coffee convo Hwilsin writing


Surfers are negative. Let me give you an example. Your buddy sends you a text around noon, “Just got out of the water, it’s pumping. Got a few solid barrels.” What’s your immediate reaction? Do you believe them? 

You may be like me, in that you are much quicker to take someone’s word when they tell you “it’s shit”. That’s that negative mindset. Another example – those guys that love to say “should have been here yesterday.”

Every surf community in the continental US will have those characters who sit in the parking lot all day long, sipping coffee and talking shit. They used to be surfers. Or at least they talk like they did. 

And how often do you paddle out to the lineup to the ceremonious complaints about the waves, conditions, the board, someone’s lackluster performance, the crowd, the WSL, the current, that guy catching all the set lefts, the water temp, the wind, the rip, the holey wetsuit, the damn clouds; anything a surfer can bitch about, they will.

Why? Why are surfers so negative? 

I’ve got an opinion. 

It’s because we are dealing with a finite resource. Waves.

I’ll explain.

Surfers are in constant pursuit of waves, and waves are fleeting. The act of riding a wave is enough to make a person go fucking nuts. Just watch a kid stand up on their first wave ever and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.

People fight over waves. They quit their jobs, get divorced, relocate their families; they do just about anything to ride waves.

Let’s play a game. What if I promised that you will catch the best wave of your surfing career tomorrow. The only hitch is that you’ve got a laundry list of tasks lined up already. How far would you be willing to go for the prospect of that one wave? Calling out of work? Sending your kid on the bus rather than dropping them off at school? Skipping your lunch date with the wife? 

How far do you reckon you would drive? Would you hike 3 miles to get to the beach for that session? Remember, I promised. Would you get into a wet, sandy wetsuit before that paddle out? Would you ride a loaner board? Would you trunk it if the water was 65 or less? I mean, you are catching the wave of your surfing career.

So, here it comes – the wave of your life. After all the sacrifice; the years of dedication; the early mornings, and money spent, and relationships ruined, and sunburns, and missed practices, and swimmers ear – it’s time. 

Here’s where the negativity creeps in.

This is MY wave. Sorry, YOUR wave. Fuck any, and everything else. Every other soul in the lineup, please exit the premises IMMEDIATELY. This thing is perfect. Whatever it is you dream up as the best wave of your life – big barrel & getting spit out, big air section, whatever – this is it.

Wait, why is that kid paddling across your face and getting in the line? Fuck. Get out of the way dammit.

Everyone’s looking at you. But, good. Nobody’s going to take off and burn you. Time to shine, baby.

One more paddle.

Here we go.

You make the drop clean and smooth. 

Coming off the bottom, your back foot slips off the board. 

Down you go. Everyone watches. A grom is getting up on the shoulder, as the lip is coming down on your head.

Best wave you’ll ever catch in your surfing career. Gone. Nobody ever said anything about how you surf.

Wait, why is it that surfers are negative?



Drew Stanfield

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *