Yes, they’re back by unpopular demand.
The surfing world is full of stereotypes if you look hard enough. Here Tracks keeps digging for all the known tribes currently operating in the surf universe.
The Talented But Not Talented Enough Teenager
Being more talented more than his peers at the local break, the Talented But Not Talented Enough Teenager sees the boardriders junior trophies stack up, along with local sponsors and an overinflated ego. Stickers on the nose, frontside rotations and peer adulation all point to the possibility of the Holy Grail; a life as professional surfer. However over time as he or she ventures further afield they discover that every other beach has five far more superior versions of himself. By the time they are 19 and driving to work as an apprentice electrician or to University studying Sport and Tourism, they will look forlornly back at those teenage years when for a brief 18 months they were pubescent Gods and scored custom boards at cost.
The Talented But Not Talented Enough Teenager’s Dad
While league, football, cricket or union would have been The Talented But Not Talented Enough Teenager’s Dad’s choice of sport (having moved to the coast only recently himself) for his Talented But Not Talented Enough Teenager, he has more recently jumped on board his progeny’s career with demented, aggressive enthusiasm. Dad has become incredible proficient with the Canon 4D and Final Cut Pro and has every wave ever caught by the teenager logged for digital eternity. The Talented But Not Talented Enough Teenager’s Dad will spend approximately three hours a month double checking the Boardrider’s scoresheets and questioning why three judges (one teenager, one stoned 40-year-old and one disinterested parent) had a three point spread over 4.5 wave in his son’s last repechage.
The Surf Shop Owner
Either having endured a long, if not particularly successful, surf career and with the Real Estate agent license all a bit hard, the surf shop is a logical place to a) hold court and b) flog Chinese made goods at exorbitant prices. They are relatively happy with the venture, well, except for the big surf brands reaming him every which way, the lack of travel, the tight margins, the unreliable staff, shoplifters, the increasing rents, thumb depressions and the hassle and insurance of running a surf school. If it wasn’t for the free wax, the severe debt and the skimming off of a new JS every month, they would gladly never set foot in a fucking surf shop ever again.
“Just going to Indo for two weeks and am a bit short,” says the Borrower. “Reckon I could grab the 6’8” you never use in the shed? Oh, and any chance of a boardbag too?” The problem with the board borrower is that they tend to have very little respect for any equipment, be it borrowed or their own. They also tend to hang on to the items for a week or two longer than they should and rarely return them undamaged. Funnily enough the promised board repair, wetsuit replacement and boardbag zipper fix never seem to happen.
The Amateur Surf Photographer
Just why the Amateur Surf Photographer is on the rocks in the dark at 6.05am in July, taking photos of average surfers in average waves is anyone’s guess. Of course, social media does provided a self broadcasting platform, but after the 50th sunset shot of the local, even Instagram feed starts to complain. Now there was the one shot in the local newspaper (the incredible storm of 2015!) and, the career highlight, a swellnet Wave of The Day image and even a framed photo in the local gallery (unsold). Still the Amateur Surf Photographer is ready to double-down and upgrade the equipment (he’s been hiding his online Red camera searches from the missus) and dreams of one day turning his useless, expensive, time consuming and anti social hobby into something more substantial. This, of course, will never happen.
The Footy Head
Weighing in at 110 plus kilos and with a neck like a boiled Christmas ham, the footy head isn’t a natural in the ocean environment. This however doesn’t mean he leaves the confidence of his psychical superiority on the footy field. No, that comes intact, along with his three-inch mini-mal, skintight rash vest and ferociously inefficient paddling style. Nothing infuriates him more than when a weed smoking kid half his size can paddle past him six times in a row and catch any wave he wants. Just how the fuck he can be so good at sport and so bad at surfing is something that still surprises and angers the Footy Head each and every surf. A drop-in is his only way to redress this cruel ability imbalance, the cruel act providing the only skerrick of surf esteem he can take back to the dressing room.