Exposed: The 5 Worst Places To Go on A Surf Trip Today
Cornwall, SW France, Australia, Bali & the Mentawais... Yep, that's right.
As if the surf and the place weren't bad enough themselves, you might even get told to "Fuck off back to England" by a angry bald Scouser on a SUP. Good times.
A barren expanse of windswept granite, interspersed with patchwork traffic jam, Cornwall has somehow convinced holidaymakers, weekend surfers and the Daily Mail alike that it isn't one of the worst places in the world. There’s one road and one out - one too many you might say. The waves are literally pathetic; watching what was once a legit North Atlantic swell die an excruciatingly slow, painful death on a flat Cornish beach can actually make you both bored and angry at the same time. The towns? Either full of waddling chavs or perhaps worse, twee pretend-it’s-1952 faux fishing villages full of stockbrokers’ second homes. The tides are a joke, the wind is fingered 99.9% of the time. “It might swing SSSE’ly for 10 mins!" urges your deluded host. But what’s even worse? Worse than the surf, the people, the scenery, the roads? This: Those precious few summer days when England is actually blessed with high pressure, when the South has pollen warnings and 26 lovely degrees; Cornwall is fucking 18, partly cloudy and windy as assholes. Fact: no one has ever been able to read a broadsheet newspaper outside in Cornwall without either folding it to the size of a pamphlet, or maintaining a vice-like grip and swearing when it goes inside out every ten seconds.
"A barren expanse of windswept granite, interspersed with patchwork traffic jam, Cornwall has somehow convinced holidaymakers, weekend surfers and the Daily Mail alike that it isn't one of the worst places in the world."
Australia is a decent place to go for breakfast. If you want strong vegetarian options that include fluffy free range scrambled eggs and home-made baked beans on sourdough toast. The coffee? Fantastic. The surf? Fucked.
Like the Germans in France, Australians used to know their place in the world. They'd be crammed into a backpackers in Earl’s Court, agonising over the price of a pint of room temperature beer “That’s three hundred Aussie!" they’d (take too long to) say, before remarking, without irony, that Poms whinge. Now though, the script has been flipped. We can’t afford their shit. And if the ubiquitous 2ft onshore beachbreaks or risk of bankruptcy don't get ya, the unpleasant wildlife will. While the terrestrial threat of creepy crawlies has been lessened by them completely raping their natural environment in the quest for the precious natural resources that’ll allow them to pay for the aforementioned brekkie, and the 'King Hit' laws somewhat reduced your chance of having your ears boxed, the sharks are completely out of hand. Paddle out near Byron Bay and you’re not just likely to see shark, you're pretty much guaranteed to get chomped. Australia - to borrow from their own unique parlance - cunt of a joint.
This video is literally all lies. Well, all except for the naked man at 4.49. That bit is true.
"They say if the surf looks good, you’ve missed it. You have. It was (probably) ok in 1985"
Forget the propaganda, the surf media lies. SW France is a glorified close out, overpopulated in asshole. Fancy Gallic camping chic? Epic roadie? Think more like ugly, sandy car parks on a pointless slope strewn with broken glass, urine and poo, with juggling bell ends on long skateboards and assorted white dudes with dreads, well dug in. There is dog shit literally everywhere, and human shit, literally everywhere. Try getting a beer in a bar on a summer’s day. Try getting anything even resembling good service, anywhere. They say if the surf looks good, you’ve missed it. You have. It was (probably) ok in 1985. Etiquette? Paddling up the inside is considered essential, rather than a cunt’s trick. French surfers are noted for being some of the most miserable fuckers on the entire planet. Seriously, folk have left the doctor’s just having been told they have an incurable cancer with a better vibe than your average Frenchman checks the surf with on a sunny day when the birds are singing. Plus, there are hordes of Germans, and they’re getting bolder. They used to walk around with their heads down, for a variety of reasons. Now they want equal rights!
Bali used to be where surf trip dreams were made. It had amazing, life-changing surf. It had seductive, fascinating culture. It certainly was a trip. Now it’s more like an arranged marriage of yoga pant cliché... and babylon. Today Bali is where the morally and spiritually bankrupt go to spend winter, where the self-absorbed go to congratulate themselves for liking eternity pools on Instagram. The surf is pretty good, we’ll give it that, but that actually makes it even more infuriating that you can’t get a wave. The traffic is out of control... Checking the other side for the dawnie? You’ll be lucky to be back for dinner. Stepping out to par-tay? Great if you dig a sinister roofy rapey vibe. Surfing is not the recommended recreation in Bali. A better idea is to get a girlfriend to take a shot of you from behind, bikini clad, waving both arms up in the air, fingers unfurled just so, Ubud temple / Mount Agung in the background, with a ‘Not all who wander are lost’ caption. You know who you are.
"Not all who wander are lost... but most who wander to Bali are walking clichés"
You 'didn’t pay four grand to surf Roxy’s,' you'll say, after another fun yet hardly life-changing sesh at the fun righthander named after a girl's clothing brand. And you're quite correct - you paid four grand to watch boat loads of pros/zillos/faster paddlers than you sit on your inside and snaffle the bombs, everywhere else. The sense of lineup entitlement goes like this: rich cunts on the very best boats who paid absolute top dollar feel like they’ve earned the right to snake the shit out of you. As well they might, they're life's winners, after all. The ferals? Them too. They want it more than you, they're hungrier, literally. Thus the lowest on the price-point pecking order? The mid-rangers… you. The soft in the middle just happy to be here kinda crew. But maybe, through some kind of Zen-like tolerance you can stand pros/bankers and ferals paddling relentlessly to the peak and surfing past you... but wait until it's a nine pack of 55-year-old Kiwi dentists in long sleeve rashies, reef boots and those sun hats that tie under your chin. Even the fuckers on your own boat - your own (soon to be ex) best mates - will start to get on your nerves by day three. Think they annoy you at home? Wait till you've watched em dodge the 7th lip in a row at Thunders and yewed themselves not getting tubed with their ass in the air and head between their knees.
p.s. With the exchange rate, that's actually four and a half grand now, thanks.