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Waves and Scarcity


This is a great article about sharing, happiness and manners in the water.

I’ve had this idea for a while, and have even referenced it a couple of times in SURFING, but never really flushed it out. It’s the theory that we act so shitty in the water because of scarcity. You remember scarcity. The economic term you learned in middle school to explain that there aren’t enough resources to satisfy all human wants and needs. People often use is to justify monetary greed, like, hey there’s only so much money out there so I’m going to beg, borrow and steal to get mine. But let’s think about it for a moment in terms of waves.

Good waves are scarce. The swell, wind and tide all need to align — during daylight hours — during a time that works with your personal schedule. And even with all of that, you then need to compete with other people that want the same thing, and are in a hurry “get theirs” out of fear that any of the aforementioned variables will change unfavorably and their opportunity will be gone. So we hassle. We burn. We bark.


One of the reasons I really like kiting. I rarely have the patience to surf in a line up on a reef break, too much waiting and arguing for my tastes.

Kiting lets me get way out into the big waves quickly, and there’s plenty of waves. Even if a certain break gets a little busy, it’s a quick tack or two to get to the next break, and there’s 9 miles of breaks on the north shore in the winter.

This may change if kiting gets more popular, but usually the only scarcity while kiting waves is a buddy to help launch and land, and maybe to help drag in the debris when you loose it in a big wave.

I think this is why I find kiters to be generally pretty friendly when you travel, vs surfers tend to be a bit more insular. Could be just me though. :smile: