(Feb. 12, 2021) Crummy surf. It’s an issue that any surfer has to face, anywhere in the world, but all too often on the East Coast of the United States.

Due to the predominant pattern of weather in the Northern Hemisphere and other particular features of our geography we are frequently dealing with this notion of crummy surf.

So what to do? Some will move to another locale with better surf, regarding either quantity, quality or both. Some will quit altogether, but most will deal with it, hopefully being able to take occasional trips to better surf areas.

There’s always been the idea that if one wants to improve or even maintain as a surfer he or she will go out in crummy conditions if only to be more ready when it does get good.

Even a beginner will subscribe to this practice of going out in less-than-stellar conditions in a quest to become more proficient in learning how.

One can argue that surfing in crummy conditions will sharpen one’s skills and have them be able to react to more nuances in sloppy, windblown, not-so-good surf that all too often we are subjected to.

The best way to get better or at least maintain a decent level is to spend as much time as possible in the water. Sure, there are going to be surf specific, out-of-the-water exercises that one can employ. General physical fitness is always an overall good idea to live a quality life and it would naturally pertain to surfing.

But it all comes together in the water, regardless of the conditions, crummy or perfect. It’s easier to surf in “perfect” conditions though even so one still has to paddle and have good wind and breath holding ability.

Even equipment comes into play. Everything seems to work well in the best of conditions but some boards are better suited to slop and can even mitigate the “crummiest” of bad surf.

Wetsuits, too, can become a factor. Generally, the colder the water and air the more wetsuit one will have to utilize.

Hypothermia can become a serious problem and is best to be avoided. More and thicker wetsuit gear is going to demand better physical conditioning, once again making the argument to utilize the crummy surf that comes our way.

So there it is. More than a notion or occasional idea, crummy surf will be a constant in a surfer’s life.

In some areas, it is better left alone because better conditions will occur in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury too often.

There’s times when if one doesn’t go out in crummy surf they might not surf for a month or more.

Trying to maintain a consistency and familiarity seems to be the best way to go. When all is said and done, there’s no substitute for spending time in the water, even in crummy surf.

– Dave Dalkiewicz is the owner of Ocean Atlantic Surf Shop in Ocean City.

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