How to Surf as a Father of Three


My wife got mad at me for dumping all the stuff on the beach with her and our three young children and rushing into the ocean.

Geez! I thought.

She should have known better than to marry a surfer.

Of course, I didn’t ask her if she’d seen the waves I’d ridden. I came in and meekly started to help out with the children and then took the kids into the water.

It is a challenge to find the time to surf when you have three children under the age of eight, and it can be agonizing to stay out of the water when the waves are big and the winds perfect. I’ve had a conversation over the phone with a friend in a similar situation, both of us trying to find ways to wriggle out of commitments or find a place to dump the family so that we can race into the ocean. My wife can tell when the fever takes hold of me. I start racing around the house to get all the gear together and the family into the car because I know that the surf will be killer.


Of course, but surfing can do that to you.

It is a fever only mollified by getting into the water. It takes hold and there’s no placation until you’ve had a shot. Then you can come in and do whatever and anything your spouse wants because you’ve had your fill.

Should it be this way?

No, I said to myself the next day. I will do better; I will be a better man. I will restrain the fever. I will help out more and be a good husband and a good father. I will wait before I play. I will put my wife and my three young children first.

Even if the waves are bigger and better today.

I walked slowly down the beach with my wife and children, refusing to look at the waves. I set up the umbrella and the windbreak, lined up the flip-flops and put the cooler under the umbrella. And arranged the beach blanket and the toys.

Then I sat down and looked at the sand dunes.

My wife looked out the surf and then at me and said, “Just naff off, will you?”

I jumped up in a flash, grabbed my board and raced into the surf, the happiest 43-year-old on the beach.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Shane Romig February 6, 2012, 11:45 pm

    You’ve got to love it when the conditions are perfect – low tide, no wind, constant sets and you get a guilt trip from the wife that you need to do something for the next few hours, then finally break free only to paddle out in a wind-blown slop. Why can’t they understand that when those golden moments are there, the rest of the world ceases to exist!

  • Charles Newbery February 7, 2012, 10:37 am

    Too true, too true.

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