FROM: ric.harwood.u$
Newsgroups: alt.surfing,
From: Ric Harwood <ric.harwood.u$>
Subject: FAQ: alt.surfing

Archive name:
Posting-frequency: Monthly
Last-modified: 9 February 2000
Changes: Minor.
Version: 4.3.0.

alt.surfing FAQ version 4.3.1.

This FAQ is a response to some of the questions Frequently Asked and Answered in alt.surfing. If the information is available elsewhere a pointer is provided.

It is crossposted to for the information of readers in this group, but is no way intended to be or become the FAQ for this or any other groups. However if readers of other groups wish me to include any group in future postings please say so in a follow-up and I will be happy to do so.

I am far from being an expert in most of the subjects presented below, most of the information is a condensation of my reading of alt.surfing with contributions from others. It is provided without any express or implied warranties.

While every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, the maintainer assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.

New sections and changes are marked with a #.

The archive version is available in html and text format. -- Ric



  1. Netiquette for the group.
    1.1.1. What's on topic and what isn't?
    1.1.2. Advertising policy.
    1.1.3. Web Page Advertising policy
    1.1.4. Complaining about SPAM or adverts.
   1.2. Posting binaries.
    1.2.1. Why not to post binaries.
    1.2.2. How to share your pictures.
   1.3. Follow-ups.
    1.3.1. cc: by mail.
    1.3.2. Quoting text.
    1.3.3. Capitals.
   1.4 Other newsgroups.

  2. Waves.
   2.1. Good books about waves.
   2.2. How do you measure wave height?
   2.3. How to predict surf.
   2.4. Estimating tide rise and fall.

  3. Weather.
   3.1. What is the El-Nino?
   3.2. What effect does the El-Nino have on the surf?

  4. Surf boards.
   4.1. How to chose a surf board.
   4.2. How to make a surf board.
   4.3. How to repair a surf board.
   4.4. Epoxy surf boards.
   4.5. How do I get the wax off my board?
   4.6. Who invented the Thruster?
   4.7. Tips for flying with surfboards.
   4.8. Which way do/should you strap your board to your roof
4.9. What do you surf?

  5. Surfing.
   5.1. Learning to surf.
   5.2. Soul surfing.
   5.3. Who has right of way?

  6. Health.
   6.1. Surfers Ear.
   6.2. Surfing with contact lenses.
   6.3. Sea lice.
   6.4. Suncare
   6.5. Swimmers Ear
   6.6. How many surfers are attacked by sharks?

  7. Internet resources for Surfers.
   7.1. Web Sites.
   7.2. Email Lists.
    7.2.1. OffTheLip UK Surf Discussion List.
    7.2.2. Surfers Mailing List - Maui.
   7.3. Newsgroup Archives.
   7.4. WWW message Boards.
   7.5. Pictures to download.

  8. Surf spots around the world.
    8.1.1. Is there any surf in best place to surf in Europe?
    8.1.2. Can you surf the Severn Bore?
    8.1.3. What is the Severn Bore?
   8.2. Is there any surf in...

  9. Keep it clean - Tips for the Nearshore Environment.
   9.1. How do I get hold of Surfrider Foundation or Surfers Against Sewage?
   9.2. What do the guys & gals at SAS or the Surfrider Foundation do?
   9.3. How do I remove my old wax and dispose of it safely?
   9.4. What is non-point source pollution and why should I care?
   9.5. Is it safe to surf close to storm drains or river mouths/outlets?
   9.6. Where can I report people illegally dumping stuff into the ocean?
   9.7. Does a groin/jetty really make my favorite break a pipeline?
   9.8. Why is my beach losing sand?
   9.9. How can I keep the damage low when camping at the beach?

  10. World Surf Day
   10.1 What is Word Surf Day?
   10.2 When is world surf day?
   10.3 Where are the World Surf Day reports archived?
   10.4 What alt.surfers have you met In Real Life?

