There is a difference between people who surf and those who are true surfers. A
person who surfs might be wearing the newest surfing fashion craze,
but probably has not gotten in the water for weeks. A person who
surfs likes to go to the beach to surf and to get a tan. A surfer, on
the other hand, usually only goes to the beach to surf, and couldn't care
less about what he looks like with zinc all over his face. A surfer is a person whose hair always smells like salt water
because she is always in it—seriously. Surfers don't just surf once a
week, but check the waves every day and the surf reports
every couple of hours. They live as close as they can to the ocean and
will do anything to not move. They believe any sickness—such as a cold, the flu or a broken bone—can be cured
by going surfing.
This is a
surfer and I married one eight years ago. I love my husband and I am so
stoked to have married a surfer. However, I don't think I really knew what I
was getting myself into on our first date.
It started with the proposal, which was, of course, done on the beach. And
then, the wedding—also done at the beach. Luckily on a day with no
big surf. Oh wait I forgot. Paul did get his keys locked in his truck
the day of our wedding and, yes, he was at the beach and had just
surfed. Luckily for him and our marriage he made it to the wedding on
Then came the honeymoon. We had planned at first to travel to Costa Rica,
but we ended up driving to Nicaragua from Costa Rica. Nicaragua is
not Costa Rica. This was Nicaragua before the ritzy surf destination
packages. It wasn't the safest place, but it had great surf, crazy taxi drivers, long dirt roads, remote beaches, fresh caught
fish on the grill, tarantulas, monkeys, very fast speaking Spanish
people and, did I mention, really great surf?
And now, eight years later, I have learned a little bit about what its like
to be a surfer's wife. I would like to pass on this knowledge to those out there who are considering marrying a surfer,
especially if you are not a true surfer yourself.
I am not a surfer
and I do not surf. I have had to learn a lot about surfers, because
that is what I married. My husband's business is to make surfboards
now, so he technically has to surf to make money. I do not want to
change my husband, it is who he is, the salt water is in his blood
(and his hair). If I tried to change him, tried to make him surf
less, then this wouldn't be the guy I fell in love with, it wouldn't be
the guy I married. Plus my husband would be miserable. I know Paul
would surf less if I wanted him to because he is a great husband and a
wonderful father. However to be a good wife to him, I have had to
learn what it means to be a true surfer, and what it means to be
married to one. (Plus, I have learned that if he says yes to writing
a surf article once a month, I might have to be ready to write an
article once in awhile too—especially when the surf is good)
What I have learned over the past 8 years:
1. Surfing is not like ANY other sport. Surf swells are not always
predictable. You can't just go outside and say "Hey, I think I am
going to go surf right now," because there might not be any surf. A
basketball or football is always there to pick up and throw around.
You can pick up a skateboard and go at it anytime. With surfing, this is
not the case. Sometimes there are no waves for weeks and then, a big
swell hits, and the waves are epic.
What does this mean for you, the
wife? At any given day, your husband might drop everything and surf,
especially if he hasn't gotten in the water in a couple of days. If
that means at 5:00 am the swell is just right, then you will hear the
coffee machine start at 4:45 am. If that means at 6:00 pm, right when
the pot roast is coming out of the oven, then you better be ready to
enjoy your meal just a little bit late, and a little bit cold. This
is a hard one to get use to. But remember, surfers need to surf and
they really like to surf waves that are good. If they don't surf
waves that are good that day, they will go back the next day and try again
until they have a really great surf session. So learn what conditions
form good waves, learn how to read surf forecasting, and then plan
your meals accordingly! Plus, remember this—DO NOT plan family trips
to visit out-of-town, landlocked relatives during the fall if you live
on the central coast of California. Surf is usually really good then.
Your husband will not be happy and this will make for a not very fun
family trip for everyone involved.
2. Surf videos are actually really fun to watch, even if you don't
surf. This is one awesome thing I have found that the whole family
likes—a good surf video. You will have a lot of them, and it makes
for easy Christmas gifts for your husband from you. He will be stoked
that you want to sit and watch them. However he will watch them a lot—over, and over, and over, and over again. Don't worry, you will
eventually figure out the surf lingo and the names of certain moves.
You will actually will be able to communicate to your husband while he
watches the videos. Plus, its a bonus when he comes out of the
water and asks if you saw that "sick backside snap to the reverse
airdrop reentry into a closed out barrel that he just squeaked out
of," you will know that yes, he is speaking English and yes, you did
see that sick wave that he caught.
I have run out of room for this month, but I will write more in the
next issue. I still have a lot to cover, such as
the money you will be spending for everything surf related to how to
get a family with three kids, one of them being a baby, quickly to the
beach when a surprise swell hits and your husband wants you to take
pictures of the guys and him out in the water.
I would love to hear from any women out there who have been married
to a surfer and have some good advice or funny stories for the readers
next month. Send an email to Katie.
To be continued in the next SLO Coast Journal.
Small disclaimer, I know that there are plenty of surfers out there
who are women, and have husbands who are not. This isn't the case in
our family, so I cant write about what that's like, but if you are in
that situation and want to email me something, go right ahead!