Deep Thoughts on Surfing

Last week at the Pier, it was a fun, warm, glassy day of longboard waves, which, of course, brought out the spirit of Road Rage in everyone. Happy Freakin’ Holidays. Of course everyone’s stressed out. Maybe these dudes are finally getting some time off from work, so that justifies getting aggro, making everyone else’s day worse by jockeying for ALL the waves.

You win, Seabiscuit.

“More waves for me, more joy. Screw the other guy today, I’m stressed out- if I can get the Wave, I’m entitled!”

This mentality permeates the surfing culture. For a sport that is supposed to be so Zen-like, it sure does have its’ unwritten rules, protocols, and hierarchies and a rough enforcement of those policies at times. I’ve slowly learned that surfers do this as an initiation, while strangely claiming to be inclusive the entire time. Helps to keep the surfing lineup freshly culled as well as a bonus.

You’ll often hear words like “Aloha Spirit” or “laid-back” in association with surfers. The only Hawaiian spirit I notice a lot of surfers embrace these days is the Da’Hui. Yikes. I don’t remember that Fun Gang in Back to the Beach.

No wonder this sport is so intimidating and confusing for most to even attempt.

Towards the end of my surf sesh that day, I saw a college-aged guy getting a surf lesson from an instructor on the outside of the main pack of surfers (where I usually like to park it too). He was learning to sit upright on his board in the lineup. To me, that skill can be one of the hardest to master when learning. Most people don’t use those muscles until they try to surf, so it’s a surprise to even the most athletic people I know whom I’ve seen surf for the first time.

The newbie surfer noticed several of us “drifting surfers” moving away from the crowded lineup and towards him, and quickly became self-conscious and embarrassed. While still trying to get his balance, he said apologetically,

“Really, I can snowboard REALLY well, I’m just not USED to this, really…..I AM a great snowboarder back home….”

Being SOOOOO over all the aggro vibe that morning, I thought to myself,

“Dude, what’s with all the puffing? There are plenty of jealous people sitting up on that beach that wish they had the ability and courage to be a Kook- even for just one day.”

Meet Max Chill, The Amigurumi Surfer Dude

I’ve been crocheting for a while now, and honestly, I’m SO over all the pricey, “yummy” (I freakin’ HATE that yarn store word!) yarn out there. Gimme the Red Heart cheap stuff, and let me sculpt something goofy in my favorite crochet technique, Amigurumi, and I’m all good.

Case in point, I wanted to make a fun cartoony Surfer Dude, but I’m better at doing it in yarn- I’m not a great clay sculptor. So, I just started crocheting, spiraling around Amigurumi style, starting with the head, hair and face. I typically use between a 2.5 to 3.0 mm hook with the standard acrylic yarn like you find at most hobby stores for a couple of bucks. On this project, I used a 3.0 mm hook. No pattern, I just made it up as I went, yo, it’s all righteous….

Starting with the bulbous head

Made each individual dreadlock, brah

Nothing says surfer like droopy eyelids and a Zinka nose

Making the rest of the torso

I made the appendages next, and I wanted them to be exaggerated and goofy. The narrow legs and arms made it tricky to stuff, though. 

I used a paintbrush to stuff a little

I even made the Dude some boss boardshorts from an old rash guard sleeve. Plus, I used a tiny holed shell I found on the beach last week to make him a gnar surfer necklace, so he has some cred.

Sweet boardshorts

When he was finally complete, he just looked like he should be named Max Chill. Cool, bro, stoked. Let’s surf.

Is it 4:20 yet?

Duuuuuuude…

Manly Surf Wax Recipe

I’m always interested in surf history, especially since I really get into surf trivia. I was researching a bit about wax and stumbled across an article that I thought was great.

This surfer was on a quest for Gulf Wax, a pure paraffin wax used primarily in sealing jars for home canning jams and jellies. He used it in his youth (1960’s), and romanticized it as being superior to current surf wax:

smelling like a flower and nipples so sore they feel like they are going to burst into flames.

-Marion Stratford, surfinghandbook.com

 I found this to be the ultimate in Surfer Dudeness. It’s like Ron Swanson came to surf.

Move aside, I came to craft

So, in this spirit, I’m making MANLY Surf Wax! No color, no smell, no frills.

Just like the article stated, the Gulf Wax could be found at the local Publix grocery store. One pound was a little under 4 dollars, and contained 4 one-quarter pound individual bars.

At Publix- ask for it

4 bars of pure paraffin

Look at Number 6- they’re onto the surfers

 

Since paraffin is made with petroleum (never said this recipe was Eco-Friendly, y’all), make sure you use cooking accessories that won’t be used for food prep. Kinda gross. My double boiler in the pic was 6 bucks from Ikea, and I ONLY use it for making wax. Worth it. 

Supplies


We need to make this stuff a bit easier to melt onto the board by just rubbing it on through friction heat. Unlike modern surf wax, we’re not necessarily creating “sticky” bumps, we’re just using it to break the surface tension of the water across the board, and we’ll still need a comb to finish roughing up the wax once it’s applied. To help spread it better, though, I’m going to use a touch of REFINED coconut oil. Since we don’t want any obnoxious smell, the refined is the best option. Unfortunately, I only had hippie “organic.” Sorry, Mr. Swanson.

I also used jumbo muffin cups to pour the wax into. I can’t wait until this “Orange Peel” thing comes out, and I’ll use it instead to make wax.

So I melted down 2 bars of the Gulf Wax (1/2 pound) in the double boiler over a pot of boiling water. DON’T mix any water into the wax or vice-versa!

Two bars of wax to melt (1/2 pound)

Once the Gulf Wax had melted, I added a heaping teaspoon of the refined coconut oil.

Large heaping teaspoon of coconut oil

Once I stirred everything well with my dedicated wax chopstick, I continued stirring and heating for a few minutes to make sure everything had homogenized well.

Stirring constantly


When it was ready, I poured the wax into the muffin foils immediately. This amount used four jumbo sized muffin foils.

Pouring wax into the molds

Freshly poured wax


I allowed the bars to harden at room temperature. If you stick them in the freezer, voids can form, so I just let them harden and cool for an hour or two on the counter.

It goes on the board well, but this recipe is probably well suited for cool or cold water, especially if sap resin or even a bit of molasses was added. Make sure you use a wax comb to rough up the wax since this wax doesn’t mound up, per se.

No color, no smell, no fancy pants.

Done! Ron would be proud


Personally, I like the more modern formulations (even with the pretty smell!), but there may be a Manly Surfer Dude in need of a Manly Surf Wax.

You’re welcome, Your Bro-ness.

That’s a lot of yikes right there