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Many sports carry with them a particular culture, from clothing to vernacular – surfing is no different. You might be familiar with the term ‘poser’ associated with skateboarding and other sports. According to Urban Dictionary, this means “someone who pretends to be someone whose not” and “someone who tries to fit in but with exaggeration” In the world of surfing, we call this type of person a ‘kook’.
As a beginner surfer, you might be worried about looking like a kook or may have heard the term and want to avoid classic kook behaviour. In this post, we take a look at the defining characteristics, behaviours and looks of a kook surfer so you can avoid it at all costs.
As always if you visit the Croyde surf school – Surfing Croyde Bay, your instructor will give you plenty of tips to avoid looking like a kook.
While being a poser often means looking foolish to other members of the community, posers at skateparks aren’t interfering with anyone else’s experience or fun. Unfortunately, surfers need to share surf spots and waves and are responsible for each other’s safety in the ocean. A kook can ruin the surfing experience for others by failing to observe surf etiquette, not having the required level of skill to surf a specific spot, or acting recklessly and endangering other surfers.
It is not only beginner surfers that can be kooks, but even some intermediate surfers also exhibit kook-ish behaviour, because they have an inflated ego and perception of their skill level. A good example is an intermediate surfer who boldly surfs an expert spot with the wrong timing, equipment and plan, making themselves look foolish and well, like a kook.S
Surf culture can be unforgiving, and usually where someone pretends to be a surfer but in reality is not, will definitely be called a kook. Kooks are often easy to spot, wearing popular surf brands, carrying a surfboard everywhere they go, and posting pictures on Instagram next to a board or the ocean. However, being a kook doesn’t always mean being a pretender – even experienced surfers can act like kooks. For example, a pro surfer who needs a point from a judge catching a last-minute wave? Kook behaviour. An experienced weekend surfer wearing all the wrong gear for the surf conditions? Kookish.
Similarly, beginner surfers don’t need to suffer life as a kook until they master the sport. All surfers make genuine mistakes, wipeout and accidentally irritate other surfers. It’s part of surf life. Being a kook has a lot to do with attitude, respect for the sport, and respect for other surfers around you.
A list of kook behaviours to avoid:
Basically, kooks are oddities who disrespect the nobility of surfing as a sport. They can be wannabe pre-beginner surfers basking in surf culture. Alternatively, they may be surfers who act carelessly or demonstrate rude behaviour to other surfers. Kooks may fail to learn about everything the sport requires (conditions, equipment, etiquette) or have an inflated sense of their own skill level. You don’t want to be called a kook, so make sure you understand surf culture, rules, equipment and your own abilities. If in doubt, it is always better to ask an experienced surfer than risk ruining their surf experience and getting labelled a kook – it can be hard to come back from.