Why being a surfer in the city doesn’t suck as much as it should

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Ah the good old days. The days of duct tape repairs, a rope for a leash and a permanent layer of salt in your eyebrows. When your bed was a sleeping bag in your mate’s car. When going out for dinner meant going fishing. When men were men.

These days, not so much. This isn’t Waimea, nor is it the 1950s. And most of us aren’t sixteen anymore (those of you who are, if you’re not doing all of the above you’re doing it wrong).

Surfing means having a job. Jobs usually happen in buildings. Buildings are usually found in cities. Ergo: Surfing often means living in a city. Funny that.

But not to worry. With the advent of the interwebs and surf gear delivery and the motor car, being a city-bound surfer (Surfurbanite?) is better than ever. And here are some reasons why:

As per usual, feel free to add your wisdom in the comments below.


Spot on surf forecasts




As all you Hotswell regulars know, surf forecasting is now more accurate than ever. Which actually kind of sucks. Being told you’re missing out on sweet barrels because you’re sat at a desk is probably not what the Polynesians had in mind when they taught the first westerners to surf.

But the upside is you can find out exactly where your perfect wave will be this weekend. Which gives you plenty of time to choose what board to take, or even buy a new one. Which brings us to:


Online surf shops




Surf shops and cities don’t mix. They just don’t. For every one outlet actually selling a range of boards and wetsuits, there are ten selling nothing but clothes, shoes and bracelets. Which is fine if you’ve just lost all your clothes in a fire. But if you walk into a surf shop with the end goal being, you know, surfing, you won’t have much luck.

Happily there are a lot of great online shops out there (and one that trumps them all obviously), selling all the surfboards, bodyboards, wetsuits and hardware you need to make your next surf trip worth the wait.

Because there’s nothing worse than driving all the way to the Westcountry with a shortboard only to be greeted by a 3ft pointbreak and twenty longboarders.






By Jove, you don’t even need to leave your house to get a sweet new surfboard or wetsuit these days. What a world.

Lots of online shops will deliver right to your face. In fact the one we mentioned earlier does free delivery on anything over £50. Legends.

Finally the days of having to put on pants before you can buy surf gear are long gone. Say hello to the days of surfboards and wetsuits just turning up on your doorstep. It’s Christmas in summer. It’s mailorder happiness. It’s the future.


Artificial waves




No, not the kind that turned Bournemouth into the surf spot equivalent of a leper. That’s an artificial reef and it’s just embarrassing. An artificial wave, as many of you know, is a wave-creating machine. I’ll go into detail about how they work in a later article but for now it’s either water pumped into a lake with compressed air, or an artificial reef dragging along the bottom of the pool.

In short, it’s witchcraft. And for landlocked city surfers it’s awesome. Imagine having access to a wave breaking just how you like it. Every. Single. Time. What a great way for a Surfurbanite (totally going to catch on) to perfect their technique and get those noodley paddling muscles up to speed for the summer.

Then there are standing waves; a jet of water pumped up against a solid wave-shaped wall. Great fun for playing around on and watching other people bin it.

Or just do this:

Yes, we know it’s not real. But it’s still cool.


Lift sharing




Anyone who’s tried to use the A30 on their way to North Cornwall in the summer will have, at some point, noticed a few things:

  1. It’s total gridlock
  2. There are a lot of surfboards on roofs
  3. There are a lot of spaces in cars
  4. It’s still total gridlock

In an ideal world we’d all climb into as few cars as possible and share the joy of a roadtrip to the waves. Well now you can. There are a surprising number of websites where you can organise or jump aboard a liftshare to the coast. So give Mother Nature a big hug and make your next surf trip a group experience. Plus it’s great for meeting people in your city who surf, rather than just buy their clothes from surf shops.



So you see, being a surfer stuck in a city slicker’s body isn’t all bad. Now get back to work.

But before you do, check out all the high-end, low-cost gear in the Hotswell Surf Shop I’ve been shamelessly plugging through this whole article. It’s actually well worth a look, we’ve really put the work in to get the best kit for a fair price.


Take it easy,


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