How to Wax your Back at Home?
Even surfing neophytes can avoid beachside embarrassment with these 10 commandments from big-wave legend Laird Hamilton and other surf style authorities
Kook, noun. Pronunciation: kük : An individual with no understanding of the social and sartorial norms of surfing. In the water, a kook’s cluelessness can aggravate or endanger other surfers; on occasion, kooks can even be recognized solely by the faux pas they commit out of the ocean.
Surfing is by far the most fashionable activity of the summer. Newspapers and magazines across the country have been filled for months with trend pieces on "surfer style" and "surfer hair, " and companies are hawking hypoallergenic rash guards and ergonomic booties left and right. This fascination seems to include every aspect of surf culture besides the actual act of surfing. How many of us have been surfing before? Do you even know someone who surfs? How many people take the "board" in "board shorts" literally? Indeed, surfing’s popular ascension has given rise to many people who seem to have an intimate knowledge of all things surf—except, of course, riding on a surfboard.
This ignorance doesn’t do all that much harm on dry land, but things can get dicey when well-intentioned and enthusiastic aspirants actually try surfing for the first time. The problem is that amidst the mainstream infatuation with surf culture, one critical point has been completely overlooked: the importance of not being a kook.
"Kook" is surfer slang, and it can mean a pretty wide range of things, all of them negative. Most times, kooks are just the benign but clueless neophytes who get an eye roll from the locals for dressing or acting the wrong way. At their worst, though, kooks can ruin a good session, and even end up hurting themselves or other surfers.
Fortunately, GQ has your back. We know that nobody wants to be a kook. To save you the embarrassment—and to save other surfers from an onslaught of kooks this summer—we talked to some of the most knowledgeable figures in the surfing world to discover the telltale signs of a kook, and teach you know how to avoid them.