11 What 'celebrities' surf?

1. Alt.surfing netiquette.

1.1.1 What's on topic and what isn't?

The discussion of any aspects of surfing is on topic.

Surf reports and tales from the beach are particularly encouraged. The speed of news propagation means that they are likely to be out of date with respect to any particular beach or swell by the time that they are received. This may be good or bad depending on your perspective. They are however the lifeblood of the group.

alt.surfing is not dedicated to any particular type of wave riding vehicle. Reasoned discussion of the relative merits of any, none or all types of surf craft is considered acceptable and the strong views sometimes expressed add a great deal of colour to the group The unreasonable condemnation of posters or surfers who use surf craft different from your own is off topic and usually results in the poster being flamed. [An observation rather than a recommendation.]

  1.1.2 Advertising policy.

Adverts for non surfing related products or services, SPAM and "Make money fast" type articles are *off*topic* for the group. They are also counter to general Usenet Netiquette and the Acceptable Use Policies of most Internet Service Providers. The posting of such articles tends to lead to complaints to the posters ISP.

Commercial adverts for surfing products are *not* acceptable. alt.surfing is a discussion group and such adverts are not welcome. Readers of the group are encouraged to "remind" offenders of this.

Please read the FAQ:
"Advertising on Usenet: How To Do It, How Not To Do It"
posted regularly to news.answers and archived at:

One off personal/classified type adverts have been voted as acceptable, however do remember that while the readership of the group is large it is also global, therefore the chance of an advert being read by someone who is both interested in what you wish to sell and physically near enough to meet you is quite small. A small-ad in a local paper is likely to be more successful!

UK Surfers may wish to use the A1 Surf Classifieds page at

If you do advertise in the group please indicate your state/county in the title. This will both attract people who may be interested and allow others to skip it. If you are able to add a Distribution: header to your post this is also good Netiquette.

    1.1.3 One off adverts for *new* surfing related web sites or other internet services are acceptable. Please do not repeatedly post adverts. It is likely to annoy and thus have the opposite effect to that desired. The best way to advertise is to add your URL to your .signature and play an active part in the group.

If you feel that these restrictions are unreasonable there is nothing to prevent you from taking the proper course of action and starting a new newsgroup, such as

    1.1.4 Complaining about SPAM or adverts.

If having read this document and the FAQ: "Advertising on Usenet: How To Do It, How Not To Do It" posted regularly to news.answers and archived at: you feel that people are advertising unreasonably in alt.surfing you may feel the need to complain. While Usenet is an anarchy it is not without rules. There is no net.police or government, it is up to the readers of any particular forum to decide the acceptable behaviour of their little corner, and to enforce it. [This does not amount to censorship as anyone can start their own group and make up their own rules.]

Strongly off topic posts, SPAM [posting duplicate articles to many groups,] and Velveeta [excessive cross posting] are termed net.abuse, and most Internet Access Providers have an "Acceptable Use Policy" that prohibits this. The accepted response to net.abuse is to reply to the address listed in the From: and Reply-To: lines of the post, plus a cc: to the newsmaster@, postmaster@, root@ abuse@ of the domains that post appears to have originated from. This usually includes the source provider, even if the From: and Reply-to: lines have been forged. Forward the *entire* message, including *all* headers, as ISP's can use them to track down forgers.

You may wish to attach the advertising FAQ listed above.

Mail bombing the offenders is also considered net.abuse and is not encouraged. "Two wrongs do not make a right". If all those offended by any particular net.abuse complain to the poster and their ISP then both are likely to take notice.

If you are very interested in the prevention of net.abuse then you should read some of the groups in the* hierarchy.

1.2 The Posting of Binaries.

Many people do enjoy seeing pictures of contributors out doing their stuff, however posting encoded files to alt.surfing is not the way to share them.

