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Surf Jocks and the Hierarchy of a Line Up

I like watching the Stab in the Dark series, it's fun listening to professionals talk about what they think makes a board work, or not. The basic premise? Six shapers make one board each for three pro surfers. The surfboards are blank with no logos so that the pros don't really know who made them. Then, the pros go on a surf trip and they test the boards to choose their favorite and give feedback to the shapers. It's a pretty rad idea for a web series!

But besides the surfboard breakdowns by the pros, they actually cover other topics during the trip. And in this episode I was surprised to hear a pro surfer not sound like a macho asshole when talking about navigating a line up that's not his home break. If you fast-forward to the 39:38 mark "The Hierarchy of a Line Up" segment, I think Dane explains it well. And I'm definitely with Dane on this, mainly because I grew up surfing with a bunch of Micks, so I totally hear what he's saying. I call them surf jocks. They'd always be arguing about where to surf, which spot is better, why we should go check another spot, and often I'd be the tie-breaking vote in the car. My standard response was always "I don't care, I just want to surf".

I've always been treated as second-class by the surf jocks, probably because I'm not a prototypical surfer in shape and size. I'm tall, lanky, and a little bit goofy. But despite this I've always been an elite athlete, and they know it. Additionally, I'm usually up front with what I think. I will tell you to go fuck yourself faster than most, I'm punk rock like that. So dudes know not to run their mouths around me, and there's never any outright bullying or anything... just that sense that I'm not one of them because I take more of a soulful approach. I don't give a shit about being seen, I don't hustle in lineups, and if there are too many Micks in the water, I'm out. I'm not saying that I don't like the surf jocks, I'm just not inline with their approach. Honestly, some of the surf jocks that I grew up with are my dearest friends as an adult. But for me, it's difficult to surf, or god forbid travel with them.

Surf jocks always rush to surf the most popular and crowded spots, and they're constantly hustling to catch the most waves at everyone else's expense. They can never just chill. I don't know, I just prefer to be mellow, and I enjoy surfing off the beaten path. If I'm surfing a premiere break with a ton of dudes, I'll often sit on the shoulder, or sit on the inside and pick off the waves that the Micks fall or get too far behind. I'll also drive a little farther, or surf a little less quality wave to surf an empty spot. I love to find those secret spots! And despite this approach, I rarely leave a surf trip feeling like I didn't score. So these days, I hardly ever surf in a crowd, unless I happen to be traveling. And Dane, if you want to surf down the street from my house at my average break in the Northeast, c'mon out and I'll give you all the waves you want brother.

UPDATE: It looks like the video was pulled off of youtube, but I saw this one on the Stab youtube channel today when I was clicking around... it's an extended cut of the original interview of Dane talking about the hierarchy of a lineup.


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