7 Things You Can Do When The Surf Is Flat

No waves? Here's how you should keep yourself entertained (without watching too much bad TV)

Photo: Slyde Handboards/Hayley Green

There’s nothing more depressing than staring at the charts to see zero surf forecast for the foreseeable future.

Even worse, when you don’t check the charts, rock up at the beach with high hopes and find the water flat as a pancake.

Now what? With surfing ruled out of the equation, there is very little left to fill your work-free days that doesn’t involve mind-numbingly dull trips to IKEA or completing long overdue chores. Anything is better than constructing flat pack furniture.

We’ve put together seven amazingly thoughtful tips to prevent you from going temporarily crazy while waiting for the waves to return…

1) Stare Longingly Out the Window


Now what?

Staring out the window into the glum, waveless abyss is almost as soul destroying as watching snooker on TV.

As boredom sets in, your bum imprint in the sofa will sink ever deeper, eyes glazing over like a trout behind the fish counter, before you begin to marinade in a mixture of your own perspiration/tears.

The more you stare, the more likely surf will arrive. Right?

Sometimes you should make a foray to the fridge to see if that mouldy celery stick has transformed itself into a bacon sandwich and a six-pack of beer.

On discovering it hasn’t, return to the sofa and begin the process again.

2) Go to the Pub



This is the obvious answer. When all else fails, go to the pub.

Pubs don’t rely on the weather. They won’t wash your insides out with saltwater. Pubs are generally warm, dry and will feed you pork scratchings/peanuts at your leisure.

There’s nothing like that fuzzy feeling you get with a cold pint in hand and an entire day at your disposal.

3) Re-enact Groundhog Day


“This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather”

You remember that film Groundhog Day? Where Bill Murray is forced to relive the same day over and over again?

He decides to do all the things that he never had time to do in life. Like going to a restaurant and ordering everything on the menu. Learning to play the piano. Saving small children from falling out of trees.

Make Bill your role model and do all those things you’ve been meaning to do, but never got round to.

Turn that abandoned skateboard into a handplane. Give your board the most spectacular wax job it has ever seen. Do a beach clean up. Join a yoga class. Make one of those Indo boards you’ve always claimed is piss easy to construct yourself.

Maybe don’t follow Bill by driving off a cliff or jumping from a building though…

4) Go Mind Surfing


Photo: Clark Little Photography

Whether you’re stuck in the office or miles from the nearest break, mind surfing is essential therapy for the surfless surfer.

For those who are uninitiated, mind surfing is the act of surfing imaginary waves with the aid of a rad photo, a Kelly Slater GoPro part or just pure imagination.

When waves are few and far between, it can make the difference between a mildly grumpy surfer and one that will bite-your-head-off at a moments notice.

Here’s a pretty good place to start. Who needs real waves when you can surf the perfect wave in your head?

5) Get a Boyfriend/Girlfriend



If you haven’t already got one, they’re a pretty fun thing to have.

When the surf is flat, it’s nice to have someone who will lounge around in bed all day with you, watching Big Bang Theory and eating Doritos in your pants.

If you both surf, then you can wallow in misery together, preferably in bed as previously mentioned.

However, if you’ve got a non-surfer in your midst, then they will be particularly chuffed that attention is shifted entirely onto them and they’re not being left in bed at 5am because dawnies are (quite rightly) more important than lie ins.

6) Dig out the old console surf games


Nothing like a blast from the past and digging out your old Playstation/Dreamcast for a round of Championship Surfer or Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer.

That’s before you quickly remember how bad Championship Surfer is (why were there mines in the water and an abundance of scuba divers getting in the way?) and relegate it to the back of the wardrobe where it belongs.

7) Go In-Land

Photo: Yue Chi and David Visagie

This might sound daunting and cause your watery senses to start tingling, but there are – lo and behold – some good things to be found inland.

They have snow domes to ride, pubs to drink in (see point 2), hills to climb, skate parks to ride, films to watch and plenty of other things that don’t involve immersing yourself in saltwater.

You won’t come home with a boot full of sandy wetsuits that need washing, plus you can rest safe in the knowledge that you’re not missing out on anything back home.


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