Surfing v. Climbing... Complimentary Pursuits?


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Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2012 - 08:17pm PT
seriously fun stuff, now that I look close I can see a bit of board sticking out of that glassy barrel! Mexico? or farther south?


Jan 29, 2012 - 08:22pm PT
All those pics are Baja.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jan 29, 2012 - 08:45pm PT
Surfing was absolutely essential to my climbing by 1968. The cardiovascular nature of the surfing in waves over five feet really feeds right into what you need for climbing: terrific cardio power. Similarly, paddling built up muscle sets mostly the same as those used for pulling down.

I have to agree with Randy Leavitt's quote at the beginning in that the best day surfing is better than the best day climbing. However, I can say my best days climbing will stand forever while my best days surfing have long since completely utterly vanished.

That most wave rides are only a matter of seconds, literally is both a beautiful and miraculous thing but also underlines how ephemeral rides and perhaps thus a life in surfing really are.

Climbing is often so painful; I don't remember any pain at all in surfing other than running out of breath and burning big time in desperate paddles avoiding the big unexpected cleanup sets in big surf.

Mixing the two sports has been going on for about fifty years now.

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Jan 29, 2012 - 09:07pm PT
Nuthin like a good dredger.
Jim Clipper

from: forests to tree farms
Jan 29, 2012 - 09:21pm PT
^^^ Where is that!? Near a pier!!!? That looks like quite a few people scratching for some thrills.
east side underground

Trad climber
Hilton crk,ca
Jan 29, 2012 - 10:05pm PT
Credit: east side underground
east side underground

Trad climber
Hilton crk,ca
Jan 29, 2012 - 10:10pm PT
Credit: east side underground

yea small days can be fun
The Alpine

Big Wall climber
Jan 29, 2012 - 10:49pm PT
The problem with climbing is it is a constant fight. You must always fight against the constant pull of gravity. As climbers, we develop our whole climbing 'careers' around this. It becomes engrained.

Surfing (and other gravity sports) are the exact opposite. You must literally let go and give in to the force of gravity. Once you are riding it is no longer a struggle or fight.

Great compliments I suppose.

I also like that after a day of surfing you end up CLEANER than when you started.

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Jan 29, 2012 - 10:57pm PT
I agree with some of what Peter said, however...

Surfing and climbing are my two favorite things in the whole wide world.

For me, though, they are not "complimentary". At least not when surfing is the primary gig.
When I lived on the coast, walking distance from some of California's best waves, there was no way in hell you could get me to go climbing. I didn't want to miss something.
Catching the points before the hordes, or checking the beachie repeatedly and watching it go from crap to a draining uncrowded wonderland....that sht took time and dedication. Not to mention developing enough skills to get waves in a crowded lineup at a marquee break, or be able to actually ride when the beachbreak is draining and breaking boards. Couldn't really be "bothered" with the thought of leaving the coast to climb.
Ok, maybe once in a while, when it was genuinely flat and scheduled to stay that way, a run to Woodson, Tahquitz, Black Mtn or Josh was great. But my fingers were made of water, no real serious climbing.

Surfing was way more addicting.
When the medium for your enjoyment wasn't always there, or could change instantly, I wanted to be onnit. After all, that's why i lived there and put up with all the bs socal can offer.

Now, though, living in the desert stoked as hell on climbing, I jones for a proper surf. I'd pass up a climbing trip for a Midnight rambler surgical strike for a day and a half (hopefully) of surf anyday. I have lost my paddle power but luckily the rest is like riding a bike now, but only after 12 years of surfing everyday.

I dunno. I'm babbling. I just had a great bouldering session but maybe it's time for some saltw#ter therapy.
My project will still be there...but will my callouses?

The only time i climbed and surfed in the same day was sick. Santa Ana low humidity at Rainbow, low tide backlit mysto barrels at Oside jetty. That's livin right there!

The Warbler

the edge of America
Jan 29, 2012 - 11:04pm PT

Many times I've surfed La Jolla and bouldered Rainbow in the afternoon! A good surf session takes the edge off your pull down power, but no better way to get a good night's sleep.

