The Pack Instinct

My last session was on a Saturday morning – a small, clean swell caressing the groynes, sandbars and piers of my local spots. Given the fact there was probably only enough swell to last one tide, there were limited options for enjoying this late Autumn present from the surf gods.

So I headed to one of the best known local spots to see a pack of about 40 shortboarders, longboarders and sweepers jostling for the waves. What to do, I thought? Pump up my testosterone and get in there, glowering and snaking? Err, no – not my style. So I stopped a few hundred yards away, at another well known local spot, albeit a well-known gay cruising spot where groynes were also being caressed. Getting suited and booted at speed while avoiding the glances of other fellows in the car park, I paddled out to enjoy an hour of surf with only 5 others. I got infinitely more, albeit slightly smaller, waves than if I’d gone in at the crowded spot up the road.

Are surfers naturally pack animals? If so, is that why the most aggressive tend to rise to the top of the pecking order for waves, like our furrier brothers and sister mammals? What does it say about the lone wolves who prefer to ride emptier waves? Are we outcasts? Or have I had too many ice cream headaches and I’m just writing rubbish?

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  • not yesterday
  • Inverted perceptions
  • Exotic location
  • Standing stones
  • Surrealism
  • Vapourous ships of the dawn
  • Metal detectors behind me
  • Hands up this is a stick up
  • It's behind you
  • Stiff offshore
  • First drop in temperature for weeks
  • Towers of rain
  • Great anvils of moisture
  • The architect of the tide
  • Bird botherer
  • Serene scene

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