Perils Of A Surf Trip

By Jay Vilarrubi-Smith

“Did anyone bring any bloody wax?!”

 Be it a quick trip up the coast, or an enforced commute to the sea-side, most of us have taken part in some form of surf trip.

What should be an exciting adventure with your friends, can often end up being more hassle than it’s worth. Here’s a few issues which you might encounter next time you decide to take the plunge.

The Planning

We all do it. You get together with your mates at the pub and you’re mad keen on the plans being thrown about: “I’d definitely be up for a trip to the south-coast next weekend.”

As the next weekend approaches, the idea of staying in and watching Saturday Kitchen Live and having a fry-up starts to become more appealing than a trip to a baltic Praa Sands.

And this is the major hurdle you have to overcome in order to pull off a successful surf trip. Getting everyone to agree to a plan and sticking to it. It only takes one or two people to pull out and your cool adventure has turned into a creepy romantic drive for two.


The Chase

You’ve managed to get your un-reliable mates together and the trip is on. Next step is deciding where to go.

Everyone’s been watching the forecast and you all quite fancy yourselves as experts as to which swell is best for which beach. Problem is once the car sets off, there’s no turning back.

If you live near somewhere which already has waves, you’re taking a risk by deciding to try and find somewhere better. The whole day could end in tears.

Inevitably the chosen location has probably been championed by one or two of the crew, so it’s quite conceivable that they’ve convinced you on a location, only for the car to pull up in front of 1ft slop and entire friendships are ruined.

More likely is that you spend three hours driving around the coast in a slow loop which brings you back round to where you started. Now you’re just surfing your usual spot.


The Transport

There will be a nominated driver for surf trips; who is either the only one with a vehicle or the one who likes to be in control. This nominated driver usually has a small car but likes to re-assure everyone that: “It’s alright, I can shove all the boards on the roof.”

Two hours later and the five boards are strapped tight to the roof with a 65% chance that they’ll all end up at the destination, and 50% chance that none of them are damaged.

Why not just buy a van Dave?

Then there’s the situation involving money. Do we offer petrol money? Are they expecting me to pay petrol money? How on earth do we deal with the car park money? Awkward.


The Logistics

One major challenge can be ensuring everything is packed. It would seem obvious that as long as everyone makes sure they’ve got all they need then it will be fine. But invariably someone has forgotten their towel and needs to borrow one, and why do we always forget the wax?

You would think that between five surfers, there must be one block of wax. Instead we’re all sharing a lump of what used to be wax that has been sitting in the boot since 1998.


The Surf

It’s what you’ve gone through all this effort for so it best be worth it. You’ve driven for two hours and now you have to make sure you enjoy your surf, otherwise you’re in for a grumpy evening.

Not only do you have to fight your friends for waves, you’ve also rocked up to someone else’s line-up and so will probably be the most hated guys on the beach.

There’s also the issue of how long to surf for. There’s nothing worse than being ready to get out but having to wait for everyone else.

It may be the cold, it may be that you’ve finally landed a pretty nice turn and want to end on a high, it may be that you’re so tired you can’t paddle anymore; but as long as your mates stay in, you’ve got to stay in too. Silly surf trip.


The Drive Home   

If you’re lucky, all’s gone to plan so far and you can spend the car journey home telling everyone about that phantom 5ft stand-up barrel you swear you caught. However, if you’ve not quite had the fun you were hoping for, there’s little worse than the drive home.

You’re probably hungry, cold and smell a bit like urine but you have to drive that two hours home, whilst probably receiving hilarious ‘banter’ from your mates. It might be dark by now and you feel a bit sleepy but you can’t nod off, who knows what might happen to you. Get me home.


Of course this scenario plays out the worst things that can happen, and often our fondest memories are from road-trips we’ve been on. But it still doesn’t stop some of them from being absolute disasters.