The Right Stuff

Surfing: a sport, an art, a business adventure

By: Connie Laughlin

Sexwax is a popular brand for surfboard wax. In case you aren’t from a coastal area, waxing your board keeps you from slipping off. There are many types of wax to choose from; wax is a formulation of natural and/or synthetic wax.

And not only surfboards need to be waxed. I’ve heard if you kayak, waxing your paddle increases the grip. Would you like your wax to smell like coconuts or chewing gum? Would you like it to be made from organic ingredients? Select your board wax depending on the temperature of the water and climate. For example, the warmer the weather, the harder your wax needs to be.

Various types of boards need wax applied differently. For example, you wax long boards from nose to tail. You never want your board too heavy with wax. Clean it periodically and apply new. If your wax has been on a while and is starting to smooth out, use your wax comb to make cross patterns for extra traction.

Are you eagerly awaiting your next surfing adventure? There’s nothing like getting geared up and ready to go. Your adrenaline level jumps thinking about it. Hold on – you need to review your gear checklist first: leash, wax comb, wax, tar remover, sunscreen and, oh yeah, cool board shorts. And let’s not forget the other accessories: board bag, board rack and ding repair kit. Surfers often travel to exotic places to enjoy the rush of dropping into a glassy wave and flying along the wave face. Choosing the right board design and the right surf locale, and having Mother Nature on your side, is awesome.

The end reward is exhilarating, but there are many paths to be traveled before you’re ready to do aerials and tube riding. Early on, you’ll be eating it a lot more than walking the board. First, hone your surfing skills. Learn what board and fin design work for you, as well as all the other things that go into it.

Welcome to the marketing of this sport, where board shorts sell for three bills. Surfing has affected the merchandising of cars, music and clothes. Remember the movie, “The Endless Summer”? Quicksilver’s a brand name that started in 1976.

I spent a lot of weekends on the beach with my daughter when she was young. We had our own little spot where we’d meet our friends and all the kids surfed. Sometimes there would be just two cars – sometimes 10. It was fun and crazy. We never knew who would show up.

One of my friends, Valerie Lindsay, heard that Robert “Wingnut” Weaver and another world-class surfer “dude” were at Pat McGee’s Surf Shop in Port Aransas. Off she went, so her son, Tyler, could meet him. As luck would have it, the surf shop told her to go back to the beach, as the guys had heard that the surf was “up.” Lindsay found them. Her 10-year-old son, Tyler, not only got the autograph – he got to surf with his heroes.

Everyone wants to know what’s under the feet of all the pro surfers. Iconic surfers not only made themselves legends and made millions in endorsements; they taught the right stuff to those new to the sport or art of surfing.

I could watch Kelly Slater’s surfing videos for hours! He’s one of the sport’s hottest men, not to mention the most successful surfer ever. Even at 45, Slater, the wealthiest pro-surfer, is still inventing ways to make money off the sport.

*In loving memory of Tyler Monroe Lindsay, 1984-2009

Connie Laughlin is a business consultant for UniqueHR. UniqueHR provides payroll administration, workers’ compensation insurance, a safety program, risk management, a human resources program and, optionally, benefits as a package. For more information, contact her at 361-852-6392 or