I have to admit that your well reasoned and thoughtful reply was a bit disarming; however it does not alter the fact that you are indeed quite wrong. Let’s begin with the facts at hand. First, for what ever bizarre reason there are a number of individuals who prefer to “surf” riding in a boat. Second, the number of these misfits is growing and may eventually become a force to be reckoned with. Third, the crowds at the best surfing breaks (i.e. Rincon, Malibu, Trestles, Swami’s. etc) are at an all time high. Competition to catch waves at these breaks is extremely intense. Often there are more than 100 surfers in the water and as many as 20 guys all paddling to catch the same wave. Even the second and third tier breaks have as many as 75 guys out. With that many surfers in the water only the strongest and most experienced surfers will get a share of the waves. While unfortunate for some, this is perhaps the only equitable way of parceling out waves. Experience and physical conditioning ought to count for something. If you can predict where the wave will break, paddle harder, and take off deeper, the wave will most likely be yours.
Now along come our boating friends. 95% percent of them can not control their boats. They are in big dangerous awkward vessels with long sharp paddles. They are a danger to themselves and everyone around them. Most have no clue of what surfing etiquette is and are constantly in the way. You know this is true - we have all seen them. Now let’s get to the 5% of the boaters that can actually “surf”. These guys appear to know what they are doing. They are courteous and friendly, almost to the point of walking on eggshells. When the waves are good and the crowds are down, these guys are not a problem, there are enough waves for everyone. Good waves with no crowds are unfortunately a very rare occurrence. All of us know that typically we are going to have to fight and scrap with other surfers for every wave we get.
At present, that small percentage of competent boaters, keep a very low profile. But as their numbers swell, they will want to surf the best surf breaks and want to get their share of waves. Herein is the crux of the forth coming dilemma. In competing for waves, boaters have a supreme mechanical advantage over surfers. They can be up and riding (well not exactly up) long before a surfer has a chance to catch the wave. If the number of boats were to dramatically increase surfers would not stand a chance. A kayak functions essentially as a surfboard with an outboard motor. If you follow the “sport” of surf kayaking to its natural conclusion it will mean the death of surfing as we know it. 15 boaters could dominate a spot like Rincon on a medium size day. As the number of boaters increases the boaters will be competing against other boaters for waves, let alone other surfers.
Fortunately surfers are a very cantankerous bunch and will not allow this “world gone mad” to happen. Sure you guys can paddle out at Mondo’s or San-O and no one will ever hassle you. However I dare you to paddle out at Malibu or Rincon on a big crowded day. You will get shut down. You will be heckled, tormented and shown the door. Surfers are able to see you guys for what you are. I have seen this happen once before and it was not a pretty site. The last big South swell one cocky boater sat outside at Malibu and was constantly getting into the best set waves long before everyone else. After about 4 waves the other surfers realized the inequity of the situation and told him to get lost. He went through the usual speech about “having as much right to be there as anyone else and we had better get used to him” Every one agreed to just drop in on him and shut him out. He threw a tantrum and threatened to wait in the parking lot to fight each and every one of us as we got out of the water. I have not seen him since.
I think this guy was a wake-up call for every surfer out there as to the impending battle between surfers and boaters. On crowded days it is human nature to try to get as many waves as possible. If I had a magic wand that allowed me to get any set wave I wanted I am not sure if I would have the self-restraint not to use it. Boaters have that magic wand. They aren’t afraid to use it, and the situation is only going to get worse.
I will not just rant and rave about the problem without proposing a solution. It is really quite ingenious and simple. I propose that we level the field. Ultimately the source of all future problems comes down the paddle. Eliminate the paddle and you eliminate the great disparity. I propose that a substantial modification in surf kayak design take place. Design a kayak that would not require the use of a paddle. Perhaps it could be a bit like an Olympic bobsled where you paddled by hand into the wave and then hopped up into a seated position in the cockpit and began surfing. I know that the best river boaters often make runs without paddles so that it is possible. It would be a much more natural and fluid ride. You guys will undoubtedly have to get in better shape and become more skilled, but it will be well worth it. Like surfers you will have to take off deeper in the wave which will be much more exciting. Rather than steering with your paddles you will have to steer with your body which will create a much more graceful line. Ultimately after your sport is revolutionized you will thank me.
You know, back in the 60’s and 70’s they had guys doing something kind of similar to what we are taking about. It was called knee-boarding. All those guys are stand up surfers now.
Dumb question, I know, but what is the scsk.org exactly! Although he is right on some points about... vinceshay New
Matt, you are soooo full of hot air, how do you manage to stay in the lineup with us low lifes? <NT> surfdogs New
All Board Surfers are not Elitist...the reason you "dominate" the lineup is because... vinceshay New
PS. Anybody that would call a bodysurfer a speedbump is condescending and arrogant right out front! <NT> hjdww New