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16 October 2014
Wales Surfing - Learn

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A kook


A spotters guide to kooks and the various manoeuvres to watch out for...


'kook'- a bad surfer or someone learning to surf

We've all been there... unless you were fortunate enough to have been born a seal or dolphin.

The world of the kook has always been a bit of an unknown entity, a twilight zone where day and night co-exist, with often terrible consequences.

How to spot a kook

On land, kooks can often blend in successfully with other surfers. Lets face it everyone looks the same nowadays and surf fashion = high street fashion.

It's inevitable however that they will eventually slip up and the results can be spectacular.

These include - putting their wetsuit on back to front, wearing their boots on the outside of their wetsuit and waxing the bottom of their surfboard.

The kooks favoured weapon is normally something with plenty of float such as a longboard or mini mal which are difficult to carry and a nightmare to duck dive.

Surfing's very own 'natural selection' prevents kooks from ever getting any further out than the white water. Be mindful of this when entering the water and try to dodge the carnage of boards and bodies.

80's kook Mart in fluro
Kooks could often be spotted wearing hilarious fluro wetsuits but sadly nowadays, surf fashion dictates what they wear but the ability to shock still remains

It's not unheard of to see them turning up at the beach in winter, wearing just a shorty without gloves or boots.

Alternatively they might don a hood in the middle of summer and wear colourful board shorts or rash vests on the outside of their wetsuits.

I once witnessed a kook in mid winter wearing a shorty and 'skull cap' whilst supping a can of pre-surf lager?

In the water, kooks have nowhere to hide. The wheat is quickly separated from the chaff as a large, set wave approaches.

Keep an eye out for the blind panic and fear in their eyes and see who follows you, when paddle quickly towards the dark horizon.

Out in the surf, look out for the following kook stances:

Big Wave Stance:Adopted by big wave hero's in Hawaii as a fail safe method for maintaining balance, whilst surfing 20ft+ waves - this has become a firm favourite of the kook fraternity.

The rider stands up on the board with rigid arms, fully extended at right angles to their torso, like aeroplane wings.

The legs are also set wide apart in full, big wave, death stance for maximum balance. They will maintain this pose for the entire ride, never flinching.

Quasimodo: This move can often be seen by kooks on bigger boards looking for 'soul'. Originally from the 50's and 60's it was used sparingly in critical parts of the wave for styling purposes. Nowadays, some kooks have taken this to a higher level and use it for the entire ride.

The rider must hunch over whilst trimming along the wave face - imagine Quasimodo ringing a bell.

Remain hunched, head down and motionless for the entire ride paying no unnecessary attention to what the wave ahead may be doing and fall off at the end.

Bonus points are awarded when the lip of the wave hits the rider square on the head whilst still adopting the stance.

the proposal by Jay

The Proposal: This one's come over from Northern Ireland. It's described as 'mannerly, old school and down on one knee'.

Dog: An old favourite - this one is a real crowd pleaser. Rarely seen nowadays due to surf schools teaching people properly.

It involves the rider, slowly climbing onto the board on all fours like a dog. Seeing a surfer taking the drop whilst on all fours and then riding the face is something very special indeed and should be on every surfers 'to do' list.

Bi-Pod Stance: Involves getting up onto the board gradually, by moving your front leg up into a kneeling position. Once one knee is stable, the rider will attempt to bounce up onto the other leg and stand up.

This technique often fails in bigger surf as the drop can be too violent causing the surfer to nose dive the board.

Remember, kooks cannot help it. If you see one, offer some words of encouragement and remember - we were all kooks once.

Read some real life kook confessions.

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