East and West Coast Rich With Waves, The Gulf Gets Nada -- Five Surfing Alternatives
Where the waves, brah?
Photo by Chasen Marshall
AtlanticDude: Would you say I have a plethora of waves?
GulfDude: A what?
AtlanticDude: A "plethora".
GulfDude: Oh yes, you have a plethora.
AtlanticDude: GulfDude, what is a plethora?
GulfDude: Why, AtlanticDude?
AtlanticDude: Well, you told me I have a plethora. And I just would like to know if you know what a plethora is. I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has no idea what it means to have a plethora.
GulfDude: Forgive me, AtlanticDude. I know that I, GulfDude, do not have your superior intellect or abundance of quality surf breaks, but could it be that once again, you are flaunting the fact that you have it good, and we here in the Gulf of Mexico do not?
Hurricanes to the right, consistent storms to the left. The Atlantic and the Pacific, swells and waves aplenty.
Meanwhile, here in the Gulf, the doldrums of wavelessness -- despite it being peak season. August is supposed to be the second-most active month for hurricanes, and yet the month has come and gone and the number of surfable waves was practically nil. Maybe the occasional one- to two-foot boat-wake dribble. That's it.
True, the Gulf does not have nearly the expanse of water of either the Atlantic or Pacific, but a little tropical storm here and there doesn't seem like too much to ask. As we write this, Florida is about to endure the riches of Hurricane Earl, and the Pacific just enjoyed a southern hemisphere pulse.
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Of course, no hurricanes means no risk of devastation. That's a good thing. But waves are fun, there are none, and surfers still need their fix. Aside from looking at magazines or surf videos, we figured there had to be more authentic ways to get "the stoke." Here are five ways to do so:
1. Find Pool, Bring Board, Go "Surf." No, not a wave pool, just your standard backyard, where-dad-swims-in-his-Speedos pool. This is especially appealing if part of your attraction to surfing is the danger element. There are no sand bars or rogue waves, but there is the risk of sending your skull into the brick ledge or being decapitated by a diving board. Extra points for recording your pool surfing exploits in thermal camera mode:
2. Head To The River. Not just any river will do. Lazy rivers are a surfers worst enemy; you'll need a river with some get-up, preferably some manageable rapids. You won't be riding downstream, you'll be riding a stationary wave. Make sure you grow your hair out to fit the mold, but do try to pick a better soundtrack:
3. Track Down A Supertanker. This isn't quite that easy. There is some science to knowing which tankers will actually create breaking waves and where it will happen. Be aware of island-sized oil spills and the occasional boat driver with ocean rage (comparable to road rage). Probably best to be guided by the experts.
4. Go Tarp Surfing. Seriously. Somehow this new downtime hobby, which Hair Balls figured was a complete joke, caught steam and has made an appearance at various surf gatherings.
5. Watch The Pros. The Gulf may be getting fewer waves than your bathtub, but that doesn't mean others are as unfortunate. The world's best surfers are currently in Tahiti surfing one of the world's most frightening waves: Teahupoo. Except the waves are relatively small and not so frightening. That shallow, razor-sharp reef would still give us second-thoughts, though.
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