6 January, 2015 6 January, 2015

Sunbaked Pelican Blues – by Dave Richards

For a surfer, a holiday without waves is the pits. Dave Richards contemplates this in ‘Sunbaked Pelican Blues’, which is his entry into ‘Write to Surf‘ – our surf journo competition with some epic prizes up for grabs (see below for details).




Don’t pretend like you haven’t been on a holiday that has nothing to do with surfing. Or worse still, knowingly been on a holiday along a stretch of coastline that doesn’t produce any surf.

Putting the whole ocean aside and packing for a trip of this kind is somewhat pleasant; clothing and essentials are thrown in, your cellphone charger, a case of beer or a bottle of something harder, some painkillers for the morning after, maybe a tent and a bag of firewood, a toothbrush, your rape alarm if travelling alone, and some other poison of your choice if you’ve decided to go on a mission to find yourself.

The pleasant part of the experience is having one bag to travel with. That’s about the end of it. I can’t handle hearing travellers complain about how uncomfortable it is travelling; especially with that one inconvenient bag you have to wheel along. Shame, cry me a river and try carrying around a loaded boardbag on top of everything else you would normally travel with. Not to mention the glorious time involved in dragging one of those things onto a sardine-packed bus or train. Or having that taxi driver deny you that much needed lift because you are armed with your shred sticks.


How about having to deal with airline companies charging you for your board bag? Once paid for, you are forced to sign a waiver form. Upon arrival at your destination you collect your foam friends that are now bent, pierced and fractured into the latest AirFlight model.

Did I just pay you to ruin my freshies?

Thank goodness I never chose an airline that actually opened up my board bag and charged for each individual board. Suckers!

I feel sorry for that guy I saw checking-in with his golf clubs at ‘We Open Your Bag, Count, And Charge Per Piece Airlines’. I hope he is as talented as Tiger and only needs to carry around his driver and putter to get the job done. Knobs!

Ok, so the travelling is smooth and you can manage to cruise around with your lone bag, happy and smiling, snapping a few photos while loading them onto Facebook and Instagram. Perhaps holidays without surf are the way to go.


Think about it, we can get on the holiday beers at any time without worrying about whether or not the change in tide is going to turn the surf into absolute perfection. I mean, how many of those surf trips have you been on when the waves are only ever good at stupid o’clock in the morning? You have to wake up each and every day in pain, crying on the paddle-out because you had one beverage too many the night before. After all, you are on holiday. Then for your efforts, like clockwork, the wind turns onshore and co-incidently so starts the hangover. What a combo.

I have always wondered, what do people who don’t surf do when they go on holiday? Actually, what do people who don’t surf do in everyday life?

So after the smooth travelling, we are finally in paradise and there are no waves at all. Let’s try to relax and do what every other tourist does on their holiday. Let’s soak up the sun.


Laying in the sun baking myself into a raisin is not exactly my cup of tea. What a shit idea. Laying still and getting uncomfortably hot and dehydrated and most definitely burnt (thanks to some of my Scottish heritage) doesn’t sound like a fun activity. Once burnt, I peel and return to my original colour. No tan. It’s a lose/lose situation for me. No thanks.

I know most true surfers will agree with me, that putting a surfer onto a beach to relax is like that inconvenient hard-on you tried hiding while at school attending PE swimming classes in your speedo. It’s awkward. It’s engrained into all of us. Once we find ourselves on the beach, we start eyeing-out the best peak and automatically start getting excited to paddle out. The pre-surf psych-up is just as amping as being in the water.

Put a surfer on the beach and remove this whole process and you might as well teleport yourself to that moment you called your mate something racist while your maid was standing behind you. Uncomfortable.


A surfer on a beach without a board is like a paranoid addict. Why do you think so many surfers hanging out on the beach smoke the giggle twig? It’s uncomfortable being in the shred zone without your shred tools. If you are not understanding me, try going to a job interview for a position you know nothing about. It’s that feeling when you are trying to answer those questions while trying to play it as cool as a cucumber. Damn, cucumbers are cool.

If you’re a regular waverider, you will understand what I mean when I say that once we are in the water and have had a few waves then everything goes back to normal. You feel grounded even though you are floating. It all makes sense.

Keep focused. There is a reason you left firing waves at home to do a non-surf trip. Is it to try something different? Why? Is it because you cruising with a woman you really into? Seriously, it has only been a month and you’re already sacrificing your sole purpose in life just to get slotted.

Whatever the reason, your mind and body will remind you that your blood runs salty. Maybe we need trips like this every now and then to remind ourselves that doing man turns is all we need in life. Maybe not.


Next time you are contemplating a holiday without waves, remember that moment when you sat toasting yourself at the shores edge, watching those annoying ripples run onto the sand. You started mind surfing ant-size tsunamis that lasted about half a second each before closing out. By fine-tuning the speed of your mind surfing, you manage to squeeze in a couple turns. Isn’t this the moment you reminded yourself to never do a holiday without waves again?

Look up, none of your mates are around. What happened? You invited all of them and no-one was keen. No shit. No waves equal no mates to share the trip with. Period!

So, unless you’re looking to hang out with people you have no interest in and enjoy feeling like an awkward pelican, then holidays without waves are just for you.

Click here to check out all the entries so far >>


Send your stories to calvin@zigzag.co.za. One submission will be selected every six weeks to appear in Zigzag magazine. The selected submission will also receive a hamper from Billabong. Zigzag retains the right to use any work submitted for the Zag Surf Journo competition on zigzag.co.za as outlined in the rules and terms of the competition. Zigzag reserves the right not to award a published winner in the magazine every six weeks, depending on the quality of entries. Zigzag is not obligated to run any and all entries submitted, either online or in print. Zigzag retains the right to edit all work submitted for brevity and / or clarity.

For the next three issues the Billabong prize hamper includes: 1 x Billabong Wetsuit; 1 x Billabong Boardies; 1 x Billabong Cap; 1 x Von Zipper Sunnies; 1 x Set of Kinetic Racing (KR) fins. After which the hamper will get a shake-up with new product of equal value for the following three issues.


1 Comment

  1. Jasper
    6 January, 2015 at 11:58 am · Reply


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