Literally from day one, surfers start dreaming about what’s next. A next wave, that next board, another trip, etc. As the skills improve, trying some new stuff begins to fill the mind. Some seek uncrowded perfection, others might look for challenges in wave size, while others just simply want to see the world with a surfboard under one arm.
Yes, it’s a well-worn cliche but what should be on The Ultimate Surfer’s Bucket List? We kicked it around a bit in our COVID-19 induced boredom and came up with a list that every surfer should consider.
Editors note: This list assumes an ability level commensurate to the task at hand.
- Hawaii. Simply, you haven’t really lived as a surfer until you’ve made the pilgrimage to Hawaii. More specifically, the North Shore. We could be more specific but goading people out into a line up of which is possibly beyond one’s skill level would seem irresponsible, so we’ll just leave it at any wave on the North Shore. You can dial in your own jam from there. Get a few good waves and you will never forget them.
- Drink a Mexican beer on a beach in Mexico. Yeah, the Mexican beer thing is super blown out these days but believe it or not, once upon a time the only way to drink the brew was to actually be in Mexico. Corona, Pacifico, Modelo, etc., was to many surfers more than just another cold beer but rather an epic trip, an uncrowded wave, or some special moment deep off the grid in Baja with the crew. It just seems to taste better in Mex.
- Indo boat trip. Although also a bit blown out as there are so many boats and camps these days that it has become a joke trying to score the uncrowded perfection the ‘Ments was once known for. However, it’s still there and if you find the right boat/capitan you can score at some of the lesser-known, out of the way spots. Probably not Lance’s or Macaroni’s but you can still find a wave with a little luck.
- Watch your board being shaped. Once a pretty easy task, it’s now much more difficult for a few reasons. One, is your new board even being hand-shaped, and two, was it even made anywhere close to where you live? Obviously, those two things need to be aligned to make this happen but with that in mind by requesting to see your board hand-shaped it will probably require that you use a local craftsman. Which is something we should all do more of anyway. You might just end up pleasantly surprised at how well the board actually works when it’s built for you and the waves you actually surf.
- Surf a wave pool. Even if you hate everything about them you need to give it at least one go if for no other reason than to solidify your disgust. Obviously, the tech is improving rapidly and the cost should start getting more reasonable as well. Find one nearby, get yourself a few and sulk back to the parking lot middle finger held high. Or, spend an afternoon with a few buddies and make the most of it. Either way, having a valid opinion requires at least one test ride.
- Attend the Bells contest. The “granddaddy of ‘um all,” Bells only needs one name. Truth be told, the wave itself has fallen off a bit as a super high-performance venue but it’s the whole scene that’s the real draw. The iconic cliff-side amphitheater, the incredible history, and of course the Torquay Pub that has been witness to debauchery on the highest level from literally every surf star over the last 50 years and counting. And, there’s some great surf in the area to hit while you down there.
- Surf a wave that scares you. Even if that means a 6 footer at the local. We’re not all big wave hellmen but we need to push ourselves a little in life and in the water. We’ve all been there: jump rock sketchiness, roll-through clean-ups every 20 minutes, etc., but it’s the times like these that make men out of boys. Don’t get in over your head, just spin on one once and while that gets the heart pumping.
- Catch one screamer at the Superbank. Easier said than done for sure, but this is a bit of a wish list after all. Who knows, maybe a dawn or dusk moment when the crowd has taken a small break and you just may find yourself locked and loaded on a wave of a lifetime. Good luck with this one.
- Surf Uluwatu. Yes, the crown jewel in Bali if for no other reason than the iconic history. You are Stephen Cooney flying down the line in Morning of the Earth. Gerry Lopez exchanging long walls with Peter McCabe, or just a simple guy riding one of the most picturesque waves on the planet. Crowded yes, but it’s very doable with a little skill. Get the right one and it’s truly a transcendental moment.
- Bodysurf the Wedge. Pick a nice summer day with a small south swell running, grab some fins, tie the boardies extra tight and have a go. The power of this wave at even three feet will surprise you. At 6 feet it will hurt you. The local crew doesn’t give up many scraps but you should be able to find a few. Crazy shallow. Be careful.
There it is. What’s your list?