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"You will need to fashion tools for shaping your board...if you have never made stone tools before you may be surprised at how difficult it is...however, if a caveman could do it, so can you...."

so you wanna be a surfer
primer by troy dockins


So you wanna be a surfer...

Lessons are stupid...here's what you do...

It's May...so it's warming up, that's good...

Sell everything...leave your wife, abandon the kids...they'll be fine, kids are adaptable and your wife will hook up with someone...

Go find an isolated cove...ideally somewhere near a good sized river mouth...you'll need to go to the Washington Coast or even better BC or Alaska...Oregon is too developed... bring a jacket...

Either find a nice little cave or build a driftwood structure...or a split level type deal, whatever works...I advise set up to be well above the high tide line or...you know what!

Anyway, once you’re settled in...start looking for a suitable driftwood log from which to hand fashion your logger board...a huge plank is acceptable, but an actual huge ass log is harder and, therefore, better...

You may have to weather a few spring storms before you find the right piece of wood...be patient...pray for heavy rains and high winds...also kill any sea lions or other wildlife you come across...do not admire their majestic beauty...kill them and dry their meat...you will also want to fashion a sea lion wetsuit...this is risky as it will attract sharks, but that's better than freezing your gonads off...

Once you have selected your timber you will need to transport it beyond high tide...this will be hard as it probably will weigh alot...a system of levers and pulleys fashioned from seal gut may help...if you aren't handy, you are screwed...if you get stuck, think "What would McGyver do?"...that usually works...

You will need to fashion tools for shaping your board...if you have never made stone tools before you may be surprised at how difficult it is...however, if a caveman could do it, so can you...anyway it will require much chipping and probably a smashed digit or two...but once you have that cutting edge you are practically home free...

Sidebar: If you happen to produce an axe head...you could lash it to a stout piece of wood and make a hatchet...cut that log down a bit and it may be easier to move...if you weren't reading ahead and have already moved the log I apologize for not mentioning it earlier ...again, animal parts are good for rope and stuff...if some flotsam floats in, like nylon rope or something? I suppose you could use it but it kinda affects the purity and achievement of becoming a surfer...y'know?

Anyway, once you have the log in place start chipping away...don't worry about the shape too much right now...you have weeks, probably months, of shaping ahead of you... remember, kill all animals...curious chipmunks, annoying seagull, unsuspecting dogs and their owners...don't eat the owners, that's cannibalism...but human skulls do make nice mugs...

Depending on how quickly you work, you could potentially have a roughed out shape sometime in the fall...you'll want to fashion a hand plane at this point, and in true surfer fashion, I can't in good conscience tell you how to do that...you'll need to figure it out on your own...remember to kill animals...you can eat seabirds and other sea life that washes up too...you'll get used to the smell...

Sidebar: You can use fire to speed your wood removal...char the log and remove the burnt material as you go...be careful not to burn too much away...this will also serve to temper, dry and harden your "stick"...get it? Stick, as in log? Anyway, hopefully you read ahead and got this tip before you stupidly chipped all the wood away by hand...

Once you have your planer you are ready for final shaping...go for volume and function over style...you don't need a swallow tail or channels or a kick tail...you just want a straight plank...a hull...that will float and you can paddle...although symmetry and style do count for something...you want people to know you're a surfer, right?

Sidebar: Rough stones work pretty good as grinder/sandpaper because you'll want the wood to be as smooth as possible...don't get me wrong you'll probably get some hellacious slivers...but, that's part of the price you pay...you knew the risks...

Once your board is finished it'll still probably be so frickin' heavy you can't even move it...although you'll probably be pretty burly by now from all of the hard work...although, if you haven't been taking regular swims and running underwater with heavy stones for a few months now, you might want to start...practice holding your breath as you walk around until you pass out...that's good practice...

Seal your board by rubbing it with fat from all the animals you caught...you'll probably need to rub it alot...probably to the point where you skin is raw and you have open wounds...surfing is not for the weak of heart...you'll get calluses eventually...

Well, if you can get your board into the water that is a big plus...however, it is winter now and the surf is likely to be pretty big...you need to practice paddling...you probably won't make it out until spring or if you have an unusually small day...but this is an excellent opportunity for conditioning...be careful, getting hit with a board that weighs several hundred pounds in the surf is no picnic...but don't be a kook, hang on to your board at all times...ditching your plank is unacceptable...take your lumps, be a man...a surfer man...

Sidebar: You should have been working on your sealskin wetsuit this whole time...if you haven't, you have really blown it...I almost would recommend bagging it and heading back to society...you've certainly lost my respect...if you have been working on it, kudos to you!

Once you are able to get your board outside the surf line I suggest several long distance conditioning paddles...if there are any offshore islands I recommend paddling out to them...any animals living there are unfamiliar with surfers and you can kill them all...eat lunch there...pile as much as you can onto the board and return to the beach...if, by the offhand chance, you catch a wave...do not stand up...you are not ready...

By summer the waves will have gotten a bit smaller and you are ready to work on 'surfing' your board...paddle out...turn your board and see if you can catch a wave...I would belly ride, knee ride and then attempt to stand...in that order...Pretty much just ride the whitewater straight in...I know it's the mark of a rank beginner...but you're not a surfer yet, anyway...

Once you can catch waves and have figured out how stand up and avoid losing your board...because, remember...under no circumstances is it acceptable for you to lose your board except in the heaviest of circumstances...and no kook cord either...there's a reason I haven't mentioned making one...a) your leg would be dislocated or ripped from your body b) they're gay...

So anyway, your almost there...I forgot...there's also knee paddling, if you didn't figure this out and have been paddling on your belly this whole time...I am laughing at you!...sorry, but I am...

There are many subtleties that you will develop as you progress over the next few years in your cove...you can drag a foot and turn your board...to stay in the 'curl'...you can 'walk the nose'...or perform the 'drop knee turn'...you may even score a 'tube ride'...and since you are learning in complete isolation...you may develop tricks unknown to even ancient
Polynesia...pretty cool, huh?

In closing, a few tips...it is alright to be stoked, just don't overdo it...don't hoot on every wave, only the ones that warrant it...don't surf with your legs all spread out, or with your butt sticking out...don't wave your arms for balance, that just looks kooky...you've mastered the basic, now it's time to work on your style...it should be smooth, soulful and
unforced...

Finally, the plank works best on a select type of wave...the slow roller...you'll probably want to work on a variety of boards...a short board, a gun, maybe even a swallowtail or a twin keeled fish!...you've got alot of work ahead of you...start shaping and you're a surfer now...welcome

Just stay far away from my home break...

(toons: marc covert)


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