Surfer/Writer/Burrito Enthusiast

The Inertia

I cringe whenever someone shouts “Party Wave.” This is partially because the person yelling always sounds like an off-brand Ninja Turtle, but mainly due to the shouter and their friends being the only people that think treating a wave like an Uber Pool is a good idea. The rest of the lineup is silently plotting ways to push these cackling jackals into an active volcano.

Dropping in on another surfer is forbidden per common surf law. I don’t have specific data to support this, but I’m fairly certain 92 percent of surf altercations are the result of wave theft – the other eight percent are comprised of two adult men screaming “I was here first” at one another like pouty children. Yet a clown car of surfers swiping one person’s ride is supposed to be celebrated as some bastion of friendship; proof that we can be amicable and divide surf equally with one another. Mi onda es tu onda, the onda fiesta implies.

That’s hogwash. Party waves are bullshit and should be banned. Surfing is a selfish sport and surfers selfish people. The moment you learn how to stand, you become a stoke hoarder, partitioning off as many waves as possible so no one else can get them. We may be forced to share an ocean with one another, but no one wants to share waves – except the party waver and their buddies, apparently hellbent on convincing us that surfing socialism is a good idea.


Party waves are kind of like having a bank robber approach you at the ATM and yell “PARTY WITHDRAWL!” while sticking the barrel of a pistol in your ribs and swiping your entire exotic hermit crab fortune. The robbers might be grinning, friendly, and only wanted to share in the experience of having more than five dollars in their wallets, but they are still crooks. These particular goons are just dressed in black ski masks and hoodies instead of black wetsuits.

Anyone who calls out “party wave” over the age of 17 should be banished to spend the rest of their lives as a sandcastle salesman. The teenage crowd gets a pass here because they are most likely emulating what they think is fun and cool, searching for acceptance in their awkward teenage way. But adult surfers know exactly what they are doing – plundering another surfer’s wave under a chummy guise. These thieves may have good smiles, but their brains are made out of sea algae.

This sport constantly makes me question why I do not surf with a katana, other than I would suddenly be labeled “The Weird Guy With The Katana,” (honestly, probably an upgrade for me). Surfers love to fabricate nonsensical excuses to claim waves they lack the rights to. Yelling “party wave” is right up there with dropping in on someone because you “didn’t think they would make the section.” You were going regardless and are just using a convenient excuse to justify your behavior. The constant bending of rules to take advantage of others is exhausting.

You know what doesn’t bend? A katana. Ernie Reyes Jr and Rob Schneider would slice through a group of ninjas bombarding them via party wave in real life.

Surfboards are not tandem bikes – no one is meant to accompany you cruising down the line. The party wave aims to take one person’s marvelous journey and divide it up into multiple mediocre ones (aside from some notable exceptions). If your aim is to be friendly, generous, and share stoke, then let some sets pass through for others to ride.


However, if your idea of goodwill is to declare party waves, then you should be yanked off of your surfboard and installed as the Surf Ranch’s train conductor, forever producing waves for others while riding none yourself. Choo-choo, asshole.


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