“Hell is other people,” Jean-Paul Sartre famously wrote.
But, then again, he also wrote that “the ideal limit of aquatic sports is waterskiing,” so we should probably discount Sartre as a reliable guide.
Perhaps what he really meant to say was “hell is other surfers”. Or, more accurately still, “hell is other surfers who have ditched surfboards in favour of stand-up paddleboards, descended en masse upon line-ups worldwide, and proceeded to take all the waves.” Yes, that sounds more like it.
On that doom-laden note, here’s a handy guide to things that are a bit like surfing, but not really.
A bit like surfing but… you just use your bod, tensed into a rigid wave-riding torpedo. You might also consider attaching palm fronds to your feet as per the Hawaiians of old, or donning a pair of flippers, or even purchasing/carving one of those wanky handplanes.
Why? Because, to quote Mike Stewart, “it’s the best interaction between man and nature that exists.” Also so that you can take a photo of your hand-crafted wooden handplane hanging on the wall next to your cactus plant and bung it on Instagram to let everybody know what a legend you are.
Why not? Because you just saw an article on the Inertia titled ‘3 Reasons Why Hand Planing Is Totally Awesome’. Also because you’re worried about the integrity of your spine.
Where? Shoreys and wedges are best, the Wedge in California being the ultimate combination of the two. It snaps necks like twigs on a regular basis. North Shore lifeguard Mark Cunningham, now into his ’60s, could negotiate the Pipeline line-up with remarkable facility and grace.
Who? Cunningham, Stewart, Barack Obama, hipsters.
Social Acceptability: It’s OK to bodysurf, just maybe not OK to expect anybody else to give a shit.