Surf Rumination: To Talk or Not To Talk

Actually this applies to any activity that requires concentration, skills and attention to changing conditions (internal and external).


Some of the crowded breaks there is quite a bit of socializing going on, but usually those doing it don’t catch many waves. Sitting on a waveski I often get asked what is that, where did you get it, how hard is it to surf etc. With the regulars it is usually a wave and a smile in the break. The parking lot is different and regulars seem to park in the same spots and short friendly conversations are coming back. For a long time the beach parking lots were packed with Van Life Instagram Types and hoardes of new surfers and beachwalkers and their dogs. Things are getting back to pre-covid normal, but the beaches are still about three times more crowded than before Covid Times.

Talk or no talk does apply to any activity that requires each person to focus. Unless it is an instructor/student situation, most talk “out there” is extraneous.

I find it either irritating or—if I can screen it out—merely background human noise.

Seadart, the post-COVID crowds are worse here, too, than they were before 2020. I was flabbergasted that during a time of official stay-close-to-home pleas, the volume of RV and bumcamper traffic was noticeably higher than it ever had been. 2020 and 2021 were the worst, but as you observed about the beaches, it is still very high.

Back to pre-COVID… Today, Thursday with temps at 80, bit of a crowd out there. Thought I would run over to just paddle the waveski around on the little waves and get wet… Not so sure. Should have stuck with the dawn patrol plan.


Early spring days that feel like summer bring the crowds out in a cold region! Bet most were local residents.

That was an interesting article. It got me thinking about whitewater paddling and how it is similar and different. Similar in that everyone runs each rapid individually. But different in that you paddle in a group and everyone expected to help if things go wrong. Individual sport and team sport.

Strikes me that one of the fundamental differences is the shuttle. It is pretty tough not to talk when you are stuck in a car with 4-5 other people. Shuttles are known for “hero” tales – great runs and wipe-outs of the past. It is also an opportunity for paddlers to screen folks that they don’t know. As the trips get more difficult the screening gets more likely.

Every sport has its culture and norms. Probably the same for sea kayaks.

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