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How to Look Like a Kook

There are people who love surfing just for love of the ocean and the thrill of riding waves, but there are others who love surfing for external, superficial reasons. They need an identity, so they want to identify themselves as surfers: Spending a lot of money on expensive surf clothes, shoes, sunglasses and accoutrement. Doing weird things to their hair, defying parents by getting tattoos, and changing the way they speak.

These kinds of people are known as “kooks” in the surfing world, and if you want to self-identify as that, this is how to do it.

Strap your surfboard to the roof of your car, wax up.

Strap your surfboard leash to your leg in the parking lot or in your hotel room, and trip over the thing for a couple of hundred yards until you get to the water—which is where you should put your surfboard leash on (at the water’s edge, or while floating in the water).

Wear your surf trunks outside of your wetsuit.

Try to learn to surf on a board that is too small. You have to learn to walk before you learn to fly, so don’t try to learn on that sexy, $1000 shortboard that is mean for someone with years of experience. Get a big board you can paddle, that will catch waves. Get your fundamentals down on a learner board, and then evolve.

Paddle too far back in your board, so the nose of your board is at a 45 degree angle, and you are sinking the tail and not making any forward progress.

Too much visible sunscreen. Rub that stuff in! It does you more good that way, too.

Wear anything made by Hollister—they are NOT a surf company. They are a branding company and an intrusion on the real roots surf companies.

Ride a cheap surfboard from CostCo, Wal-Mart, or Sam’s Club. Yes, they are a good deal, but where is your sense of style!?!

Spend a lot of money and time trying to look like a surfer: Extravagant ink, ostentatious clothing, expensive sunglasses, look at me hairstyles, watches, necklaces jewelry or other accoutrement that all shout: I’M A SURFER! Look at Kelly Slater; the greatest surfer of all time. Tattoos? Nope. Funny hairdo? He ain’t got no hair! Other silly accoutrement? None. Kelly is just Kelly. You should just be you. Don’t be a poser. Just go surfing.

Purposely talk like an “surfer.” Surfers do have their own patois/pidgin but surfer talk when done best comes from a sincere love of the sport. If you use the word “dude” every other word and sea-salt and pepper your speech with surf phrases like “stoked,” “totally tubular,” “rad!” and “gnar gnar” you will not sound like a surfer, you will sound like an idiot, dude.

Look too new. Pull up to the beach in a brand-new, spotless car, and pull a brand-new, spotless surfboards out of a brand-new spotless board bag and then put on brand-new, spotless surf trunks or a wetsuit, parade down the beach in all your new hotness and paddle out. Surf gear should be use and abused. So should the surfer vehicle—for the most part.

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