  1.2.1 Why the posting of binaries to alt.surfing is not encouraged:

A) It is not a binary group, thus they are off topic, thus amount to net.abuse, see above.
B) A typical picture is as long as several days of standard news feed for this group.
C) Some people do not have the option of reviewing headers before downloading messages therefore may have no choice about receiving it.
D) Some people have to pay online and/or telecoms charges to retrieve news, so they pay for the unwanted material.
E) All news servers have a finite capacity, some small, others large. When a server fills up, it dumps the older messages. Because binaries are so much larger than text messages, many small servers don't accept them at all, just to save space and allow room for text messages. So when a large binary gets sent to a non-binary newsgroup, those servers dump many more text messages to make room. It may dump some messages you wanted to see before you are able to download them, or it may dump messages you wrote before your intended audience sees them. (by Tom Keener)
F) Some of the contributors impacted by the posting of binaries are valued contributors to this group. We do not wish to lose their input.

  1.2.2 How to share your pictures with everyone that is interested.

You can post them to which was created for this purpose. Then post a pointer to alt.surfing stating the title of the message and some details so that readers can decide whether to retrieve it. You may wish to view this groups FAQ on

To achieve better distribution place your pictures on a number of web or ftp sites so that they can be retrieved by those who wish to view them.

Free server space is available from a number of organisations. Such as and where you can upload your pictures for those interested to see.

1.3. Follow-ups

   1.3.1. cc: by mail

When a news article follow-up is copied to the author by email the email often arrives hours to days before the post appears in the news list. This can be helpful if a rapid response is desired, but if not the recipient is then likely to at first understand that the  reply was not intended for public notice. This can lead either to subsequent replies not being shared with the group, or the poster having to repeat the reply in the newsgroup when the follow-up appears in the group.

  1.3.2. Quoting text

When following-up a message please include only as much of the original to put your response into context. Remember that some people have to pay either their IAP or teleo for their online time. It is annoying to download and read again a 171 line follow-up to a 170 line story when the only added text is a "Good story, thanks" on the end, however valid and appreciated the response is. Please snip the unnecessary material.

  1.3.3. Capitals

Using capital letters for whole words, subjects or posts is the email and usenet version of 'SHOUTING'. This is useful when appropriate, but shouting your entire message is considered to be
rude. It also makes it harder to read. Please don't do it.

  1.4 Other newsgroups.

There are also:

and a number of email lists. See section 7.2.

2. Waves

2.1 Good books about waves.

A very easy to follow text is:
Waves, Tides and Shallow Water Processes,
The Open University, 1989-1994.
Pergamon Press.
ISBN 0-08-036371-7

The standard oceanographic text is:

Introductory Dynamical Oceanography, 2nd Ed. 1983
Pond S. and Pickard G.L.
Butterworth-Heineman Ltd, [Reed Elseiver]
ISBN 0-7506-2496-5

Also highly recommended:

Waves and Beaches.
Willard Bascom.

There is a 300k zipped text file listing citation and abstract of
hundreds of published scientific papers on ocean waves, formation
and breaking available at:

2.2 How do you measure wave height?

"in increments of bullshit." - (sponge)

There are lots of different methods of judging wave size.

There are a couple of threads discussing this in the alt.surfing

A lot depends on what is customary in your part of the world. Scientifically we use meters, peak to trough, but at the beach that is pretty meaningless because everyone else there is using different 'scale', and each area has it's own scale. [almost, but not quite entirely unlike feet].

It is usual to adhere to local custom, however as alt.surfing is read be people all over the world many readers will not be aware of your local scale, 2 foot can be knee-waist slop in one area but overhead in another. When posting it is best to call surf height in multiples of body height, i.e.: waist, chest, shoulder, head high, overhead; x times overhead etc. Most of us will be within 12" of 6' tall. If you wish to add the local height in "feet" then great.

Some people measure the "backs" of the waves, which they often define as half the height measured from the front. In fact the backs of waves are as high as the fronts, though at breaking they are not as steep. This and perspective tends to lead to the height estimated from the "back" being about half that from the front.

Please define "fronts" or "backs" when posting.

