What’s a kook and how to avoid being one?

Among surfers, you’ll often hear about someone being labeled as a kook. It could be used as a joke, or even as an insult. So what it is exactly and what to do to stop being a kook?

A kook is a person who’s trying to pretend to be a surfer while lacking some basic skill, knowledge or style.

It is similar to being a poser. But most of the surfers find kooks even worse, because of their ability to interfere and obstruct the other surfer’s wave riding. Kooks can be dangerous in the water and also cause embarrassment to surfing on land.

It doesn’t mean that all beginners are kooks. Often the worst kooks are the intermediate surfers pretending to be better or cooler than they are.

For the beginners, it’s normal to have little experience and look awkward in the waves. But with just a bit of respect and basic knowledge, anyone can learn to surf without being a kook.

3 essential rules every surfer should follow:

  1. Be humble, respect the ocean and the others.
  2. Learn about the surf etiquette and respect the priority rules.
  3. Be grateful. Enjoy every moment, even the wipeouts 🙂

If you break any of them, you may quickly become a kook.
Here are some useful tips on how to easily become a proper surfer.

What to do to avoid being a kook:

  1. Learn from a certified instructor, don’t skip the basics.
  2. Learn to surf in small & safe conditions before advancing.
  3. Use a bigger, more stable board to learn the basics.
  4. Be prepared physically. The ocean is not a place to get fit.
  5. Asses the conditions. The ocean is a dangerous playground.
  6. Get expert advice for any surfing gear before you buy it.
  7. Study as much as you can before going in. Ask others for advice.
  8. Each wave is different, always explore new spots with the help of an experienced surfer.
  9. Try to communicate, learn some local words, be nice to other surfers.
  10. Be patient. You won’t become Kelly Slater after a week in a surf school.

Don’t do this if you don’t want to be a kook:

  1. Try to never be an obstacle for the others, including your board.
  2. Never drop in or snake others. If it happens, apologize.
  3. If it’s too crowded, don’t add more by going in. Find another wave or wait.
  4. Accept that you’re not ready for the big waves yet.
  5. Accept that you’re not skilled enough for high-performance surfboards.
  6. Don’t be a hero. Wear a wetsuit if it’s cold and use sunscreen if it’s sunny.
  7. If it looks dangerous, it’s not good for learning.
  8. Never damage or pollute the environment, protect the ocean.
  9. Don’t be too noisy or disrespectful in the water.
  10. Leave your macho at home. Don’t try to beat the others.

As you can see, most of these points can easily be followed if you use common sense & logic. Surfing just requires you to use your brain. Unfortunately, a lot of the surfers decided to leave it home or at the beach and that’s what makes them act like kooks.

Don’t be one of them.

Want to have some fun watching kooks?
Checkout @kookoftheday account on the Instagram.

Top kook moments include:

  • Dropping into someone else’s wave awkwardly.
  • Getting slammed by a shore break or on the rocks because of stupidity.
  • Dressing the wetsuit inside out or reversed (or both).
  • Mounting your fins backwards.
  • Overloading the car with badly attached surfboards.
  • Wearing a wetsuit far away from the sea or the beach.
  • Trying to look cool or sexy while obviously not knowing too much about surfing.