So You Want to Date a Surfer?? - The Surfer's Response

Posted February 2014

I thought we should revisit this topic as I felt a male surfer's perspective should be shared. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed Kristin's article and thought it was accurate for the most part (obviously, I have to say that on the record, but I actually think so too). Nevertheless, there are a few things I would like to clarify and add.

Note: I know that there are lots of female surfers these days but this article primarily refers to surfers and their non-surfing girlfriends.

I think it's best you open Kristin's article in another window for reference. I'll carry on along the same categories she chose:


First thing that comes to mind when we hear this word: "Is this wave mine, or someone else's?" There is a pretty complex set of rules to determine priority in the lineup, just like in life and in our relationships. Making time for all the things you love requires sacrifice, whether it's missing your friend's party for a date night or missing date night because the swell was pumping!

Girlfriends may complain that their partner is always out surfing, stays in the water too long, is busy checking swell charts, etc. Whatever your complaints, trust me: he dedicates A LOT less time to his first love now that you are in his life.

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I'm not embarrassed that I put my new surfboards on my bed when I first get them. I don't sleep with them in there or anything. It's just so they'll feel welcome in their new home! What's wrong with that?!

Don't worry, that new board is not the most important thing in a surfer's life. That would be like making a father choose their favorite child, they're all equal.

Water Wavelength

This is a basic understanding. If you want to date a surfer and don't like the ocean and/or beach, it's probably going to be awkward for you both. I personally love activities outside the ocean as well, but the water will always be number one in terms of where I want to be.

This goes for any relationship and passion: If your partner just wants to lay on the couch and watch TV all day and you love hiking, how's that going to work?

Cranky Pants

Note to self: act more crabby so Kristin forces me to go surfing!!

Surfers start feeling a bit like fish out of water when the surf is flat. It's bad enough if other commitments like work are taking away water time, but it's terrible when you have time and the surf is flat! If you're dating a surfer, pay attention when your partner says the surf will be bad all next week or research for yourself. Jump on the opportunity for some extra 'together time' and suggest other activities you can do together to distract him from the lack of surf. It's a win-win.

Surfer's Widow

Surfers are smart. When the conditions are good, they will take full advantage by cramming as many hours of surfing into their schedule as possible. This may leave girlfriends hanging out on the beach or home alone. Like they say, "absence makes the heart grow fonder". All couples need their time apart.

Don't want to sit on the beach? Enjoy your alone time doing what you like to do! You can even make a deal with your partner: he gets his surf time when the waves are good, and spends extra time with you when it's not.

By the way, this whole 'left at the beach until nighttime' mentioned in the previous article is a bit misrepresented. The surfer didn't snap back until he was tired of apologizing for the entire fifteen minutes the girlfriend was carrying on about how late it was. Plus, there were still plenty of guys out there!!

Is that bad to be left on the beach when you're enjoying views like this?

Patience is indeed a virtue

Surfers have a lot of patience, how do you think we can sit around in the lineup for hours waiting for waves? Still, surfers do get a bit irritable. It's annoying when you delay them from leaving for a surf, especially when knowing full well in advance that they were planning to leave at a specific time. Then, you want to play 20 questions as they are on their way out the door?!

Think about all the things you do that also test your surfing partner's patience? Do you think we like waiting in those perfume-filled stores while you decide between two identical white t-shirts?

Surf 24/7 

OK, this one's pretty much true. Instead of complaining, just think that any time you get to spend with your surfer should be considered special!

Blatant self promotion. It's true, surfers love photos of themselves!

Surf Shutterbug 

Surfer's won't force their girlfriends to take photos of them surfing, but they may suggest it. Surfers do like photos of themselves doing what they love, but usually not the ones their girlfriends take (unless they are really good!). The truth is, surfers ask their girlfriends to take photos as a distraction. We want you to feel involved and, more importantly, occupied while we're out in the water.


The world has surfers to thank for discovering and popularizing a lot of locations these days. Just think of all the awesome places that happen to have great surf? 

Surfers love to travel, so their girlfriends are best to like it too. Plus, if your surfing boyfriend is willing to let you come along on his surf trip, you should feel fortunate as many would rather go with their buddies!

The main thing to be wary of is how surfers travel. Most surfers, myself included, don't travel luxuriously. If you're into 5-star hotels and first-class flights, or even basic amenities like proper toilets, AC, etc., you'll probably want to pass on joining some surf trips.

Surfer Lingo

Surfers do have an interesting vernacular. It's not really hard to pick up on, but if you don't surf than you really don't need to know what's being said. Your surfing boyfriend doesn't want you to start talking like him and his buddies anyway. There are few things funnier or more embarrassing than a non-surfer trying to talk like one.

By the way, Bill and Ted!? Seriously? Ladies, watch North Shore. This will provide you with the most important terminologies your boyfriend is using, and what he means when he calls Bill and Ted (and maybe you) "barnyards".

Tunnel Vision

Surfers may get a bit engrossed in online forecasts and zone out for a few minutes. They may miss one of the dozens of things you are trying to say to them during this short period of time, or may simply choose not to respond. Regardless, it will seem like a long time to you. This is probably because you've lost track of time reading celebrity gossip on TMZ or something.

Danger Factor 

I'll just leave this one because it makes me, and all surfers, sound like badasses!

Surfing Partners

There's also an interesting argument whether surfers want a girlfriend that surfs. Why not?! I've heard plenty of guys saying it's such a hassle to look after your girlfriend instead of chasing your own waves, to deal with other surfers dropping in on your girlfriend, or to surf spots you dislike because they suit your girlfriend's level, etc.

I personally love that Kristin is excited about surfing. No, she's not suited nor interested in surfing the types of waves that I do, but it makes me happy to share my love of the sport with her and see her enjoy herself in the water.

Sometimes I surf with her at her spot (to show my support) but often, we go on our own and meet up afterwards for lunch or a beer break. She lets me get my fill of waves where and when I want, so it's no problem.

Best beginner waves in Bali includes the right at Padang Padang beach on the Bukit Peninsula

I really think though that it's important for surfer's girlfriends to try surfing, if only to understand what their partner does and why. While the professional make it look so easy, it's not. You will not take one surf lesson and be ripping. Still, it's fun and challenging exercise. Whether you end up doing it or not, at least you'll learn a little appreciation of your partner's passion. 

Surfing is really a lifestyle. Surfers naturally want to live as near the ocean as possible, choose jobs that allow enough water time, and often plan holidays around scoring some waves. Surfing is becoming increasingly attractive to the mainstream, probably because of people's belief that surfers are 'cool' and that they will be too after a few lessons (this is a topic for another time). 

So you want to date a surfer? No problem, just don't get in the way of their passion. The same goes for any person who loves something the way surfers love the ocean, the sport, and the lifestyle.

Surfers love surfing, and they love their partners just the same.

Copyright © 2022 :: Michael Horton
Copyright © 2022 :: Michael Horton