2.3 How to predict surf.

The best online text is Lud's Wave Prediction FAQ:

No longer available at it's original home, now archived at:

There are also collections of surf forecast links on and

2.4. Estimating tide rise and fall

The simplest rule of thumb for the guestimation of the height and speed of flow of the tide is the twelfths rule:
During hour 1 after low/high water 1/12 of the tide height will rise/fall,
During hour 2 after low/high water 2/12 of the tide height will rise/fall,
During hour 3 after low/high water 3/12 of the tide height will rise/fall,
During hour 4 after low/high water 3/12 of the tide height will rise/fall,
During hour 5 after low/high water 2/12 of the tide height will rise/fall,
During hour 6 after low/high water 1/12 of the tide height will rise/fall.

The speed of flow of the tide is approximately proportional to the amount of rise per hour, thus the fastest tide flows will occur at mid tide.

For greater detail consult a local chart and tidal atlas.



3. Weather

3.1. What are the El-Nino and El Nina?

ENSO (El Nino - Southern Oscillation) is best defined by a multivariate ENSO index that is > 0, while La Nina would be <0. Since we're never precisely at 0, except due to limitations in our ability to measure and define, we're always in either an El Nino or La Nina condition. In normal, non-El Nino conditions, the trade winds blow towards the west across the tropical Pacific. These winds pile up warm surface water in the west Pacific, so that the sea surface is about 1/2 meter higher at Indonesia than at Ecuador. The sea surface temperature is about 8 degrees C higher in the west, with cool temperatures off South America, due to an upwelling of cold water from deeper levels. This cold water is nutrient-rich, supporting high levels of primary productivity, diverse marine ecosystems, and major fisheries. Rainfall is found in rising air over the warmest water, and the east Pacific is relatively dry. During El Nino, the trade winds relax in the central and western Pacific leading to a depression of the thermocline in the eastern Pacific, and an elevation of the thermocline in the west. This reduces the efficiency of upwelling to cool the surface and cuts off the supply of nutrient rich thermocline water to the euphotic zone. The result is a rise in sea surface temperature and a drastic decline in primary productivity, the latter of which adversely affected higher trophic levels of the food chain, including commercial fisheries in this region. Rainfall follows the warm water eastward, with associated flooding in Peru and drought in Indonesia and Australia. The eastward displacement of the atmospheric heat source overlaying the warmest water results in large changes in the global atmospheric circulation, which in turn force changes in weather in regions far removed from the tropical Pacific.

3.2. What effect does the El-Nino have on the surf [On the West coast of the USA]?

A few points to make.  First, we still don't know how much El Nino affects N. Pacific storm winds and thus we don't know how much El Nino affects N. Pacific generated swells.   We can't even point to a specific storm and blame a percentage of its strength or precipitation or its path on El Nino.

Secondly, winter swells in California are generated in the North Pacific. It's always flatter in the summer than the winter here.

Thirdly, a good season can be due to extremely warm waters off Baja, but those can be attributed to very weak westerlies and loss of upwelling; which may [as in 1998,] show up before the El Nino warming in the equatorial Pacific. So you really can't say that the characteristics of a season is solely or even mostly due to El Nino.

So, to sum up, summer's always smaller.  El Nino's effects on great winter surf are really still a myth.

3.3. Further information on El Nino/La Nina and ENSO:

El Nino is one of the scientific topics most well documented and debated on the internet. There are a few starters below, but you can find more than you could possibly want to know with a quick net search.

What is El Nino:

"What is La Nina"

"How do ENSO's differ"

Edited from a post by:
Tim Maddux, Thanks Tim,
and NOAA's What is an El Nino?



4. Surf boards

4.1 Choosing a surf board.

From: (Chris Payne)

For your first board I'd recommend something with a lot of floatation - not necessarily a longboard (unless you want to ride longboards) - but something with a little bulk and stability. A high performance potato chip might be a lot of fun when you've reached a certain degree of skill, but start off with something that will paddle easily and be pretty stable while you're learning to stand on it.

