How to be a Kook
originally published in The Beachside Resident

Kook \kük\ (n): 1 one whose ideas or actions are eccentric, fantastic, or insane 2 in surfing parlance, a beginner.

Step 1: Head to your nearest surf-megaplex.

Need directions? Easy--just drive east from Orlando and follow the billboards. If your surf-megaplex has advertisements on the highway, it’s sure to carry the equipment you need. Weekends are your best chance to find primo boards… and, lucky for you, the gnarliest waves!

Step 2: Rent your board.

Top quality surfboards are usually kept in the back for expert surfers, so you’ll need to talk savvy. A good opening line might be, “Buoys are rocking, brah, I guess I’ll need a blue beast.” If the salesman asks for clarification, lean in conspiratorially and say, “I’ll take the biggest board in your quiver, dude. And the more fins the better.” This should convince him; he will lead you to his stash.

Step 3: Select your wetsuit.

Rubber stretches over time, so you’ll want an older wetsuit for better maneuverability. Request one size larger than the salesman suggests. If he asks you to try it on, say, “No time, dude, I gotta catch me some bitchin’ barrels before the wind switches offshore!” (Wetsuit tip: Always urinate in your wetsuit the moment you zip it up. This “dry-pee technique” will help you retain body heat for your killer session.)

Step 4: Locate your secret surf spot.

No worries, brah! Below is a list of the most top secret, most killer, kook-friendly surf beaches within driving distance from Orlando, with detailed directions to each. (Editor’s note: we have, after some consideration, decided to leave out the directions.)

Ponce Inlet; Canaveral Pier; Coconuts on the Beach; 2nd Light; RC’s; Indialantic Boardwalk; Sebastian Inlet; Spanish House

Sebastian Inlet is by far the most consistent wave, and well worth the extra drive time (hey, throw down a six-pack on the way home!), but any of these spots will do in a pinch. When in doubt, remember: The bigger the crowd, the better the waves!

Step 5: Don your gear.

More than likely your wetsuit will have a zipper in the front. Always try it on this way first. If you are still unsure, ask a fellow surfer how it looks. You will need his assistance anyway. Never try to zip up a wetsuit by yourself. Once you are zipped up and peed out, lay your surfboard flat on the asphalt and stand on top of the deck. If you are feeling adventurous, walk to the nose and “hang ten.” This is sure to impress any onlookers. Now that you are comfortable with your surfboard, strap on your leash. (The leash goes on the leg opposite from your carrying arm. If you carry the board over your head, the leash should go on your left foot.)

Step 6: Paddle out.

A true kook won’t break stride from the parking lot to the ocean. If you see other surfers sitting on the crossover and watching the waves, don’t talk to them. They’re probably posers, anyway… give them the stinkeye. If the waves look daunting, don’t worry — they always look bigger from the beach. Never hesitate — always go for it! Expert tip: The easiest paddle-out is always where the crowd is thickest; this is where the channel is. If the waves are big, you might have a tough time paddling all the way to the outside. But be persistent. When a set wave or another surfer comes toward you, ditch your board, dive as deep as you can, wait it out, then reel in your leash, climb back on, and keep on paddling. Eventually there will be a lull in the sets. If not, set up shop on the inside.

Step 7: Cowabunga!

Now that you’re out in the lineup, show everyone how radical you are by catching the first wave that comes your way. (You’ll know a wave is good if another surfer is paddling for it.) Lay down on your stomach and stroke as fast as you can toward shore; when you feel the wave begin to take you, pop up on one knee, then one foot, then both feet. Important: stance is everything. If you study pictures of big wave chargers at Mavericks or Sunset, you’ll notice the feet set wide apart, the knees bent 90 degrees. This pose, known as the “stinkbug,” is the most balanced position, and will distinguish you as a master-class surfer.

Step 8: Claim it.

After a sick ride, or after a sick takeoff followed by a sick wipeout, the proper etiquette is to “claim” your wave by whooping, pumping your fists over your head, giving the double-middle-finger salute, and shouting obscenities to anyone within earshot. Other surfers who were paddling for your wave might even show their respect by echoing your sentiments.

Step 9: Carry it with you.

Don’t leave it out in the water. The spirit of kookdom should flow into your everyday life, in the way you lean up against your car while texting a honey (“tore it up @ da lite 2day”), in the careful sideways tilt of your hat, in the Salt Life and Volcom stickers on your car, in the sparkle of your earrings, or the way you flick your Parliaments out your window, or how you casually toss empty cans of Natty Light on the dunes before going into the strip club after a vigorous half-hour session.

Most of all, keep at it. It can take months to find the ideal facial expression that shows just how badass you are while sitting on your board or driving down A1A. And it could be years before you perfect your drop-in technique. Remember, you’re hardcore now. Show some swagger, kook!