There are some great climbing areas within striking distance of the surf in Baja, and I've had many morning surfs followed by steep bouldering, and then evening glass off.

Haven't done that for way too long...

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Jan 29, 2012 - 11:17pm PT

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Jan 29, 2012 - 11:34pm PT
"I haven't done that in way too long"

Maybe we should change that.

Jonesing for both.

Trad climber
Central Coast
Jan 29, 2012 - 11:42pm PT
Credit: Slater

both good!

(for me) An awesome surf session beats a day at the crag. Way less frequent. More rare to get.

But climbing is steady and it's easier to score.

Every day of climbing is good. Just show up.
Not every day of surfing is good. Wind, tide, swell. More fickle.

Both will stoke you for sure.

They partner well together. If it's flat, go climbing!
The Warbler

the edge of America
Jan 29, 2012 - 11:45pm PT
Don't see it happening this year Jefe, with my recent ankle surgery and 7 yr old and new business effort.

I hate to say it, but it's true.

This thread is firing up some pumping good memories, though!

Maybe next year...

If you come thru SD, give a holler, and I might have baja some wave/climbing beta you're not already on to.

Jan 30, 2012 - 12:17am PT
I have lost my paddle power but luckily the rest is like riding a bike now

I'll second that. Luckily it comes back after a few noodle-y arm sessions.

I grew up at the beach, I'll be 40 this summer been surfing since I was about 5. I live up on the east side of sierra now, climbing is the only thing to ever take me from the ocean but has never taken the ocean from me.

Drjefe, i'd be surprised if we haven't surfed or even climbed together. I lived in Oceanside from 1991 more or less till spring of 2000. I go there quite often and usually still get about 10 - 15 days in a year. Luckily my wife comes from the 2nd. largest family on the big island so I get around there a bit as well.

Only a surfer knows the feeling.


El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Jan 30, 2012 - 12:32am PT
Hey brah I'm from earth too!

Lived in S. San Clemente.

Surfing is the only thing to make me leave my gear in storage 400 miles away.

Trad climber
los gatos. ca
Jan 30, 2012 - 12:42am PT
Credit: briham89

Being tall generally helps with climbing for me, but sure does make it hard to get barreled on smaller days.

Making crazy faces sure does seem to help though

Santa Barbara, CA
Jan 30, 2012 - 01:46am PT
I've been surfing since I was 8 (used to stand up on a boogie-board before that), climbing since ~18 months ago. I've often thought of the parallels and contrasts between the two and have thought of writing an essay on them - examples: a rack and a quiver often are worth more than the vehicle in which they are transported, or how I can show up to a crowded break and not say a single word to anyone else for my entire session, yet frequently chat it up with any climber(s) nearby or passing by. Been too lazy to actually write something up.

I have scored epic sessions by skipping out on work or showing up late for thanksgiving dinner - not as likely to happen with climbing. I'm stoked that we've finally had some decent swells since the holidays started - it was pretty sad for quite a while. Missed out on a couple days b/c of a snowboarding trip this weekend, though, but did get a little family climbing in A-hills on the way to Mammoth.

I'm glad I get to choose between some awesome pursuits. While I have had some exciting days on the rock, nothing has given me the feeling of pure stoke when kicking out after a memorable ride; whether its a barrel or just carve after carve down a perfect point. Surfing still has that something extra when it all comes together.

@eastsideunderground - your pic looks like __j_

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 30, 2012 - 02:03am PT
Green Room!

Similar subcultures. I have known many from both realms.

Jefe and Peter Hann had some good words on the comparisons.

As I look back, the two pursuits seem to balance and complement each other, but at the time no one cared. It was just fun.

Big Wall climber
Jan 30, 2012 - 02:23am PT
My buddy mike did'nt care either he was having too much fun!
Credit: pyro
I thought he was going to the oil platform.

Chales i went back and posted some pictures.
Credit: pyro
i like to keep surfing and climbing.
that's me surfing staircase on a small day.
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