Price is also a consideration. Your first board is likely to get dinged up quite a bit, so don't invest too much. That doesn't mean run out and buy some waterlogged piece of crap for $20 either, mind you.

At this stage of the game, the brand of surfboard shouldn't matter too much. The only people likely to notice are your friends, and if it matters to them then you're hanging with a bunch of losers. Forget them and go surfing.

See also Chrispys learning to surf FAQ at

Dr. Bruce Gabrielson's Book at:

4.2. Making a surf board.


and the Fibreglass repair FAQ on

Gionis Surfboard design page:

Doc's repair page:

4.3. Repairing a surf board.

See the Fibreglass repair FAQ on


4.4. Epoxy surfboards.

See Gionis Surfboard design page:

4.5. How do I get the wax off my board?

See section 9.3.

4.6. Who invented the Thruster?

Australian surfer Simon Anderson.

4.7. Tips for traveling with your surfboards[s]

A. Avoid paying extra. - check with the airline first and GET IT IN WRITING and carry the letter - check with the IAPA - don't leave it to the travel agent or the check in staff. The check in staff have a lot of bad days!

B. Damages - even if you sign a waiver, under the Warsaw convention (that small print in the jacket) guarantees you compensation. - check the board as soon as you land. have a photo and a receipt of purchase for claims. If the damage occurs at your intended holiday site and its well know for surfing get the airline to repair it for you and return it, unless you want to do it. In Bali, airlines offer this service. don't get angry just be cool and confident. if the damage occurs on your way home ask the airline to fix it, if not, ask for a replacement - play dumb. I have successfully had a board repaired twice, been compensated for it under the Warsaw convention, fixed it and sold it.

Editors Note: Airlines consider that the job of your luggage is to protect the contents, thus making damage to the boardbag or other luggage to be acceptable.

C. Packing.
Keep the board bag light, except for some padding around the tail and fins.
Other sugestions include pipe insulation on the rails, bubblewrap for protection or the minimalist approach: take the fins off, (you do use FCS don't you?) slap a Fragile sticker on it and load.

D. Trust
Don't trust any airline. Freight handlers treat all sporting goods like basketballs - expecting them to bounce. My friend had six a-b-s windsurf boards demolished by an airline. two had forklift holes right through the nose and tail and the other four were broken in half.

E. Collecting your board. In some airports your board is not lost, but is just left on the carousel at the outsize baggage area. Always ensure the label stuck on the board is around the base of the strap and the code is for your destination.

I hope this is helpful...
1-5 From a post by John Patkin.

F. Some airlines [including British Airways and Virgin] will accept your surfboard at no extra charge as long as it is one of your two checked bags. As stated in section 1, check beforehand, arrive early, and be prepared to have to convince the check in staff.

4.8. Which way do/should you strap your board to your roof

a) Deck down, vital for aerodynamic performance, reducing drag, fuel consumption and stress on both the board and the rack.
b) Nose forward/backward. The aerodynamically pedantic insist on nose forward, but in some areas, notably California, fins forward is the preferred method. (This is seen in varying proportions in other parts of the world.) The rational for this ranges from 'it provides more board to strap on', through 'the fins will help to stop the board slipping off if the straps become loose' to 'fins back is for kooks.'

4.9. What do you surf?

A regularly asked question which usually produces a long list or which the collective answer is everything. A link to one of the many threads can be found at:


5. Surfing

5.1 Learning to surf

There are several online guides:

Bill Morris has a great introduction that gives you a good idea what to expect at:

Chrispy's FAQ: Learning to surf at:

Tim Maddux's how to surf page:

One at

The Complete Surfing Guide for Coaches, Chapter 4:

Take a look at these and then if you still are lost ask a  more specific question about what you are doing and what  seems to be going wrong, someone will try to help.

  5.1.1 Learning to duckdive

See again the URL's about learning to surf as above. Also the threads in:

5.2 Soul surfing.

What is it? wrote: "Go thee unto the wave, and find thyself."

