Picture the scene: It’s Friday evening. You’re zipping down the M5 listening to your favourite surf trip psych-up playlist. According to the forecast, a magical weekend of waves awaits you in the west country.
Just in case the loosely thrown shaka bobbing up and down out the open window and the even more loosely strapped surfboard banging noisily on the roof ain’t enough to let all other drivers know that you’re a shredder, before you set out, you slapped another surf sticker on your Vdub, bringing your back panel coverage up to a healthy 80%.
You’ve got your froth on and you don’t care who knows it.
You swing off the main road just as Ben Howard hits the improv section in the live version of Move Like You Want (from the Every Kingdom Deluxe edition- although you’ve liked him since way before that album dropped). Your vibing, but the light ahead of you goes red so you slow down studiously and come to a relaxed stop.
And then BANG. Someone rear-ends ya.
You’re shocked and distressed, but when you get your breath you find comfort in your long-held knowledge that if someone sails on up your arse, it’s always their insurance that’s paying out. Besides, you’re fully comp. Thank god.
You get out and see the bumper of your sweet Vdub is shot to shit and hanging right off. You begrudgingly exchange details with Keith, an estate agent from Taunton, who claims the matt wedged itself under the break in his Vauxhall Insignia.
‘Fuck off Keith you were definitely texting’ you mutter under your breath, just quiet enough so he doesn’t hear. ‘The passion wagon’ (as you call her) starts just fine, but fearing alignment issues down the line, you call breakdown. You’ve got onward journey cover. Fuck yea.
Later, you email pics to your insurance company from the comfort of your Airb’n’b. You like a few Kook of the day insta posts and drift off to sleep thinking of the early morning shred that awaits you.
By 10 the next morning you’re in a bit of a mood. Magicseaweed got it wrong again and your dawny was actually 2 foot smaller than it was supposed to be. And there was definitely more west in the wind than south. ‘Four stars my right bollock’ you mutter, as you shovel fry up into your mouth. The table smells strongly of industrial cleaning product. Your mate keeps telling you about his best wave and asking if you saw it. You didn’t. No one did. As you leave, you notice the floor of the joint is still sticky from the night before. ‘Should have gone Sainsbury’s cafe,’ you say.
Your phone rings. It’s Sharron from your insurance company. She says there’s a problem with your claim. Her cooing tone riles you instantly, and the Welsh accent ain’t helping. Apparently, stickers count as mods. And undeclared mods void your insurance.
‘It’s hardly a fucking back spoiler! It’s just the logos of some sweet-ass surf brands’ you want to yell. But instead, you just say, ‘ok, yea, well I wasn’t aware of that.’
She says your claim is currently under review by the relevant department and they’ll let you know within the next week. You protest a little. But Shazza’s having none of it, you may well have to pay for the damage she says. It was in the policy documents she says.
We recently learnt from a post on facebook that this is, in fact, a completely true story. (Or, at least the last bit about the insurance being potentially void.) And a little further digging revealed it’s a horrible fate that doesn’t just threaten lovers of the gnar.
The internet is brimming with stories of people whose insurance companies threatened to void their policy for having undeclared stickers on their wagons. There’s even a tale of a 75-year-old vicar who almost had to cough up after an accident, as she hadn’t declared her giant ‘Christ for me’ bonnet badge. Luckily her insurer hath mercy and she was spared.
But your insurer might not be so understanding. So make sure, if you’ve got stickers on your whip and want to avoid this dreadful fallout, you either call up and declare them or peel the little blighters all the way off and start buying large logo print surf tee’s to let the world know you’re a shredder instead.
Lord knows the industry could do with it.