Sex on a plane. Running with the bulls. Cro-nuts. Los Angeles. There's a lot of fuss about things you just have to try in life. And there's a lot of those things in surfing, too. But you also have to use your head; there's gotta be boundaries. And, if you're having trouble finding where those boundaries are, allow us to draw a line in the sand. Here are six things that you just don’t have to do.
1. Date someone who surfs.
It makes sense on paper. Finding a partner who recognizes that same relentless passion of yours. Someone who gets why you don't like wasting the dawn snuggling in bed. Someone who finally understands why dinner at 6 p.m. is a concept as complex as calculus and will remain eternally tentative. But like the Rio Olympics or 'CT events at Margaret River, what's good on paper doesn't always add up in reality. In the real world, sharing your passion with a partner ultimately becomes a compromise. It's wanting to surf Rocky Point but settling for Chun's Reef. It's trading a dream trip to P-Pass for a couple's trip to Costa. It's getting accused of being selfish for not seeing the waves the exact way that they do. Let surfing be your thing. Take up yoga together.
2. Go night-surfing.
I have night-surfed more than a handful of times in life — all during full moons — and let me tell you that the person who says, "The moon was so bright you could see the waves perfectly," is a f–king liar. You cannot see the waves perfectly, nor can you see sets rolling in from the outside. They just pop up in front of you like an ex-girlfriend at the movie theater. It's jarring, to say the least. Bottom-turns and even regular turns become a guessing game. And anyway, you're not the only one with the idea to surf on a full moon, which was kind of the point of surfing after-hours, right?
3. Surf the Banzai Pipeline.
Maybe the issue is more: Should you be surfing Pipeline? Like, do you need to be out there? During the winter season there's a wave on the North Shore every 50 yards that's better than 75 percent of breaks on the east and west coasts. And unless you're a seasoned local, tough local enforcer or a pro surfer, you miiiiight get two waves on a 6- to 8- foot day at Pipe, both of which you may (very probably will) get burned on. Know how many you'd catch at a break on the other side of Waimea Bay or north of Ehukai? More than enough waves to convince yourself not to surf Pipe. That many.
4. Surf a river.
The pics do look…interesting. Especially when the average (real) wave gives you about 10 seconds of her time per go. "You could ride for minutes!" you ponder. But essentially you're going straight, not getting (properly) barreled, nor able to do airs or turn as well as you'd like to. Plus, fresh water is creepy. River waves are just another novelty for humans that don't have access to actual surf. Talkin' to you, Germany.
5. Ride an alaia.
Great news: You don't have to. Like night-surfing, it's just another self-imposed handicap. If you want that same unstable feeling for half the price, grab a boogie board and try standing up on that. Even cheaper, buy a fifth of Jim Beam, take a few pulls and surf a regular board. Same feeling. Ancient Hawaiians didn't ride alaias because they wanted to — they were merely waiting for the new John John Techflex Futures to drop.
6. Surf naked.
Seems liberating, doesn't it? Plus, Gerr did it. Mason does it. Why not me? But what's bold isn't always flattering. Like crying in front of your chick at The Fault in Our Stars. Also a few facts for men about naked surfing: You don't go faster. It's colder. Surf wax and pubic hair don't mix well. Shrinkage.
You don't have to do any of those things. Or any of the other suggestions we made here. The point is, don't aspire to do things just because someone told you to. Or worse yet, "just to say I did it." Anything you've done that required the qualification, "just to say I did it" was a waste of time. That's because it was an action without passion — without desire — and life lists shouldn't catalogue indifference. We should make life lists to check off the shit we've always fantasized about doing, not the stuff we do to arm ourselves with cocktail party ammo. Everyone is different. You are your own person, with your own unique dreams. Maybe those dreams align with ours. Maybe they don't. But whatever those dreams are, write them down on a list, tape it to your bathroom mirror and stare at it every day when you brush your teeth. Then, one by one, get busy living. —Beau Flemister