And I don't think I can add to that...

5.3 Who has right of way?

In short, the surfer nearest to the peak and/or the first to his feet. See the several Learn to surf guides in section 5.1 for more details.

Check out for some of the many discussions about it in the past.


6. Health

6.1 Surfers Ear

The condition referred to as "Surfers Ear" is "Exostosis" It is caused by activated bone growth within the ear causing thickening of the ear canal bones. The bone in the ear is not covered by fat, so the body acts to shut down unacceptable levels of cold by growing more bone.

This leads to a narrowing of the aperture leading into the ear. With a build up of wax around the aperture peripheries water is often trapped inside. This can sometimes ferment and can precipitate a quite painful condition. One solution is to drill out the ear bone. The other, if the condition is not too far advanced is to syringe the ear out to remove debris and then after that to wear ear plugs to stop further water entry.

It is a common ailment amongst longtime water users in cold climates which can be prevented by  wearing a hood and/or earplugs, or a close fitting helmet which eliminate wind chill from the ear.

[Edited from a post by Timothy Brady and others.]

Surfers Ear is not the same as Swimmers Ear, see setion 6.5.

6.2. Surfing with contact lenses.

It can be done, and is by many. There is of course a risk of losing them, but if you can't see without them then is generally a risk worth taking. It seems that soft lenses tend to be more reliable than hard ones, with disposables being the best bet as losing one incurs the least cost.

The most important thing is to remember to close your eyes when you go underwater. This does mean that you lose the pleasure of seeing the underwater scenery, but at least you don't miss the pleasure of surfing entirely.

You can expect to lose the occasional lens, but if you can consider this as another ongoing cost of surfing there is no reason why you should let the need to wear lenses curtail your enjoyment of surfing.


6.3. Sea Lice.

All you want to know and more can be found at:

6.4 Suncare

   a)   Surfing Hat - If you need style in the surf, there are label jobs at most surf shops - I personally use a peak 'mr chips' hat, that I pull down around my neck while paddling out, and put on while out back, and before I catch a wave.

   b)   Surfing goggles - One of my mates has a pair of these, and says they are quite annoying - and expensive. They don't fog up, like I thought they would due to holes in the rubber. If you choose the sealed rubber ones and tie em on tight enough, it looks very cool under the water when duck-diving. Although in the water there is the additional glare from the water, the best protection is done out of the water by wearing sunglasses whenever you go outside - even if it is a bit cloudy - there are still U.V rays

Information supplied by Robert Bourne, from personal painful  experience.

6.5 Swimmers Ear

Swimmers Ear is caused by infection of the ear by pathogens in the water. Surfers are also susceptible to this, especially when surfing breaks with low water quality.

Chewing gum containing Xylitol has been proven to reduce the likelihood of contracting an ear infection in adolescent schoolchildren. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a similar protection may be provided to surfers who chew xylitol gum after surfing.

Some surfers use acetic acid/ isopropyl alcohol mix to disinfect the ear cavity and makes it easier for your ear to dry out.

6.6. How many surfers are attacked by sharks?

See: The International Shark Attack File at:


7. Other internet resources.

7.1 Web Sites

I have no intention of making a long list of surfing related web sites here, that is well provided on the web. Sites relating to topics specifically covered in this FAQ are listed in the relevant sections.

If you really have no idea where to start then there are two metalink pages which link to all the best surfing web sites.
Mountain Man: Global Oceanic Surf Links is organised geographically:

Surfer Resources lists sites according to topic covered:

7.2 Email Lists.

  7.2.1. Surfers Mailing List - Maui

To Subscribe: Send a message to with the word "subscribe" in the body.   Important: Do not put anything else in the message and do not include a subject!

Digest list:  Send a message to with the word "subscribe" in the body.  Important: Do not put anything else in the message and do not include a subject!

