed to support each other’s passions. They’re meant to stifle your creativity, remind you how weak your backside floaters are, and above all, keep you passing the potato salad to Uncle Frank.

4. Surfing wants to kill you. And that’s not healthy.

For a fast fall off the evolutionary ladder, wax on, and leash up. Surfers eschew logical learned behavior by paddling towards the ocean’s violence.

From localism to sharks, sting rays and reef rash, surfing is as dangerous as Kenny Loggins in the ’80s. Miki Dora was a criminal mastermind, for crying out loud!

You’re better off gardening or strumming the uke than risking being trapped underwater by a natural force that does. Not. Give. A shit. Play it safe, take a dip in the shallow end, and order an e-bike that spins a sensible speed.

5. Surfing is way too hard.

It doesn’t matter how much effortless style you have or how many barrels you claim, surfing never gets easier.

The ocean is an undulating source of never-ending challenges and variables, and there’s no point in learning from nature or becoming “one” with the sea, whatever that means.

Instead, find the gummies under the couch, learn to rollerblade from YouTube, then make sure to post about it on Instagram.

6. Surfing will break your heart

If Surfline’s Cam Rewind (also affectionately known as the Stoke Murderer) shows us anything, it’s that we all pretty much suck.

When you grab the popcorn to watch that perfect tail slide, you discover you were bumping down the wave like Elaine cutting a rug on Seinfeld.

When you wake up at 3 a.m. for the swell of the century, you find never-ending flatness. And when you finally paddle out, the wind’s on it and Larry Local flashes a shaka and says, “Shoulda been here hours ago, Bra; it was lit.”

Totally worth the traffic on the way home, right Spicoli?

7. Surfing may never truly satisfy you

As surfers, we’re always looking forward to the next point, the next wave. Even after the pain and disgrace of our worst surf ever, we dream of the redemption session in the morning. Surfers are a tribe that rises at dawn full of irrepressible optimism for the journey ahead. Doesn’t our society, our entire world need more hope? Maybe you made a mistake. Maybe you should keep surfing for another week. A few months. One year. A decade.

Fuck it. Surf forever.


Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.