Let’s be real, the water doesn’t get cold enough to warrant the necessity of a hood south of Santa Barbara. Sure, there are cold mornings, but they are beyond manageable without a hood, and without enduring the traumatizing brain freeze of our hardened brothers and sisters to the north.
So what’s with all the hoods in Southern California’s heavily congested lineups? Guess what, you gnarled NorCal dudes, East Coast snow rippers, and ice-bearded Great Lakes locals: sometimes we want to wear our hoods in the lineup at Swamis, Blacks, Oceanside, Trestles, Newport, or basically anywhere from Rincon to Baja. Sometimes we wear those silly neoprene brain caps for good reasons other than being “cold.” Here are a few of those reasons, explained:
“Don’t talk to me.” Southern California’s lineups, much like its freeways, are heavily congested, with everybody from the Wavestorm-toting @Kook(s)OfTheDay to the ex-pro ready to turn the lineup into social hour. Not sure about you, but when I’m surfing, my goal is to catch waves, not titillating conversation. A hood tightly drawn can shut down even the chattiest Cathy. Voila! A case for wearing a hood in Southern California.
Intimidation. Eyes piercing from beneath a hood’s shadow are menacing, and something about being the guy in the hood makes others in the lineup keep their distance. If you’re running the all-black ninja vibe, chances are you’re going to catch a few more waves, or at least part the crowd while paddling into the next set. Voila! Another case for wearing a hood in Southern California.
Enjoy localized lineups in relative anonymity. Sneaky, sneaky. Going behind enemy lines has never been easier. Voila! Houdini!
Make-shift helmet. When dodging, ducking, dipping, diving, and dodging to avoid taking a loose board, nose, fin, or human to the head, you can take comfort knowing a direct hit won’t leave your bells ringing quite as loudly with a little padding. Voila! Look, Mom, protection!
Burning people. Well, I’d be lying if I said I don’t take advantage of hooded anonymity. In certain situations, you just gotta go, and a third-degree burn is a lot easier to get away with when you’re completely covered in black. No facial recognition, nobody to associate the burning to back on land. Voila! More waves, less repercussions!
Fucked-up ears. Seriously, surfer’s ear is the worst. Have you ever dealt with the aftermath of a windy surf session and horrible ears? Using a hood helps to slow down the bone growth associated with surfer’s ear, so you might avoid having to get your ear cut open and drilled out. Voila! Less money and time spent at the doctor.
Hater-blocker. You can throw your vibes my way, but I ain’t catching ’em if I can’t see ’em. Voila! Anti-bad vibe shield initiated.
It’s cold! Ok, fine: The water is approaching the 50-degree mark. For those born and raised in SoCal, what’s a thin-skinned surfer to do?
[Editor's note: "Corndogging" is a satirical column in which we take serious surf issues, dunk 'em in the ocean, and roll them around in the sand for awhile.]