“Don’t smoke and surf!” a bro said the other morning, laughing, as he resurfaced after a wipeout.
We were surfing 2ft clean bumps at Les Bourdaines in Seignosse, nothing special, sunny, glassy (read: just about to go onshore). He’s a pretty accomplished logger, but fell off the tail on a routine walk up the board.
“I just smoke a ‘uge one” he giggled as he paddled back out, eyes redder than the setting sun.
Which got me to thinking, ‘Do people still smoke n’ surf?’
Is toke & shred still a thing? Blaze n’ rip? Enter the Kingdom of Jah the Almighty and then enter the primeval soup? Hail the all conquering Lion of Judah and then commune with Huey?
I mean obviously, yes. Of course they do… but it is my imagination, or do the carparks smell a bit less of weed these days?
And if so, is it because the yute are too busy being coached and filmed (in an over anxious attempt to reduce the cosmic dance of the ali’i into a joyless perfunctory golf swing… story for another day) and worry that getting high equals low performance surfing?
Or, are folk perhaps surfing straight laced, yet coming in to a CBD oil smoothie afterwards?
It’s a crazy mixed up world, after all.
“are the yute are too busy being coached and filmed in an-over anxious attempt to reduce the cosmic dance of the ali’i into a joyless perfunctory golf swing…?”
And yet even if the accepted wisdom is that surfing is hard enough as it is, and trying to do it stoned is like giving yourself a further handicap, could it be that getting high could actually be performance enhancing?
Like, makes you surf better? Be a better surfing you?
“I can’t surf low” a mate called Ray used to say. Ray liked to hit the bong before and even during his surfs (he’d come back in, ‘use’ in his wettie, paddle back out) and literally couldn’t stand up unless high.
‘Come on,’ you’re thinking. ‘Nonsense’.
I was the same until I actually saw him try to surf having not toked. He’d actually psyche himself out of contention when un-high. “I’m having a shocker!” he’d announce bitterly, still on the beach putting his leash on.
Usually, he was one of the better surfers in the water. Un-high, nobody could tell either way… he couldn’t catch a wave. Ray invariably spent the session caught in a rip that wasn’t there, barely got to feet and would end his sessions prematurely, presumably to go in and wait for his phone to ring.
Another friend, Pete, who was involved in the illicit narcotics trade and thus visited regularly by members of the local toking community, which at the time included myself, got himself a Volcano vaporiser.
“There we were upon our next purchasing visit, sitting around the machine like cavemen seeing fire for the first time. “If it’s barrelling, I’ll only turn the dial up to 6”
There we were upon our next purchasing visit, sitting around the machine like cavemen seeing fire for the first time. “If it’s barrelling, I’ll only turn the dial up to 6,” he explained of the machine’s controllable high delivering powers. “If it’s waves to do turns on, I’ll crank it up all the way.”
We chortled, then coughed, exhaled several litres of vaped weed into his back garden and thunk on some, only barely remembering to laugh at his wacky hypothesis once back in the car.
Could our selling friend Pete have had a point, that the stoned mindstate is actually conducive to good surfing headspace, especially once the physical impairments of tobacco and paper smoke are removed from the equation? Can you even customise your high according to how you want to surf?
Some long distance runners, among other endurance athletes, seem to think so. The theory is that the stoned mindstate induced by the non-psychoactive cannabidol (CBD) brings about the similar mental high achieved after exercise, i.e. ‘runner’s high’ ‘which is associated with a feeling of euphoria, a reduction in anxiety*, pain, and an increased sense of relaxation’ according to an article in Science Signaling.
Your body produces β-endorphin, an endogenous opioid, and anandamide, an endocannabinoid, after endurance exercise, i.e. your body makes its own CBD.
The other part of your high comes from the ‘fun’ bit, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is a psychoactive chemical that brings about euphoria, relaxed inhibitions, lack of focus, and sometimes drowsiness.
“As I started getting into longer distances like marathons, I noticed my mindset was very similar when I’m running and when I’m high,” says an ultra marathon runner called Andrew via Greatist. “If I don’t smoke before a run, I’m constantly thinking about the miles and how much further I have to go, rather than just enjoying the experience.”
Andrew – who competes in 100 mile ultra marathons stoned, echoes Ray’s “I’m having a shocker” treatise. That being high reduces unhelpful mental noise and actually tunes the brain in to going with the flow, be that running for ages, or being in the surf.
Of course surfing isn’t endurance running, and hardly need look to other generally more conservative sports for advocates of weed. Joel Tudor, for one, has been outspoken for a long time about the benefits of weed, not just upon the surfing experience, but on life itself.
Meanwhile, the general mainstream acceptance of cannabis marches on. It’s gone from a recreational drug to a cure for almost everything in the world.
Are there really fewer people smoking weed before surfing as I suspected? I’d guess that’d probably more down the circles the observer moves in, than any reliable global trend.
Is the best time to smoke (/vape/eat) weed n surf before, after, both or never? It’ll not come as a huge revelation that that is obviously down to the individual. Some folk go all useless on weed (/booze/etc/etc), others function just fine, pretty much.
Is it performance enhancing? Depends what you mean by performance.
You could probably make an argument that if you saved the heavy toker’s annual weed budget, and instead spent it on a trip to Indo, the aggregate performance improvement from a few weeks in perfect waves would exceed those accrued from a year surfing your local beachbreak slop, battered out of your tiny mind.
If you grew your own on the other hand…
*Reduced anxiety? Hmmmmmm. Remember that time y’all thought the pizza guy was the FBI?
Cover photo: Courtesy of Weedmaps