I had originally planned todays blog post to be about how to properly paddle and pop-up for a wave. Well, then I went surfing and dealt with some truly horrible personalities and welp. Decided to write about that instead.
This blog is here mainly to help inspire and encourage women to get out on the water, either for the first time or just more often. But that in no way means that every person who identifies as a woman out on the water gets a free pass for their rotten behavior.
Today was incredibly foggy and rainy out, which honestly I was looking forward too because that typically means less people on the water, and more chances to catch a wave. The session started great, and within 2 minutes a caught a great one and was even able to practice my cut-backs (turning in a way so you then go back into the break of the wave). The morning was looking up.
About 45 minutes in, the sun broke through the fog and people swarmed the beach. So I ended up paddling to the very far south of the beach where there weren't very many people. Shortly after, I recognized a woman from last weekend paddling into the lineup. She has this nasty habit of cussing at people and name calling, mostly beginners, and telling them to get off the beach. I will call her Main Lady. Shorty after, her friends Karen (cause she has the Karen haircut), and Mum (cause she was with her kids) join her a few yards from me.
Now if you've read my line-up post, then you know, that if you are just arriving to the lineup and there are people there, wait a few sets before going for a wave. Main Lady did not, and caught my wave from me. Technically I could have just popped up, but she was on a longboard and had a smoother transition so I gave it to her. But I was a little annoyed that she even went for it.
I decide to paddle away from the group, because I already have some negative feelings about Main Lady and I didn't want it to affect my session. But about five minutes later as Main Lady took a wave, there was someone who was paddling out and she ended up having to bail off the wave. Was it Main Ladies fault? No, it was definitely the person paddling. Is it annoying? Of course. Does that mean you resort to cussing this guy out? Absolutely not.
If you ever notice that someone has made an error, always offer advice, do not berate. Approaching in a friendly manner will always be a better tactic to change the issue that occurred. Main Lady seems to clearly disagree with this. I was too far away from her to say anything, but I was livid.
I am here to help inspire more people to surf, and the fact that a person was going way out of their way to not only discourage someone from surfing, but to make them feel ashamed of their skill level? I am not fucking having it.
A short while later a great wave comes so I paddle for it. I check the face of the wave right before I popped up, and no one was up yet, so it was mine. When I finished the wave and started to paddle back to the lineup, Mum started yelling at me. According to Mum her daughter had popped up first and I "could have killed her." 1. No one was up. 2. It is possible we popped up at the same time, in that case, make the most out of the party wave. 3. Her daughter was nowhere near me to begin with.
So I just look at Mum, and I tell her to stop being rude.I tell her that she is out of line, and that even if she was right, her tactic would not work. Not on me. Not on anybody. She tells me to leave the beach and shut the fuck up.
This is when I start getting pissed off. This is a beach I come to everyday. So I tell her to fuck off, and that her attitude has no place on the water. She calls me a bitch, and that I should watch my language (really?).
So it goes back and forth, and then the people around me, who have been dealing with Karen, Main Lady, and Mum all chime in. They tell her she is out of line, that I did nothing wrong, that the way she talks to people isn't okay. We all paddle away from that group.
The thing is, I am not a "lady" by any means. I cuss a lot. I sit weird. I eat with my elbows on the table. I don't give a fuck. I also do not think it's out of line to exchange words with someone if their behavior is directly negatively impacting you or other people.
I have extreme empathy, and the way Main Lady and the group were talking to everyone was ruining all of our sessions. So I had to say something. If someone is being truly horrible out there, people might not speak up, so be the one who does. Others will join.
No one wants to be upset or angry on the water, and those that go out there and create that feeling don't deserve the waves they are catching. There have been so many times when someone fucks up in front of me, and causes me to bail off a wave, but never once have I berated them or yelled. If people are learning, or messing up, they need to be inspired and lead, not degraded and made to feel ashamed.
So PLEASE. Please call out the Assholes. Let them know it isn't okay.
Back tomorrow with a guide on how to paddle and pop-up for a wave!😂