Why surfers are seeking out the most crowded wave possible
If you ask most surfers what their dream wave would be, chances are they would describe an empty lineup, void of the typical weekend crowds that dominate most popular surf breaks. The reason is us surfers are generally a stingy bunch. When there are only a limited amount of waves per day at each break, and surfing rules dictate only one surfer is allowed to ride in each direction on a wave, it is only natural for people to seek out uncrowded lineups where they have a better chance of catching their fill. Less crowd equals less competition for the limited supply of waves.
Ask a surfer if they would ever want to surf with 300 other guys at a wave with a single peak, and they might think you are crazy. However, crazy might be the best word to describe a “Takeover”, an event where surfers flock in droves in order to catch waves being ridden at the same time by dozens of other surfers. At a takeover, surfing rules are tossed out the window and anarchy presides. This may sound like a nightmare to some, but if you’ve ever had the fortune to attend one you would have noticed at least one other thing along with the “oohs” and “aahs” of the crowds that gathered on the beach to watch. There are nothing but huge, beaming smiles on everyone’s faces.
One attendee at a recent takeover held at Tamarack Beach in Carlsbad, California dramatically declared after exiting the water, “That was probably the most fun I’ve ever had surfing.”
“That was probably the most fun I’ve ever had surfing.”tamarack beach, CALIFORNIA
What causes this pervasive happiness at these events? Why does everyone talk in the lineup while waiting together for the next party wave? Surfers usually keep to themselves in the lineup, unless they are very familiar with other nearby surfers. Not the case at a takeover. Everyone is talking, laughing, smiling. There is a warm feeling in the air. You can’t quite describe it. It feels like a huge family reunion, where you are comfortable with people around you that you have never met before because you know you are of the same blood. It feels like getting your old group of friends together. You have all changed into different people, but there is still that instinctual familiarity that kicks in and takes over the thick crust you have built up over years of life. This feeling is a good one, one that some would even argue trumps making it out of a perfect barrel.
Is it the fact that the basic rules of surfing are nearly completely disregarded, and their place taken by the simple rule of Soft Tops only? Is it the fact that all the surfers attending share the common goal to just catch as many waves as possible and try to make it out without getting run over by someone on the next wave? One can only guess.
We may never know what causes this radiating happiness, but it doesn’t matter either.
What matters is that these events are happening, and they are breathing fresh air into the wheezing lungs of the surfers that are tired of the protocol of not looking other surfers in the eye in the lineup. They are revitalizing the excitement of surfing for the many who are sick of being told how they should be surfing, and what they should be riding. And they are bringing back the smiles that we all experienced as we finally stood up and rode on our very first waves.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend a takeover, even if you have to drive several hours or take off work, Go! Wax up your Wavestorm, put your smile on, and get ready for the time of your life.