“We saw you catch that wave out there…then we heard you scream?” My friend Kassia Meador, surf virtuoso, asked as we sat enjoying some Mexican margaritas on the Ixtapan beach. “It was more of a yell, I was really pumped to finally catch a wave on a short board,” I lied. The truth was it was a scream, I had screamed like a little schoolgirl. It was completely involuntary. Finally managing to pop up to a standing position on a short board the noise had welled up quickly from within my lungs and before I knew what was happening had escaped my mouth and found a home in the in the ears of my surf companions. My seasoned, very talented, surf companions. Oh the horror.
The thing about surfers, while they might not all admit it is that they are very territorial. Surfers are territorial over waves, over beaches, whole stretches of coast even. They can smell an outsider a mile away. I’m not sure how often it has happened but screaming while catching a wave is a sure fire give away of outsiderness.
1971 this man named Howard Giles came up with a theory about accents and dialects. It was called Speech Accomodation Theory. It basically says that if you want someone to like you you’ll try to sound like them and if you want someone not to like you you’ll try not to sound like them. Just think how you talk to your parents, or for the parents in the crowd, how your kids talk to you. Now think how people who have been dating for too long start to talk like each other and especially to each other. The baby talk, using the same phrases and words and slang. Kill me. Anywaaaayyyy, before we get sidetracked, the point is that if you want to become a surfer you have to talk like a surfer. Fake it till you make it, baby. Below are some words that I’ve picked up along the way that you should learn so you can fake being a surfer too:
1. Hang 10 – Hanging all ten toes off of the front of the board as you ride a wave.
2. Firing – The waves are real big
3. Man In The Gray Suit – Shark!!!!
4. Barney’s – Beginners who get in the way
5. Kook’s – See above
6. Quiver – A collection of surf boards
7. Charging – Going fast?
8. Land Lover – I think that’s actually a pirate term
9. Epic – As in “epic waves” or perfect conditions
10. Getting Tubed – When you are in the tube of a wave
11. Getting Worked – When you are the waves b#$%!
12. Gnarly – You know it
13. Shred – To ride a surfboard with bravado
14. Shred Hot – To ride a surfboard with extreme prowess
Ok, now you’re ready to at least sound like a surfer. So I flew into Ixtapa via Austin from Philly. This was my second time at Ixtapa with Kassia and I was ready to try some things that I hadn’t last time around. First on my list was short boarding. As I mentioned earlier I managed to catch a wave briefly before screaming and bailing. It was then back to long boarding for the rest of the trip. But I was going to push the limits. I was going to hang all ten of my toes off the end of that board or I was going to eat a mouthful of water trying. Needless to say the latter happened several times the former is still on the bucket list.
I did catch some waves on the “longboardo” (I just made that up, not actual surf lingo). The photographic proof could not have been doctored. I asked a doctor he said it was “impossible to doctor those photos.” Then we ate. Kassia told me that I “shredded hot.” I told her that Gaudalupe and Lucia did most of the shredding and that I helped set the table and I that I thought the food would be spicier. Understand surf dialect…add that one to the bucket list.
Until next time my pretties.