Surfing’s Dark Secret…

A lady friend read something I’d written in a magazine the other day and reacted like I’d punched a kitten square in the face.

‘You pee in your wetsuit?!’ she cried in horror.

‘Err, yes … everyone does, what of it?’ I replied.

‘So you mean to tell me that even Kelly Slater pees himself when he wears a wetsuit?’
She, like most hot-blooded females I know, has a bit of a soft spot for The Jedi, and whilst he may be the King he still needs a wee now and then … although as we all know he pisses excellence.
This got me thinking. Surfing has a dark, damp secret. One that is curiously absent from the mainstream media gold-tinged, Endless Summer ideal of what surfing is.

Surfing is not all split-screen VW campers, beach parties, sunshine, attractive people, mahogany tans, wild sex, longboards, guitars and Jack flipping Johnson on the stereo as ad-agencies would have you believe. Far from it, but then again the more realistic version, the one you will actually see in British beach car parks on a daily basis is as far from that rose-tinted ideal as possible.

Namely: cold, pale-skinned people, wearing rubber suits, gleefully urinating on themselves as they nearly freeze to death and enjoying it. Which is wrong on so many levels.

From early childhood we are taught that weeing yourself is wrong. Wetting the bed is evil and will get you sent straight to damp, stinky hell. In fact if you still pee the bed at a late age they consider you a bit unsound. Slashing in public will get you a caution from the boys in blue and if you do it again (unavoidable after a few jars of beer) you will get arrested. Not so in the more libertarian France where you are positively encouraged to wee outside anywhere, at any time, even when talking to an attractive femme, she will merely keep smoking her Gauloises and admire your rostbif while you do so. Fact.

When I take my hooded 6mm off I steam. The wetsuit lining fabric is not wet, only damp patches from sweat and the aforementioned downstairs mistake.

So how it is that whilst in a wetsuit it is considered totally fine, nay, encouraged, to have a good long wee? Or am I talking completely out of left field here? Hands up who never wees in their wetty. Thought so … Jeez, I make sure I drink heaps before going out in the winter just to make sure I have enough in the tank for a couple of those delightful warming episodes.

So. Who else pees for fun when engaged in sports? I guess swimmers have sneaky ones, they kind of take it for granted they are swimming in a soup of water, chlorine, skin flakes and pee, they might as well make the pool water yellow and be done with the pretence. Canoeists, windsurfers and all our supposedly related surf disciplines like kiters and wake-boarders will all be P-boys (maybe that’s why they wear boardies outside their wetsuits? To hide the stains?) Cyclists and marathon runners must have something taped to their bits because stopping for a leak is gonna ruin your world record attempt? F1 drivers probably just put a carbonised graphene bolt in the end or something technical.

We are pretty unique. Hell, I’d even say we are more advanced, we aren’t repressed in relation to our bodily functions. A pee in the winter when the sub-zero temps are really starting to bite is a magical thing. The only problem is modern wetsuit technology. It is getting too good. Time was a duckdive or good beating and you’d get a decent injection of cold North Atlantic brine to flush out the urea flourishing within. These day the wetties are so stretchy, so well cut, so flipping tech that hardly any water gets in, or more crucially, out.

This leads to an unenviable dilemma. When getting out from a winter session, when you have most definitely gone to the toilet on yourself, do you pull the neck out and go for the Atlantic flush of ice water. Or do you pretend you haven’t then hope no one smells the overpowering stench of pee in the car on the way home? As long as everyone’s gone for option B then it’s fine. No one will mention it as everyone will be equally embarrassed.
I tend to go for option A, but I’m a masochist.
The other question is: when is it okay to wee? Some people think if the wetsuit is on then it’s toilet time. Be it in the car park or walking down the beach. But beware: I was ankle deep about to go out at the Peak in Bundoran a year or two back and just doing up me chest zip when it broke terminally. I couldn’t get it done up and so retired peeved and peed to the car. Instantly regretting the slash I’d merrily done on the walk down. As I had to sit in the car for two hours slowly marinating in fresh wee whilst waiting for everyone else to finish their session.

Going back to the disgusted friend of mine, who by now is looking at me like she doesn’t know me at all, she had to ask: ‘Do you poo in your wetsuit as well?’

My answer: ‘Not intentionally.’

Not that I have.

But I know people who have. Everyone does.

When people are ill, it can be unavoidable, a shart in a wetsuit is probably the best place for it … and that’s a warmth that really does last.

By Sharpy

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