Work 9-5? Can you keep the stoke alive?
“Great swell this morning. Scored the Marina with just two out. Offshore and perfect.”
A typical Facebook post from a friend here in Brighton, followed soon after by a host of comments from people who had also scored said swell and we’re equally ecstatic.
Where was I? Certainly not able to comment (other than to say “Gutted. Missed it”), because I was at my desk at work.
And then the photos started to arrive…
Exhibit A. Photo from James Onslow/Sharkbait.co.uk
OK so this is a fairly rare day for us Sussex surfers, but still this winter has seen quite a few of these and even the less mediocre ones I would have jumped at the chance to get in.
It’s the curse of us ’9 to 5ers’. Stuck in the office, while friends with more ‘flexible’ working arrangements can pick and choose what time of day/day of the week they go.
I guess it’s the same curse suffered by those of you landlocked surfers, who may only see the sea on odd weekend trips or if they are really lucky a whole week ‘down west’.
And to be fair I’m luckier than most of them, living just 10 minutes drive from the beach and spending every-other weekend in Devon. But still the magic mystery that is ‘sod’s law’ means that often when I am free it’s flat or blowing a hooley. Why are weekdays always better?!
So yesterday just rubbed salt in the wound and it’s a wound I’ve had for the past 20 years since leaving Uni and deciding to do the sensible thing and get a proper job. In hindsight I may well look back when I’m older and say “I wish I had chosen a career that would allow me more time to surf when I wanted”, but maybe it’s not too late to change now?
To be fair I love my job and the career path I’m currently on – it’s exciting, challenging, fast-paced and fun – yet there are times when I wish I could be like Stokesy, Reubyn Ash, Ben Skinner and other ‘pro’ UK surfers, who do get to spend their lives travelling and surfing.
And maybe living where I do doesn’t help, as our waves are inconsistent, but having said that I have some good friends in Devon, Cornwall etc who probably get in as little as me due to work (or other family commitments).
It doesn’t help matters that it’s winter too. It’s basically dark when I go to work and leave it (although getting better by the day), so when you work 8.30pm – 5.30pm you’re definitely a weekend warrior.
So how do surfers like me deal with our lack of wave time and keep our stoke going? Here’s a few thoughts…
Surf mags – these can be our friends. The likes of Carve, Wavelength (or imports such as Surfer) do help inspire and statisfy to an extent, but often just make you want to surf more!
Surf movies – easily accessible on your phone, tablet, laptop or other device (or DVD if you’re old school like me), you can immerse yourself in a watery world of sunshine, endless barrels, cold beers and fun. They do allow a bit of rewarding mind surfing, but as with magazines tend to make you pine for those waves your missing
Skateboarding – this can help in fairness. I will try to skate to work when I can, just to get a bit of that feeling of ‘the glide’ in your life
Surf trips – when the cold darkness wraps us up then what better cure for your surf sadness than jetting away on a trip. Morocco, Portugal and the Canaries are all popular destinations with the Brit crew. These are a great cure as you’re a) actually getting wet and b) getting some sun/warm water too. However many of us 9-5ers have used our time-off up on non-surfing holidays so if we’re lucky can squeeze in a long weekend (whereas some friends can disappear for the whole winter!
These do help to offer a glimmer of hope, but I don’t think any of these can properly replace the ability to drop everything and surf when you want, no matter what time of day or day of the week.
So until that time when I’m in the same position I will sit at my desk and dream of the next time I’m gliding across a nice glassy wall.
And maybe I should learn to ignore Facebook when I know the surf is on!