Wave theft is a real thing, a serious crime. People are victimized every day, even in your own friendly line up. It could even happen to you, and if you’re an avid surfer, it probably has happened multiple times. In the event of dropping in it is most common to hear from those who have been robbed of their juicy glory by the imbecile who did not have the courtesy to practice surf etiquette. However, in rare occasions, you will hear from the snake himself. Or in this case, herself. Yes, it’s true, I am that imbecile and I'm coming clean. Guilty as charged for indulging in the sinful pleasure of wave theft. This is an open letter of confession to my surf community. Allow me to state my case:
It was a beautiful Southern California morning. My girlfriends and I awoke early for a dawn patrol surf and as we pulled up to our favorite spot, our sleepy eyes were met with glossy peaks curling onto the shore. Luckily, we were already suited so we grabbed our boards, skipped down the beach and plunged into the water! We were only an hour into our surf session, having the time of our life when I saw it, a wave that I HAD to have, and then it happened!
Like an injection of endorphins, I began to paddle as fast as I could! It was like this wave was made for me- my soul mate drawing me in and putting me into a trance! As the momentum of the wave began to lift me into position, I caught a glimpse of another surfer coming down the line. ‘NO! This can’t be happening’! I was mortified, but the realization of his persistent approach did not register with the action to pull back. I know the rules of the waves and surf etiquette. But my morals were disarmed by an alluring force. Instead, I gave into temptation and pushed forward. As I kept paddling I dropped in just in time for homeboy to reach my section! He shrieked and pulled back, averting a collision! That could have been a result of one seriously nasty injury or a really romantic Romeo and Juliet surfer love story- we will never know. What I do know is that I felt like an idiot for attempting something so dangerous and not to mention rude.
I admit I let the emotions of that moment overwhelm my cognitive decision making. It can be difficult to make an honest call in a split second. For myself personally, I can get pretty competitive and driven by pride when I feel like I have to fight for waves. Sometimes, there is pressure to be more aggressive in order to match the nature of hard core surfing by many of the guys at my line-up. I’m sure many surfers can attest to that. Nevertheless, there is no excuse for indecent behavior and rude manners. Playing by the rules is a non-negotiable if you want to gain respect from other surfers. I definitely learned my lesson and have been doing my best to navigate the waves with awareness. I think we all could be a little more generous, less big-headed. More encouraging of each other and less critical. I think we all could use a dose of humility, especially me. Let’s create equal opportunity and have respect for all, especially in a mixed gender crowd.
So there you have it. Confessions of a modern day wave thief. I submit my humble apology. It won’t happen again. And Romeo, I want you to know, I’m really sorry for stealing your wave.