Comparing surfers to climbers


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Boulder, CO
Mar 18, 2013 - 10:35am PT
Am I a kook if though I live in Boulder Colorado I'm thinking I need to own a surf board?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 11:31am PT
Mike Purpus today:

Purpus had a cousin that lived in Santa Cruz and was a surfing friend of mine back at the end of the Sixties. Looked a great deal like him but quite a bit taller and was similarly belligerent, Rick Noe. Rick grew up with Mike and was still griping about Mike and his little coterie of buddies long after he and Mike were "done" with each other. It's true, the worse thing about surfing is some of its young male participants. Some old ones too. Purpus had both hips replaced in the nineties, I gather. He even was a Playgirl cover model one issue. I found those images on google but haven't posted them as they are, exactly, nudes. But jesus, so funny. Here is a "safe" one:

Credit: Playgirl Magazine

For followers of this tiny bit of history, Purpus' cousin, Rick Noe with son, who still carries on the shaping business, Noe Surfboards. I think Rick is paraplegic here.

Credit: Noe Surfboards

Social climber
Mar 18, 2013 - 11:37am PT
It has more to do with where you live, then your sport. Joshua Tree locals, Idyllwild locals... coolest people to deal with. Mountain Folk who have to deal with bullshit don't get too precious.

Crowded places with people who are full of sh#t, they get the 'localism' shtuffs. San Diego is a prime example, the surfers are territorial and the climbers sometimes follow suit. I feel its more the proximity of crags to cities, cities that make you think that all this bullshit infrastructure means something.

If you slave away at a desk 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, f*#k yes you are coming down on that kook. If it's just another day at the crag or the beach, eh... another wave will come.

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
Mar 18, 2013 - 11:39am PT
nature. . . no. . . it's ALL ABOUT THE GEAR . . . but. . . if you buy a board and don't ride it for a year. . . THEN YOU'RE A KOOK!


Mar 18, 2013 - 11:43am PT

Mountain climber
Mar 18, 2013 - 12:37pm PT
Lost of writing on this thread so I didn't read it all - hope I'm not repeating what's been said:

I was surfing and climbing at the same time. About 15 years ago after I witnessed (for the millionth time) some good surfer out in the water wearing his underwear (tighty whities) yelling at some noob kook to get off his beach, I decided at that point "I don't want to be part of this culture anymore". So I stopped and further embraced climbing because it's a brotherhood where everyone for the most part is helpful to one another. Very chill.

That being said, I do miss being out in the water looking back on land and I miss working a wave face.

Maui is awesome, there are plenty of breaks there. Just stick with your friend as that will help you with the locals. Plenty of friendly breaks on the island, but The Harbour in Kahului I do recall as a fiercely competitive spot you may want to avoid.

Shaka brah!


Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Mar 18, 2013 - 01:32pm PT
If surfing were a sport that occurred in a gun-happy state, the problem would be self-correcting. All the aggro types would wind up killing one another. I applaud the notion that surfers seem to be able to restrain their violence to beating other people up, but then the idea of striking other people over something like climbing or surfing seems very odd to me. I'm very familiar with the culture, having grown up in PB, and living in OB for many years as well. Even in the very early 70's surfing was way too crowded and (I hate this word) "mainstream". Climbing was far more likely to get you killed back then, which made it more fun, and there were like two dozen hardcore five-days-a-week climbers in the whole city. Santee and Woodson ere ghost towns and The Gorge was totally empty during the week and often on the weekends. You could go to Josh and score a campsite in Hidden Valley at 11pm on a Friday night, and know every single climber there. Localism in climbing has always been confined to keeping your mouth shut about a place. If strangers wandered in, often as not you'd wind up sharing a fire with them that night. But in the water -- way too many surfers, not enough waves. It's a food riot and people behave very poorly. What makes it even more distaseful is the fact that localism and "beat-downs" have become deeply embedded, and even celebrated in an odd way, into the culture.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Mar 18, 2013 - 01:42pm PT
It sounds a lot like the way I'm treated on the golf course when I get on with my noob set of skills. "Hey &#$hole, go play on a par 3, comin' through!"

