As surfers, we often take our sacred lifestyle for granted when it comes to our prized possessions.. be it your 10’0 1970′s single fin beater or your custom shaped Al Merrick. As we daydream about the session about to be had, there’s something sinister laying below the surface, ready to end our happy day with one swift pull of a slim jim.
I’m talking about the surfboard thief… the huge buzzkill that’s just as much a part of being a surfer as our boards themselves. Where there are boards to be surfed, there are boards to be desired by those who don’t deserve them.
If you value your board nearly as much as your third born son, as many of us do, read the next portion of this article with due diligence and apply what you’ve learned to your next session. If you’ve never been a victim of surfboard burglary, Russian roulette is for fools.
A Surfer Mag author recently stopped a thief moments before he went to work, and at the cost of divulging the secrets to his trade, he gave the thief a running start. Here’s what he learned:
OUR CARS ARE EASY TO SPOT - We dress the bumpers of our surf wagons with all kinds of surf stickers and decals, dead giveaways that the contents inside might be of great value to us, AND, it says that we’re probably out in the water, far from our cars. Do yourself a favor and save your decals for your surfboard, board bag or surf shed. Sure they look sleek, just don’t leave anything in your car if you want to give your favorite shaper a public nod.
WE LEAVE OUR GEAR IN PLAIN SIGHT- When carpooling for a solid group surf sesh, there’s always that one guy, the awkward friend of a friend that isn’t used to the daily ritual of placing all your valuables under the seat and board bags inside the cabin or WORSE someone decides that taking two boards down is too much hassle. Do your best to minimize your gear, make sure you hide everything you want to keep, and for Pete’s sake! Just bring the board down with you; at least that way you can keep an eye on it.
TRUCKS AND JEEPS ARE CAKEWALKS- Many times, the sliding rear window get’s left unlocked. As for jeeps, just because it’s a jeep and you’re macho, doesn’t mean a thief will be afraid to simply reach in and grab a pair of wetsuit booties or a board bag. I won’t even get into convertibles with the top down, you’re asking for it…
WE SHOW THIEVES WHERE THE KEYS ARE- Whether it’s a hide-a-key under the bumper of your ’64 Malibu or the spare tire of your SUV, the moment we look around blatantly to see if anybody is watching, a thief in hiding is clued in to our little secret. Use the key pocket on your wetsuit or zipper pocket in your board shorts. If anything, bring the key with you and stash it down by the water so a parking lot prowler doesn’t have access while you’re gone surfing.
WE LIKE TO PARK IN THE SHADE (TO KEEP OUR OTHER BOARD COOL)- Not only do we like to park in the shade to keep our highly visible surfboard cool, we like to park in the shade in inconspicuous places where nobody will be there to scare a potential thief away from the surfboard your grandfather passed down to your father who passed it down to you. Protect your heritage. Park where your car is highly visible and where foot traffic can make a burglary too high-profile. Again… TAKE YOUR SPARE BOARD WITH YOU… or don’t take it at all.
THIEVES COME IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES- Just because the movies depict thieves as lowlife scum, that doesn’t mean every thief will be easily identifiable. In fact, the most successful thieves are actually stalking your goods from the safe confines of their 2008 hybrid. He just got laid off and he’s pissed that you get to go surfing while he has to sell his quiver on craigslist to make this month’s mortgage.
This article isn’t meant to scare you. It’s meant to create awareness about things that may be common sense to most but are often overlooked and taken for granted by our own community of wave sliders. Protect our lifestyle under lock and key and take it with you to the water. Share it wisely with others. One less easy target is one less reason for thieves to prowl upon our buried treasure.