Nicotine is the working ingredient in cigs, with a powerful addiction considered stronger than that of heroin or cocaine. It might have been Mrs McClusky from Grange Hill who said “The best way to give up smoking is never to start." Each year across the world, cigs kill more people than alcohol, all illegal drugs, all wars, murder and Aids/HIV put together, which is fairly gnar-gnar, no?
Alcohol is a rather popular drug among inhabitants of Earth, known for inducing chat, dance, nausea, fist fights and sex, not necessarily (but possibly) in that order. Physicists claim that in moderation, alcohol can extend life expectancy, whilst in immoderation, severely shorten it. All sorts of bad health effects result from booze, which kills about 2.5 million people globally per year. It can also cause you to not to be able to get a stiffy, when you'd much rather have one.
Poppers (Amyl Nitrate)
Legal in UK as long as not sold for human consumption (sold in sex shops as a ‘deodorizer’). Poppers, when sniffed, give a sudden, short lived head rush whilst simultaneously loosening the bum muscles, and thus are popular among some members of the homosexual community. Dangers come in form of going blind, heart problems, as well being poisonous if drunk. Neither loose anal sphincters, nor blindness nor heart palpitations have ever been linked to good surfing, although at the same time, no scientific evidence exists either that proves a surfer fell on take-off due to his bumhole being too open.
"No scientific evidence exists either that proves a surfer fell on take-off due to his bumhole being too open"
Legend has it that the Chinese Emperor Shennong accidentally invented tea in China around 3000BC, whilst coffee’s stimulating powers are believed to have been discovered when an Ethiopian goat herder, Kaldi discovered his goats became less drowsy after eating coffee berries. Today, caffeine is also found in chocolate and Red Bull, which makes Formula 1 cars go faster and helps top surfers make ends meet. Few studies have been undertaken to show caffeine’s influence on surfing performance, but I can absolutely guarantee that I surf better after 2-3 cups of morning coffee, without which, I may well miss the dawnie altogether. Side effects include the dreaded shakes, incontinence, insomnia and panic attacks.
Kava (or Awa in Hawaii) is a mildly sedative, lip numbing drink made from the root of the kava plant. Kind of an anti-energy drink, more of an after surf drop than an amp-up. Effects can be to make the drinker calm, quietly talkative, and then sleepy. High doses can cause liver damage and rashes/skin irritations if sustained. In 2008, EU lifted its kava ban.
Used to treat erectile dysfunction (floppy cock). Use has increased among young people due to belief that Viagra improves libido, sexual performance and permanently increases schlong size (it doesn’t). Numerous herbal alternatives also exist, once such being called ‘Horniest Goat Weed’ which a staff member once brought back from Barbados, pinned above his desk in the SE office but had stolen by a pro surfer. Can cause heart problems, blurred vision and headaches.
Anti-inflammatory pain killer drugs are popular with surfers and sportspeople alike. Can be used to treat fever, pain, swelling and joint pain like arthritis. If you’ve got a sore knee from landing too many airs, you might reach for this drug. Side effects can include nausea, and there have been links to erectile dysfunction. (Again!)
A favourite of the travelling surfer when headed to coral reefbreaks, like Indo, and the French, who consume more per capita than anyone else in the world. Side effects can include tendon damage, diarrhoea and thrush. Antibiotics are only useful against bacterial infections, not viruses, i.e. useless for a cold or flu. If taking them, it is recommended to eat yoghurt. There is also a popular myth about booze and antibiotics, that somehow the booze cancels out the medicine. It's more of a case of it not being a great idea to get pissed if you’re supposed to be ill, genius.