Summer’s over. Time to get serious and be a man.

by Chas Smith. Pic: Pete Fleming

Surfing in the summer sure is as pleasurable as sex and as easy as drinking coffee in the morning. The air is warm. The water is warm. Girls line the beach wearing nothing or next to nothing. Skin gets tanned, hair blonde, pectorals major form and shoulders define and the girls lining the beach swoon which leads to sex. Pleasurable sex.
But then the earth turns away from the sun. The skies, once blue and pleasant turn grey and angry. It becomes impossible to touch the ocean water without being shrouded in black neoprene. Surfing becomes a mission. No longer a simple reduction. Surfing in the winter is as difficult as drinking whisky for lunch. As uncomfortable as hugging someone else’s grandma.
Well, good! Surfing is a man’s game. It is for toughs with strong backbones and strong jaw lines. And if the toughs don’t have strong jaw lines they are well aware of their shortcomings, in this particular genetic area, and make up for them by being verbally abusive. Without winter, surfing would be the same as ballet. With winter, surfing becomes a dangerous adventure for derelicts and no goods. Surfing in the winter creates masculine dialogue between a man and his woman.
“Where are you going, love?”
“To the beach, bitch.”
“But it is 5 degrees and snowing.”
“Do I look like I care?”
And when he says, “Do I look like I care?” he should have three days worth of beard on his face and a steak knife in his hand.
Surfing in the winter necessitates sacrifice and every man, masculine man, should have a steady streak of sacrifice in his overall deal. The man who refuses to sacrifice gets fat and listens to Lady Gaga and thinks that hybrid cars are amazing. But surfing in the winter means cold and ugly waves. It means headaches and pain. It means standing on the beach and feeling freezing sand between toes and dreading the upcoming session. An existential dread. The world ain’t right.
Surfing in the winter is dark. Dangerous. Like Colin Farrell.
But there are rules. There are always rules. The man who fetishises winter surfing is the same man who fetishises bondage. He is a closeted homosexual. And so, he should never speak about his winter surf sessions and look to get approval or, “you so crazy” comments from chubs around a table. He should never have overly planned accoutrements in his car waiting for him to finish his winter surf like a thermos full of warm water. He should not meticulously care for his five millimeter wetsuit. He should not scoff at others who surf in warmer winter climates than his own. Like Australians.
He should, on the other hand, march toward the winter sea with a set jaw, even if it is not strong, and a steady gate. He should surf until his legs are too numb to interact with his torso. He should drive back to his home with the heater on full and feel euphoric. He should know, in his heart, that his winter surfs are what make him a surfer and not a beachcomber who happens to surf.
And, also, when he comes into his home and his woman is sitting there, he can have more masculine dialogue.
“You look so cold, love. Are you?”
Surfing is not the same as ballet or at least it is not the same during the winter when snow falls and winds lash. Derelicts and no goods. The summer is over. The beach is empty and good riddance fair weather friends! Good riddance ballerinas! Hello men of substance and three days worth of beard.

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