Cool Learners Look Stupid
And stupid learners look cool.
The most important thing is fun. So have fun. And let go of how you think people are looking at you.
Prioritise cool at your peril
Don’t get caught up in “looking cool”.
You might find yourself drawn to a board or wetsuit by the way it looks. But, when you’re in the water fashion doesn’t matter one bit. Maybe you’ve seen a thinner suit that looks better. Maybe you’re into a shorter board because of the tint. But when you’re out in the line-up and the cold starts creeping in, or you struggle to miss waves.
Speak like a human being
When you find yourself face-to-face with an experienced surfer, don’t start scratching around for Point Break references.
Take board rental, for example. If you’re in a surf hire shop the best thing you can do is talk honestly.
If you lie or try to swagger out of the shop with equipment beyond your ability, two things can happen:
1. The hire team will work out that you’re lying: you’ll be given the most basic equipment, just for your own safety.
2. The hire team won’t work out that you’re lying: you’ll walk out with equipment suited to your lie. Which means you’ll progress more slowly or worse, end up in danger.
Tell the truth about your experience and what you’d like to achieve. You’ll end up with suitable gear (and probably some friendly advice too), which means faster progression, which means more time surfing waves and less time drinking sea water.
Cool is what you make it
The modern version of surfing is really prescriptive thanks to the media, but you don’t have to bleach your hair blonde or replace every other word with “dude”.
I’ll say it again. Don’t get caught up in “looking cool”.
Ask questions, be honest and stay away from shortboards until you’re ready.