Perhaps you’ve stood out on the pier one night and watched the waves roll in under a full moon. All of a sudden a shadowy figure zipped across your line of sight before getting lost in the barrel. You rubbed your eyes and wondered if you’re starting to see things again, before mentally reminding yourself to cut back on the coffee.
Don’t worry, though—odds are you weren’t hallucinating. You just saw one of the many adherents to the cult of night surfing. More than just an awesome idea for a superhero name, the Night Surfer is a rare breed: they often work alone under the cover of night, they avoid crowds and light, they enjoy the thrill of riding the face of a surging black wave, watching the dark infinite depths of the ocean churn and bubble as the moonlight plays on the surface.
So you’ve found yourself wanting to ride among them, wanting to know what strange pleasures they have found in the still night hours. Fret not, dear reader. You’ve come to the right place. This is the beginner’s guide to night surfing.
Step 1: Location, Location, Location
Night surfing isn’t for the faint of heart; it’s difficult to see how waves are breaking or any potential obstacles that might be in your way. This adds an extra element of danger and uncertainty to the whole thing, so it’s best to start in some place you’re pretty familiar with. On a similar note, while for many the whole point of night surfing is to avoid the crowds, it might be best to start by surfing a well trafficked area, like a pier. Not only will this provide you with a bit of light to help get you grow accustomed to how weird it is to be surrounded by the utter blackness of the ocean, but it is also probably a bit safer if there are people around to hear your cries of help in the event that something goes wrong, which brings me to my next point.
Step 2: Surf With a Friend
Again, while the nice things about night surfing is some alone time, you probably want to start with a friend. Even if it’s not someone that’s surfing themselves, having someone on the beach is like a vote of confidence. Plus, when they don’t seen you in a few hours, they’ll know which way to send the search boats.
Step 3: Lighting
Wait, isn’t the whole point to be in the dark? Sure, but depending on your goals, light sources can be a pretty killer addition to a night surf. These can range from anything to the headlights on your car to more professional options like stadium lights. These are helpful because you can actually see the wave you’re surfing, but can also lead to some pretty cool photo ops if that you’re jam.
Step 4: Gear
For the most part, if you already surf, you probably have everything you need. That said, if you’ve found that you’ve fallen in love with night surfing, there are a couple of new pieces of gear that you might want to add to your collection specifically for the purpose. I’m talking, of course, about LED boards and wetsuits. Not only will this make you look like something straight out of Tron, but it’s also a huge boost in the safety department.
Step 5: Weather
The best nights for surfing are clear ones around a full moon. The moon will give you plenty of light to surf by and it’s hard enough to calculate waves in the dark, so you won’t have to worry about the added chop from stormy conditions. That being said, nothing quite beats sitting out on your board under a new moon, only to look up and see all those stars.
So there you have it, you creatures of the night. You’re all go ready to hit the dark waves. What are you waiting for? The ocean beckons.