A Friend Who Sucks
Complimenting a friend who sucks is like complimenting an ugly date. Every date has something attractive about their appearance, and every surfer does one thing right. Find that one thing and compliment it with sincerity. For example, "I almost saw your fins on that turn," or "Wow, you're making some late drops."
In the real world there is only one way to receive a compliment, and that's with a "Thank you." In the surf world, because we think we're being modest, or because we're trying to pretend that we're better than we are, or because we're trying to ingratiate the compliment giver, we do the actual compliment a disservice by not simply accepting the gesture. For example, if a mate in the lineup says, "Ho brah, that wave stay nuts, " we often say something like, "It was alright," or "Yeah, lots of good ones out here," or "How was your wave, though? That was sick." What we really want to say is, "You're so right, I really got lucky with that wave, surfed a notch beyond my ability, and I'm so glad you were there to see it." So next time someone reaches out with a compliment, do yourself and its giver a service and just say, "Thank you."