  7.2.3.  Israeli Surfers Mailing list.

You'll get surf reports and other info by e-mail. Just send a blank e-mail to

7.3 Newsgroup Archives

You can find posts to alt.surfing by searching Deja News at:

There is an archive of some of "The best of alt.surfing", including surf reports, tall tales, discussions and FAQ's at:

It is an entirely personal choice, but if you read or write posts that you wish to have included or excluded from this archive then write to me.

Also check out Neal Miyake's favorite personal alt.surfing posts at

7.4 WWW message Boards.

7.4.1. Swansea Surf Board.

7.5 Pictures to download.

Most of the surfer web pages have pictures that you can download. If you see them in your browser you_have_downloaded them. Most browsers have an option to 'save this picture', [Try pressing your right mouse button!] otherwise you may be able to find them in your 'local disk cache.'


8. Surf spots around the world

8.1.1. What is the surf like in ..X.. in Europe?

The common answer to this is to get "The Stormrider Guide", it contains all you need to know and more. It is available from all good European surf shops.

It is published by Low Pressure Publications:
186 Kensington Park Road, London, W11 1EF. +44 171 792 3134.

You can also get it by from from

8.1.2 Can you surf the Severn Bore?

Yes, See: for some info, pictures and links.

8.1.3 What is the Severn Bore?

See: for some info, pictures and links.

8.2. Is there any surf in...

  8.2.1 The Mediterranean?

Yes. It is less reliable than the larger oceans, but can be classic.

  8.2.2 Israel?

Yes, on the Mediterranean coasts, but not on the Read sea coasts. See Ben Rak's page at:

See also 7.2.3.


9. Keep it clean - Tips for the Nearshore Environment.

9.1. How do I get a hold of the Surfrider Foundation or Surfers Against

Surfrider Foundation National Office
122 S. El Camino Real #67     Tel:  +1 714 492 8170
San Clemente, CA 92672        Fax:  +1 714 492 8142
USA                            Email:
(Membership hotline within the US: (800) 743 SURF, or join online)

   Surfrider Foundation's International Affiliates:

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS)
The Old Counthouse Warehouse    Tel:  +44 1872 553001
Wheal Kitty                      Fax:   +44 1872 552615
St.Agnes                         Email:
Cornwall, TR5 0RE      
United Kingdom

Surfrider Foundation Australia
PO Box 444, Mermaid Beach, Queensland, Australia, 4218
ph. (075) 350 999 fax: (075) 767 157

Surfrider Foundation France/Europe
Villa Sion, 79 his rue d'Espagne, 64200 Biarritz, France
ph. FAX:

Surfrider Foundation Brazil
Rua Solon 1069. Sao Paulo, SP Brazil, 01127-010
ph. (011)221-3288 FAX: (011) 223-0889

Surfrider Foundation Japan
c/o Patagonia, 1-13-12 Komachi, Kamakura-shi 248 Japan
ph. (805) 643-8616 x 189

9.2. What do the guys & gals at SAS or the Surfrider Foundation do?

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organisation dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the world's waves and beaches through conservation, activism, research and education.

Surfers Against Sewage, Britain's coolest Environmental Group, have rapidly grown to become one of the leading pressure groups in Europe. SAS campaign for the cessation of all marine sewage and toxic waste discharges and represent not just surfers, but twenty million people who use the British Coastline every year.

9.3. How do I remove my old wax and dispose of it safely?

The easiest way is to leave your board in the sun for a bit and then scraping off the softened wax with a spatula of some sort. Collect the wax and dispose of it into the garbage bin as it does contain petroleum products that can harm the environment. If the sun does not shine in your parts of the world, try a hair drier for starters or try to get it off cold (the use of flame throwers or mother's iron is discouraged).

9.4. What is non-point source pollution and why should I care?

Non-point source pollution is basically everything that enters the ocean through a variety of ways and it is often impossible to pin-point a specific source (like a pulp mill for example). Vehicle leaks and drips, bad agricultural practices, settled air pollution and animal wastes are some of the main components of the polluted runoff coming from the land area of the coastal watershed.

