5 tips for dealing with summer crowds
As chaotic and crowded as your local ends up this summer, there’s a few valuable measures worth considering to ensure you’re catching waves.
Rob Machado and Sterling Spencer assume summer time shred strategies in California.
With summer officially in season and school a week or two away from being out, prepare for line-ups across Europe to be busier than ever as everyone heads to beach frothing to get their shred on again after the longest extended flat spell ever.
But as chaotic and busy as your local ends up being, remember there’s a few valuable tips worth bearing in mind to ensure you’re catching waves.
1. Ride a thicker board
This isn’t necessarily to say a longboard (although not riding a log at least a couple times a year is just doing yourself an injustice), but any shape with a bit more volume will give you that extra advantage over others in the line-up provided it’s still suited to the day’s conditions.
2. Don’t skip your surf check
Frothing harder than ever to finally surf again, don’t be tempted to just jump out where everyone else is going without looking at it properly. Take a good 10 mins to find out how regular the sets are, figure out the general surfing level in the water and come up with some kind of heat strategy.
If there’s a tight pack of locals dominating the sets, are there perhaps smaller inside ones that keep coming through unridden? At this busy time of year when surf etiquette has a strong tendency to fly out the window, it’s generally better to favour a strategy where you’re catching lots of waves rather than waiting ages for the bigger ones and then being dropped in on by 100 undiscerning kooks.
From longboard to fish and beyond, Biarritz ripper Edouard Delpero is known to ride all manner of craft to capitalise on changing conditions.
3. ‘Secret spots’ are sometimes the most crowded
This is a bit of a weird one but sometimes the most out of the way surf spots are the most crowded, while better known main breaks can remain relatively empty.
In general, this phenomenon is limited to the very busiest days of the summer when everyone decides to escape to that well known ‘secret spot’. But basically at this time of year never just assume that out of the way surf spots will be less crowded than the rest. It’s not always the case.
4. Favour shorter but more numerous surfs
For most people, it’s true to say the longer you stay in the water the fewer and fewer waves you catch as your energy levels drop and conditions change with the tide. More often that not, you’d do much better to surf shorter sessions.
So as soon as you feel yourself catching fewer waves, return to the beach, rest up, hydrate, reassess lineup/conditions, wait for another window and go again!
5. Share waves with friends
Not enough waves to go round for everyone? Why not try sharing waves with friends! Yep, if party waves were good enough for the ancient Hawaiians then they’re probably good enough for you too.