9 Things About Surfers People Think are True

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9 Things About Surfers People Think are True

Photographer MORGAN MAASSEN

Photographer MORGAN MAASSEN

Surfing is one of the most difficult sports people have invented for an obvious reason: you have to adjust to the wind and the wave. No matter how excellent you are of a surfer, certain conditions like sudden wave breaks may disappoint you. Some beach breaks can change every 15 minutes. If you do the sport competitively, such situation will hurt your scores. In this condition, you have to be mindful of your position on the board and the timing of your maneuvers.  Last October, the Roxy Pro France finals between Tyler Wright of Australia and Tatiana Weston-Webb of Hawaii had spectators witness them taking a fall once in a while due to backwash. Even the championship pros face a level of difficulty according to Mother Nature’s moods, and that makes this sport ever more interesting and challenging.

No wonder any person with a devotion to the sea and surfing will always admire surfers. Whether a professional or an amateur, they get the admiration of everyone who understand the complexity of this sport, get a fan following, and achieve celebrity fame when they get chosen or have won at a prestigious competition.

However, there are fans or spectators who have the wrong impressions of pro or amateur surfers. Behind the fame, glory, experience or skills, there is always one thing or more that aren’t always true about surfers.

  1. They don’t drown.

They may appear as really excellent swimmers, but that doesn’t clear them of drowning risks. On September 2015, the first Australian surfer to drown and die in Indonesia’s Mentawai islands was smashed onto rocks in heavy surf. A second Australian surfer also vanished during an ocean swim with friends the night before. How about this big 2013 story? Brazilian professional and big wave surfer Maya Gabeira almost drowned in Nazaré, Portugal after she slingshots into an 80-feet wave. In the past 20 years, six big wave surfers have drowned.

  1. They only surf on warm weather.

With an increasing number of surfers scouring the globe for the best waves with the least crowds, cold water surfing is on the rise. Warm water surf locations such as Australia and Hawaii have paved the way for overdeveloped resorts and extremely crowded spots. Professional surfers have begun flocking to surfing spots in Scotland, Norway, Spain, Russia, Portugal, France, Canada and Iceland. They would dodge between sets and the thought of freezing while on barrels seem to never cross their minds. The best part? Camping out at an almost deserted place and the sight of isolated landscapes!

Clark Little Photography

Clark Little Photography

  1. They shove away the risk of shark attacks.

Bethany Hamilton is probably the most popular surfer known to have been critically attacked by a shark at age 13, thereby losing his left arm in the ordeal. Just recently in June, champion surfer Mick Fanning survived a shark attack unscathed during the final heat of the J-Bay Open in South Africa. After the incident, he’s had nightmares. With her mother on his side, he opened up on the Australian show 60 Minutes about the possibility of seeking professional help due to those nightmares. Surfers may dismiss the thought of getting attacked by a shark, but as seen from that emotional World Surf League video where finalists Julian Wilson and Mick Fanning shared tears after the incident, it is clear that even professional surfers are scared of sharks. Professor Jeff Rosenthal of the University of Toronto said that the risk of getting attacked by a shark is one in 400 million.

Clark Little Photography

Clark Little Photography

  1. They are avid yoga practitioners.

Okay, so we all know yoga and surfing go together perfectly well. Because of the balance that yoga discipline develops in anyone who dares to try, some people mistakenly assume that the most excellent surfers do yoga. But here’s the catch: most surfers would love to, but not all of them have actually done so. Surfing’s second richest athlete, Dane Reynolds, probably doesn’t do yoga, too. He doesn’t do any type of particular training like his contemporaries. Only a few professional surfers are so open about their consistent yoga practices on Instagram and Facebook. There are also a few who only do yoga poses as their warm-up exercises before heading to their surfing sessions. Some of the popular pro surfers who are into yoga are Kelly Slater, Gerry Lopez, Malia Manuel, Carissa Moore, Stephanie Gilmore, Courtney Conlogue, Tom Carroll, Brian Conley, Garrett McNamara, Rochelle Ballard, Taylor Knox, and Holly Beck.