Non-point source pollution can make you sick!!! See 9.5.!!!

9.5. Is it safe to surf close to storm drains or river mouths/outlets?

It is little known that in many areas, storm drains lead directly into the ocean, without going through wastewater treatment facilities. A recent study has shown that people swimming within 30 m (100 feet) of a storm drain are 50% more likely to get sick. Information on this study can be found at

9.6. Where can I report people illegally dumping stuff into the ocean?

We suggest to first talk to the people and tell them that it is not allowed to put anything but water down a storm drain or directly into the ocean. Oftentimes people don't know that what they are doing causes significant pollution and others to get sick.

If you observe very gross polluters or find only deaf ears, call your local County Health authority (or the like) and report the location, amount and nature of discharge, time and date.

9.7. Does a groin/jetty really make my favorite break a pipeline?

Initially, a groin might indeed improve the quality of your break. However, you will soon see your beach disappear and your break will change significantly, and to the worse!!! Jetties can completely destroy a break right away (example: Dana Point, California).

9.8. Why is my beach losing sand and how does that affect my home break?

Sand loss can have many reasons. Most prevalent in heavily developed areas and even where you don't suspect it, is the damming of rivers which carry sand onto the beaches. Also, any hard structure on the beach may lead to loss of sand. Waves reflecting on sea walls, groins or jetties and even rip-rap are reflected and the back-wash carries sand into the deeper waters. This is a vicious cycle, as the beach gets steeper due to sand loss, wave reflection becomes stronger... new and bigger sea walls will have to be built and the cycle goes into another loop.

9.9. How can I keep the damage low when camping at the beach?

From Steve Barilotti's excellent essays on low-impact surfaris:

(Text reproduced here with permission of author, from Surfer
  Magazine, Oct., Nov., Dec. 1994)

Thanks to (Helge Weissig) helgew@SDSC.EDU for section 9.


   10. World Surf Day
    10.1 What is Word Surf Day?

World Surf Day is and alt.surfing virtual gathering. The readers and  posters to the newsgroup live on all continents many time zones  surfing whatever and whenever the local seagods send our way.  So once  a year we name a day and all make great efforts to get out and surf,  then post a report to the group, including those who rarely write  reports on their sessions. It builds up a picture of what the ocean was like from the alt.surfers perspective in one 24hour snapshot.

(This year WSD has been widened to a weekend, to increase the number of people likely to be able to make it, at the expense of  nowness.)

  10.2 When is world surf day?

World Surf Day 1999 was on 10/11 April.

  10.3 Where are the World Surf Day reports archived?

The posts are compiled and archived at the alt.surfing hub:

  10.4 What alt.surfers have you met In Real Life?

There is a record of this at


11. What 'celebrities' surf?

The following have been reported in alt.surfing as surfing, the list is not verified in any other way, and there is no suggestion that you should have heard of them:

Tom Hanks, Eddie Vedder, Perry Farrell, Phil Hartman, Gregory Harrison, John Milius, John Philbin, Vince Klyn, Patrick Swaizie, Chris Isaak., Chris Carter, Bryan Brown, Otis Chandler, Jan Michael Vincent, William Katt, Doug McClure, Gregory Harrison, John Milius, Don Stroud, Cliff Robertson ( ala PT109), Dayrl Hannah, Phillipe Kahn, .


This FAQ was compiled by (Ric Harwood) ric.harwood.u$ Comments, (especially corrections,) better or additional answers to questions included or missed are most welcome, either by email or through alt.surfing.

Copyright (c) 1997, 1998, 1999 by Ric Harwood, all rights reserved. This FAQ may be posted to any USENET newsgroup, on-line service, or BBS as long as it is posted in its entirety and includes this copyright statement.
This FAQ may not be distributed for financial gain. This FAQ may not be included in commercial collections or compilations without express permission from the author.

The latest version is archived at:

Thanks to all the inhabitants of alt.surfing who have helped both directly and indirectly with the answers.