Significant others who surf

Years ago when I was living in Cornwall, a surfer I knew explained to me why he would never go out with a chick who surfed,

I go surfing all the time. I talk about surfing all the time. Why would I want to talk to my girlfriend about it too?

I have often remembered and thought about his comment, but I don’t know if other surfing folk feel overwhelmingly the same way. Certainly, it seems to work differently with women. The women I know who surf are all pretty keen that their partner surfs too. It seems to make surfing a lot easier for them.

I’ve heard quite a few of my girlfriends talk about how they would find it hard to go out with someone who didn’t surf. They’ve told me how they’ve had partners who didn’t understand when they wanted to get up early and get in the ocean or when they want to just surf all weekend. Their significant others get jealous – especially if they’re boys. I’ve had girlfriends who’ve managed to convince their boyfriends to learn to surf and have organised to get them a board and to teach them, which is cool. But other women find it difficult to negotiate the ways that their surfing impacts on their relationship and vice versa. I’ve talked a bit about that before, but it’s something I’m still mulling over and still hearing people talk about…

I know lots of guys have the same kinds of experiences with relationships, although I’ve noticed many of my male friends end up with non-surfers. Maybe women (straight or otherwise) have a bigger surfing pool to paddle in, but still, it doesn’t necessarily seem to be such a point of contention with guys as it does for women. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever seen some girl’s boyfriend sitting on the beach waiting while she surfs! Unless he’s watching the kids so she gets a turn in the waves as well – sharing waves and sharing parenting*.

In fact, as I think about it, I can’t think of any of my girlfriends who have a partner who doesn’t (or in one case, didn’t used to) surf. It’s usually something that they are able to share together and although they’ll often compromise and surf different breaks some of the time, they also get to hang out and share waves, boards, experiences and friendships with each other, which is pretty cool I reckon.

It’s such a nice thing to be able to go surfing with the people you love.

* Tiffany Campbell has a nice scene about this is her film Dear & Yonder.

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