As surfers summer can be a double edged sword. While sunshine, warmth (both in and out of the water) are welcome there’s also a nagging feel down in the pit of your stomach. Sometimes it’s hard to determine why this is there but give it a mo and it’ll come…’Oh yeah, summer, it’s flat for waves innit?!’
Yes, summer can signal doldrums for surfers. Some years are worse than others with flat spells abound. Others can turn out better than expected, with a raft of good quality days scored sometimes in just boardshorts and rashies. When it’s like this is there any better place to be? Just to put this into context quickly. If you surf regularly then 1-2ft can mean flat. If you’re not lucky enough to be dipping every week then you probably won’t care as long as there’s some kind of lump…Anyway, back to the story.
So what to do in the face of flat or small surf? Well, there are a bunch of alternatives if you’re open minded enough.
Prone paddle board
If you consider yourself a waterman or woman then you may already be doing this. Prone paddle boarding is one way to keep up your surfing fitness without actually surfing. In some areas of the world there are loads of proneies. In the UK there are a handful of aficionados so you may not see large numbers on the water. If you do, however, come across others doing similar then you’ll be in good company.
Stand up paddle board
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) still isn’t winning much favour with surfers, even though the SUP surf explosion never happened as feared. Yet it should be considered for flat water and/or when the surf’s small. In waves it’s not about the fact you can catch more but rather you can make sections and ride longer by using the added propulsion of the paddle (correctly). And if it should go pancake then getting out for a bit of touring is one way to while away the hours.
Although waves tend to back off in summer one thing than does occur, in certain spots at least, is the sea breeze phenomenon. Afternoon winds can be the bain of surfer lives, unless you embrace it. Sticking a sail on your board (windsurfing) or flying a kite from it (kitesurfing) is a way to harness Mother Nature’s puff and get as big an adrenaline fix as you would with surfing. For many these two sports are the perfect complement to no wind wave sliding ensuring maximum time on the brine.
Just as with standing sitting down and paddling has many benefits in terms of keeping you trim. What’s more you can also ride waves in a kayak – although some surfers still frown on this – head off exploring the many creek, inlets and estuaries around our coastline or even cast a line ready for a sundown fish BBQ. What’s could be better?
These are just some of the watery options available to keep you amused should waves be scarce this summer. There are plenty more and we haven’t even looked at. Let us know what you’re involved with.