More advanced surf anthropology
In our first Surf Anthropology lesson we delved deep into the human surf strata and looked at The Hipster, the Anti-Hipster, the Competitor and the Local. Typically you, the Tracks reader, had plenty to add. Bin and Out asked to consider the 4WD Weekend Warrior (see below), the Better Than A Guy Chick Surfer and, my favourite, the 50 Plus Old Fart Dream Weaver. Miki Dora reminded us not to forget the Industry Suck Boy, the Local Water Bully, the Pro Level Untouchable, the One Stance Longboarder, the Roxy Girl Wave Misser and the Foam Board Buoy Club, whatever that is. Matt Aniski came up with the 80s-90s Diehard and seeing as it was written in fashion that is far superior to anything that I could have come up with, we’ll kick off with his contribution. Matt, cheers mate, the cheque is in the mail.
The 80s-90s Diehard
The guy perpetually lives somewhere between 1985 and 1997. He still has the same board, spring suit, haircut and crusty, shitty shorts from the day, minute or mere second of the moment when he peaked. He is never really a dick to anyone, mainly because his brain is too fried. More often than not this dude actually surfs better than everyone else out. "Day off of banging nails, ya gotta get it in!" He’ll scream as he paddles back to the peak paddling a decrepit, neon T&C with the original nose guard. Tribal armband tat, skullet, flavour saver. Brain fried, dead inside. He also sports a big grin and fill the lineup with benign obvious comments to and anyone and everyone that he paddles past, "Hey the suns out isn't it!?" Yes, yes, it is my friend.
The Big Wave Guy
The big-wave guy (or girl), strangely enough, likes big waves. As a child they were the kids that climbed the highest, fell the hardest and generally showed an abnormal disregard for their own health and safety. Upon finding surfing, they quickly discovered a relatively healthy outlet for their over worked adrenalin valve. They also discovered that having relatively little talent for the sport, for once, was no hindrance once the waves started getting large enough to sort the men from the boys (or the women from the girls). The big wave guy is often not seen for months at a time, only to surface zombie-like once the waves get over six foot. Then he will dust off one of his oversized surfboards that lie stacked in his garage and emerge with a steely eye and crazed, masochistic grin. In his element, he makes no bones about exercising his slightly unhinged superiority, taking his beatings and his giant waves with a calm, freaky assurance.
The Landlocked Surfer
Despite often having a six hour round trip to get to any type of breaking wave, perhaps no other tribe shows the level of enthusiasm for surfing like the Landlocked surfer. This tribe tend to fit into two camps. Their members were either forced inland by work or a relationship or they have discovered the sport late in life. As such they desperately try to fill the geographical distance and surfing void by soaking up as much as of the surfing culture in any way possible. They spend around 45 full days a year watching the surfing competition webcasts and slightly less online shopping for all the latest gear. However most of their dedication and time is spent on researching their one-week surfing holiday each year, a process that ends up as an equation of six hours internet research per actual wave caught on the holiday. They keep threatening to leave the wife/job/husband/home and move to the coast. Sadly, they never do.
The Indo Veteran
Indonesia is home to more perfect waves than any other destination on the planet. As such it is an obvious drawcard to any surfer that wants to ride fantastic waves in boardshorts. Many surfers visit, many more go back a few times, but some get addicted. The odd holiday turns into an annual trip, which gets longer and longer each year. For around two months the Indo veteran will put all such trivial matters like partners, children, ill parents, pets and jobs and hunker down in the warm tropical climes of the archipelago. They come back from the sojourn with a flaky tan, advanced freckles and the inability to bring themselves to surf any type of wave that doesn’t exist in Indonesia. They would rather wear underpants made of killer bees than a wetsuit and can often be heard comparing the price of a sausage roll to that of a three course meal overlooking a perfect left in Indonesia (that comes with a free massage). Their bintang stubbie holder collection is so large, they often need have to build a new shed to house them.
You can usually tell a member of the surf yuppie tribe. The thousand pound roof racks attached to the 4WD Audi V8 stacked with an eight board quiver of 10 foot mals in mint condition and the three never been ridden SUP’s is a bit of a giveaway. You might just see lead weighted tow board wedged in the middle, a perfect accompaniment to the 4-stroke jetski that is getting towed behind. The Yuppie tribe’s holidays of choice are boat trips in the Mentawais or Maldives, although they may splash some cash on a Kandui Villa or Hawaiian Guesthouse depending on this year’s bonus. Wet wetsuits are for poor people and their houses are adorned with a variety of surfboards, mostly bought at auction and destined to never touch the salty ocean ever again.