Surfing, ever proud of its counter-counter individualism, has generally championed the tightwad. Whereas excessive thriftiness is broadly seen as a source for derision among many social groups, to us, it’s somehow upheld as a method of being less kooky. Perhaps because our highest of high priests, Tom Curren, has famously never been seen with his wallet. Maybe it’s one of those giant velcro Animal wallets from the 90’s, maybe it’s a vegan leather SlimFold.
No one knows.
He’s not the only stingy shredder, of course. Tube enthusiast, entrepreneur and lover of thrift Ian Battrick spends an awful lot of time in Scotland, a land peopled by folk famed for their frugality. That’s not why he likes it, but it’s not not why he likes it, either. We contacted him for any tips for turning fewer pounds into more tubes and offered a simple, but irrefutable truth: “Get a van.” He’s spot on there, vans are veritable pods of parsimony. “It’s your transport, accommodation, kitchen, etc” explained Battrick.
Simple, but highly effective.
Whether you’re culturally inspired by charismatic macrofauna of the pro surf world, or merely are having it hard, we can all use money-saving tips to stave off the dual horrors of destitution and kooky overspend. Surfing in itself is completely free, but equipping yourself to do it can be terrifically pricey.
Let’s examine some areas of potential savings.
Never has the great value of the Scottish van trip been so apparent than when staring out of a golden Highland tubes.
The Bike Surf Rack Hack
The proliferation of e-bikes where I live around Hossegor, France in the last two years has been exponential.
But leaving the e-bike vs analog velo arguments aside, have you seen the price of modern surfboard racks that adorn them? They can cost up to an eye-watering 150 smackers. Then of course, being quick release, you have to remove them when you park your bike to avoid theft. When I see someone carrying not only their board, wettie, towel and refreshments over the beach, but also the arms of the expensive quick release bike racks – which is every day – I don’t think, ‘They’ve certainly got their hands full!’ I think ‘There goes another victim of late capitalism, sleepwalking towards armageddon…’
Sure, you could try making them yourselves from clamps, PVC piping and YouTube. Are you pretty handy? No, me neither. It’s multiple trips to the DIY store to be patronised, it’s frustrated swearing, it’s hours of your precious… only for them to turn out rickety and shite.
Here’s a thought: Hook the handle loop of your boardbag on the handlebars, instead. That’s it. The end. Your boardbag will even carry your wetsuit.
You’ve just saved up to €150 on bike racks and a one-er on a wet/dry backpack you don’t need.
Surfboards: Value vs Price
Boards themselves are much trickier for the bargain hunter in terms of purchase price. In terms of return on investment, it generally increases with increasing spend / weight / length. A high performance shooter that you spunk €600 will almost certainly be both mullered and worthless in 18 months. By contrast, a log, mid, gun, anything glassed heavier and with a pigment (cheaper) or tint will almost certainly cost up to a grand… But in ten years, there’s a really good chance it performs and pretty much looks exactly the same, while the shorty is now but a little sharp, yellow testament to the ills of today’s throwaway society, along with the other 3 (on average) you’ve purchased and destroyed in the interim.
Two Wetsuit Strategy: Don’t sell the old one
You’ve seen, maybe chuckled at the Ray Liotta Goodfellas “She said ‘Are you gonna sell the old one?'” meme. Bit misogyny-y, though. But you got the point, non-surfing partner gender regardless. Selling the old to finance the new is usually key for houses, cars, stuff like that.
But for wetsuits?
Two wintersuits on rotation can often last longer than one followed by another one. Maybe keep and use the old one for days when it’s not so cold, when a bit of a southerly is keeping things civilised, the newer one for longer sessions. With second hand wintersuits not really holding their value on the open market, if you can only get a hundred or so for the old one, and a newbie costs €400, by not selling, the old one can prolong the new by more than a quarter of its life, and so you’re, literally, in the black. Make sense?
Changing Mat, etc
Sure, sure. It’s easy to knock the changing mat twat, that soft target car park accessorizer who bought the changing mat, the pump action insulated shower, the special hanger that goes on the boot, etc.
It’s easy for a reason. In the words of Platoon’s Sgt Elias, “You don’t need half this shit.”
Get a forever bag from the supermarket, stand in that. A high end changing mat comes in at around 25 bap, an Ikea blue thing costs 50p.
The Wax vs Full Deck Grip Paradox
Whether you’re boosting airs or not, admit it – you’ve looked covetously at full deck grips, curiously aroused. But does it represent better value? If deck grip costs some €80, and a bar of Sex Wax €3, you’ll need to plow through 27 wax purchases to pay off the grip.
Some people are lured in by the ‘Never have to buy wax again’ thing, and spunked nearly a ton on traction. It’s a bit like buying a 100 grand Tessla SUV and pretending one of the reasons is free e-charging for life.
Being a wax scrounger, that person that never has any doesn’t seem to have the social stigma of the person whose round it never is in the pub. Even in a new, unfamiliar crew, you’ll quickly ascertain those nervous, weak individuals who always has to have five blocks of it in the car. A quick rub on theirs will keep your annual wax budget close to absolutely fuck all.