Longboard Surfing Fun in Thailand by

Journal Notes

The surf in Thailand can hardly be described as epic or world-class but the beaches here are tropically idyllic and heart-achingly beautiful.......... the water temperatures are of the bath-water warm variety allowing for neoprene free, bikini-clad surfing. At Pakarang, on Thailand's Andaman Sea border, the whole is infused with a laid-back beach culture typified by such things as beach volleyball and ice-cold beers as the sun goes down. The Bob Marley tunes floating out across the beach tread perilously close to creating a surf stereotype cliché but here, somehow, it still works. Unusual characters drift and linger here, as do a few lost souls and those looking to escape the more manufactured Thai beach experience offered at nearby Khao Lak. The whole has a non-permanent traveling circus 'only-for-tonight' feel. Perhaps it is the lopsided bamboo huts, fraying hammocks and that wherever you step there is sand under your feet. Or perhaps it is because on the 26 December 2004 all that was once here – human life and physical structure - was swept away in the cataclysmic tsunami. There is a reason this place is named 'Memories'.

There is no powerful surf here – no gut-wrenching adrenalin-fueled rides – the waves are gutless and small, a stretch even for longboards which can normally manage playtime-size waves, but actually it doesn't matter......here surfing here is about something else. The boards for hire are super battered and very, very old. Mixing in with the Marley soundtrack are the bursts of very frequent laughter and victory whoops, spilling from ocean to beach, as the would-be local surfers frolic in the water. If truth be told, they actually do rather well considering that this very average surf is all they have ever known.

Out here in the mix are bodyboarders, stand up paddle surfers, longboarders like me, body surfers – all in it together......all just simply trying to catch a wave. Not a thought is given towards trying to maintain an uber-cool presence. Nobody cares if you're a good, bad or total novice surfer. Surf snobbery hasn't yet found this place. This refreshing side-step from the often aggressive, testosterone-fueled surf world makes my heart sing. And it teaches me something. As I sit out here on my board watching the fish swim around my dangling legs with the blazing sun spangling the ocean with golden flashes, I experience a moment of profound personal realization. Somewhere along the way I had lost sight that surfing was supposed to be fun. Thailand – which most serious surfers scoff at – had gifted me back my surf smile.

Please  log in  to comment.