  1. They are health-conscious.

They may look like they’re all pro healthy living because they are into intense sports, but many professional surfers have been accused of drug use and other forms of addiction. With the lure of money just by besting other surfers, some fall into the trap of doing whatever it takes to win, even up to the expense of falling into drug addiction. In an interview on March 4, 2013, Kelly Slater has honestly agreed with a reporter from the Australian newspaper The Courier Mail that professional surfing has, according to his own words, “rampant” and “full-on” recreational drug problem. You know what it means when a drug-free and influential surfer like him talks. Tom Carroll is an Australian surf hero who was brutally honest about his meth use that started in 2002. Prior to that, he’s had his hookups with cocaine, ecstasy and LSD. Up to now, the death of Andy Irons is still full of mystery as there were accusations of drug overdose that were not truly addressed by his family. With the Association of Surfing Professionals and its brands’ lenient drug testing, we don’t see any significant change in the future. Kelly Slater was also quoted as saying that during a tour, they were tested in the beginning, but no tests were done for the rest of the year.

  1. They got those ripped arms and abs just by surfing.

Many professional surfers may have developed those toned bodies as a result of daily surfing from a young age, but as they get older and competitions get tighter, the need for other means of workout programs to stay on top is ultimately necessary. Other than yoga, balance improvement, interval and endurance workouts, core strengthening, weight training, and muscle conditioning are key things in professional surfers’ fitness routines.

  1. Their skills make them immune to the dangers of big wave surfing.

NOT ALL SURFERS RIDE THE BIG WAVES. Big wave surfing takes a lot of skill and instinct to avoid becoming a victim of vicious wipeouts. Surfers are pushed down by a breaking wave from 20 to 50 feet below the surface. After all the spinning, they must know how to gain their state of mind to figure out which way is up. It is estimated that it only takes surfers about 20 seconds to get to the surface before the next wave hits them. The risk of being taken underwater by two or more consecutive waves is highly likely. Now we’re talking physics here.

Clark Little Photography

Clark Little Photography

  1. They get rich quick by surfing.

Nope. Not always the case. John John Florence’s competition earnings so far this year are a little over a million dollars. But his sponsorships? As much as $3.2 million for every brand he endorses! That’s about a total of $16 million on annual earnings from all his contracts. If you have the skills of Kelly Slater, $3 million from competition earnings is an underestimation. However, with John John’s massive endorsements, he is currently the richest professional surfer in town, followed by Dane Reynolds. Based on 2014 earnings alone, only Stephanie Gilmore was the female surfer who made it to the list.

Speaking of only one female surfer making it to the list, women’s surfing is at the deep end when it comes to getting sponsorships. If you don’t look good or sexy enough (short of saying the brands do not know how to market you), it is easy to lose the chance for endorsements. Their surfing skills seem to be put at the back seat in favor of an Alana Blanchard type of sex appeal in order to get the nods of the major brands. Still, it’s a relief that not all female surfers fall into that trap and they still want to put on more clothes as much as possible (here’s a toast to champion Carissa Moore).

  1. They are on vegan or vegetarian diets.

You may think that because of the complex demands professional surfing give them, the need for a light diet is absolute. However, not all surfers are vegans. The only prominent professional surfer who is vocal about the vegan diet is American surfing team member Tia Blanco. Carissa Moore eats a balanced diet with lots of protein, vegetables, fruits and carbohydrates, and also indulges on chocolates once in a while. Stephanie Gilmore eats a lot of fresh vegetables, salads and white fish, refrains from processed foods, and sometimes caps her nights with some good taste of wine. Mick Fanning suggests eating greens and veggies but admittedly, he’s not one of those diet fanatics as he also loves to eat some junk food if his body wants them. Kelly Slater also advocates more on adopting a balanced diet to help maximize surfing performance.

There you have it. Did we miss out anything on the list? Share your thoughts!