I just reach into my bag, quaff a warm one and whack away into the nearest water hazard.

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Mar 18, 2013 - 02:22pm PT
Remember the video posted recently of a couple of guys learning to aid on Freeblast?
Look at some of the replies to their TR.
Now imagine beginners doing their thing all over El Cap.
Would the locals eventually get fed up?

I'm glad localism isn't prevalent in climbing but I'll be damned if there weren't a time or two I wished there were a surly local around to tell someone to beat it.

Social climber
Mar 18, 2013 - 02:33pm PT
Sometimes bad behavior needs to be addressed. Not by me, I'm not the fighting type. There is always some borderline criminal that looks like a MS-13 member to lower the boom on the guy taking all the waves on a stand up board or whatever.

We have some localized spots around my town but they are increasingly rare. Santa Cruz is basically just overrun with masses.

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Mar 18, 2013 - 02:35pm PT
Yeah Jefe, I made fun of those guys, but gave 'em some good-natured advice as well. Thats about as bad as we get. Nobody was waiting at the base to thump 'em when they bailed. But there's no telling what would happen if there were only 50 routes in the Valley, they were only in good condition 5 times a year at best, and there were people jamming up the routes while a dozen others waited their turn...

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane ~:~
Mar 18, 2013 - 06:21pm PT
Now imagine beginner's doing their thing all over El Cap.

Or, perhaps wrap yer head around this scenario/analogy. Yer leading some route that is at, or near the top of yer freeclimbing/leading ability. Yer about 20'+ out past yer last pro & in the middle of the crux (let's say it's an 11+ tips crack), another couple of moves and yer home free on easy ground. Suddenly some d00d swings/penjies over from an adjacent crack and sinks his hands into the 5.2 splitter just a few feet above you and starts fiddling with his rack and putting in some pro. Yer stuck right in the middle of the crux with nowhere to go and ya end up taking a 40'-50' screamer, into a dihedral and get busted up, or maybe ya even deck.

His excuse (if he even offers one) is he couldn't finish the lead he was on, so he exited to the top of yer route/easy ground. WTF!!!

Highly unlikely scenario in rockclimbing, I know, but it's what happens at the more advanced/expert (for lack of a better classification)surf spots all the time during big NW swells, etc! Like I said, you could be freighting it down the line into the backdoor of a spitting peak (over a very shallow reef) and just as you pull into it and are about to get barreled/tubed, some g00n drops into (shoulder hops) the far side of the peak. The wave closes out on you and you eat it big time on a jagged reef.

I'm not talking about some sandy bottom beach break. I got sucked over the falls twice (under water) a double hold down on a duble overhead day during a minus/low tide (-2' or so). Which happens to be supreme cliff conditions. I came within a couple (2-3) seconds of drowning/loosing my life. It goes/went like this...

I was sitting outside at Nubes inbetween sets and turned from watching the horizon (for the next set) to see what my dog was doing on the beach. When I turned back, everyone was scratching like hell because this huge (may 14'-15') cleanup set/wave was coming in. YIKES. I paddled like hell but got caught inside. I almost made it, but it came right over on top of me. Like I said, we don't use g00ncords/leashes at Nubes, so, rather than ditch my board and dive for the bottom, I decided to tuck the tip under my arm and dive hard into the base of the wave, hold onto it for just a second, and hope that it will pop up on the backside of the wave rather than get taken all the way in.

Wrong move. I hung on a second too long and I got sucked up and over the lip (all while being under water) and slammed on the bottom and drug along the reef. No big deal at that point, because ya generally pop up and are able to grab a braeth before ya get slammed by the next wave. But, instead of popping up, I suddenly feel myself getting sucked up and over the lip of this huge wave a second time (went through the cycle twice) and was slammed and drug/tumbled along the bottom a second time. That's a long time under water.

I recall that my lungs were about to burst. You reach your max (holding your breath) and you start to spasm. You fight it it with all you've got. But it's a reflex that you can only subdue for so long, and then it feels like a peep (only way I can describe it). PEEP (you spasm and suck in water). Your biting down on your jaw and piercing your lips with all you've got, but this (what seems like) this peep (actually a convulsion and you suck in water through your pierced lips) happens.

You then continue to fight it/hold it for a few seconds (maybe 5-6) then you have another convulsion/peep and suck in more water. I recall that happening three (3) times, while I was tumbling and not knowing which way was up or down. After that third convulsion/peep (sucking in water with it) I new that was it. I new I couldn't fight it any longer, and I was going to explode the next time. I had 3-4 seconds max to live, and I new it, but, fortunately I popped up. Like I said, I was within seconds of drowning. I was coughing up tiny pieces of kelp for weeks after that.

My point is, although that was of my own doing/mistake, it could have easily been the result of some g00n shoulder hopping someone.
Credit: Jeff Divine
^ pic circa '73-'74!

That's the head/start of the trail at the top of Ladera St that leads to the primo Cliffs surf spots that I was talking about (Subs, Abs, Nubes & Chassem's). I have prollie walked that trail (about 1/2 mile) over 1,000 times over the years to surf. Some of the very best days & memories of my life (outside of climbing & skiing).
east side underground

Hilton crk,ca
Mar 18, 2013 - 08:55pm PT
If you don't climb ......don't start.........heh heh heh

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Mar 18, 2013 - 09:28pm PT
Localism is one thing, enforcers/regulators are another.

Most climbers are nice and welcoming to visiting climbers regardless of their ability level. In fact, local climbers are usually psyched to give visitors a tour- show off the area and, you know, sandbag ;-)
With surfing, no matter how hard you rip or how respectful you are, you show up at the wrong spot and you'll get hassled/vibed. That kinda sucks.
But then again, I didn't grow up surfing an heirloom "secret" spot that has seen a steady invasion over the years.
I've been hassled just for being out there, in Hawaii, Costa Rica, and California. I usually just stick to the known spots and/or put on my cloaking device.
The fact that most people avoid spots like Nubreak, Fullers, Lunada bay, and Silver Strand goes to prove that localism works. Unfortunate but true. Their reputation precedes them.
Hawaii can be a real bummer, especially being blonde. That goes beyond racism!
east side underground

Hilton crk,ca
Mar 18, 2013 - 09:45pm PT
my bro bitd was the "enforcer" at a few of the little dume surf spots, the rock , the hut etc. I remember him "persuading "more than one fellow who had wandered up and paddled out, that they wern't allowed to surf there. Kinda brutal but it kept the line-up mellow. A trip to surf good waves in the middle of LA with only a few guys and no hassels
Credit: east side underground

grew up surfing this spot , when it was heavliy localised, these days , no so bad. just DON"T BE A KOOK! Also, NO SUP, thankyou.
The Warbler

the edge of America
Mar 18, 2013 - 11:02pm PT
My experience has been that the "locals" who are the most vocal aren't true locals, as in born and raised in the town with the particular break in question, but rather outspoken imported wannabe true locals who use excessive aggression and intimidation to compensate for their lack of true localness.

That said, it can be a positive thing, occasionally, if a problem surfer is harassed out of the lineup, but mostly it just fuks up the vibe in the water as much as the offending surfer does.

Lots of surfers in California grew up on the beach with affluent parents and their elitism (localism) is bred into them to a certain extent. Climbers aren't that way so much. Also surfing is more of a performance sport with an audience, namely chicks in their underwear sprawled all over the sand, whereas climbing is, or used to be, mostly done in remote, rugged terrain, with a single partner. The personalities of climbers vs surfers reflect that. I would say that climbers on the average are significantly more intelligent than the average surfer.

Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 18, 2013 - 11:08pm PT
yeah, all true Kevin.
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