It is normal – and highly advisable – for college students and young people, in general, to have hobbies and engage in various physical activities. It's good for their health and fitness, but most importantly, hobbies are a great way to socialize with peers and make lasting friendships.
Surfing is one of the hobbies that are not only fun and exciting but also beneficial to your physical and mental health. Unfortunately, it's one of the most expensive recreational activities, and the fact that good waves are hard to find does not help matters either.
For enthusiastic students who have to do with limited budgets or sometimes no money at all, the financial implications of surfing are too much, and most have no option but to find a cheaper hobby. But it doesn't always have to be like that. You can still own the waves and impress the hotties even on a student's budget. We surfed the Internet and our loaded banks of knowledge and came up with the following tips on how you can acquire surfing gear on a modest budget:
1. Borrow from Friends
Beggars can't be choosers, they say. Borrowing is better than stealing or buying, we say. If you're not in a position to buy your own equipment, look out for any of your friends or acquaintances who own some and request them to lend it to you for a while or permanently if they don't need it anymore. Depending on the level of friendship, you may get lucky, but most people would be hesitant to give their gear to other people, especially if they are beginners. In that case, work out a compromise with your friend. For instance, ask them to call or text you when they are going to the beach and while there, take turns surfing using their gear. It's a great way to bond and is way more fun, cheaper and healthier than hanging out at an eatery or bar.
Also, it doesn't have to be friends only; even strangers can come through for you if you ask politely. If you hang out frequently at the beach or surfer-gazing spots, you sure will identify an amiable surfer who will let you have their board for some moments as they get a drink. Just be friendly and make sure to return the equipment in the same state that you received it in. Trustworthiness and being a fun guy can make you some friends and consequently, get you a free access to surfing gear when you need it.
2. Establish Friendships and Connections
As in everything else in life, having lots of connections and knowing people here and there will make your surfing experiences better and cheaper. Actively seek to understand and become friends with surfers, gear vendors, and the staff at surfing resorts. If possible, attend all surfing events in your region and interact with attendees.
Fellow surfers can lend you their gear and some might even give you their old equipment if they really like you. We already know that you're cool and awesome (only cool people read our blog) so you definitely won't have a problem with that. Similarly, a friendly instructor at a surfing resort can allow you to use their gear for some time free of charge during off-peak seasons if your friendship is strong enough. Being good friends with a gear vendor can also qualify you for huge discounts, and if you ask nicely, they might hook you up with the place where they buy stuff for cheap.
That said, you need to do your due diligence on surfing techniques and always be up to date with news if you intend to make friends and enjoy the above privileges. Being knowledgeable and appearing intelligent will make you likable and easy to befriend.
One of the inexplicable paradoxes of life is that at one point in life, you have plenty of energy and time but no money. At another, you have money but too little time and strength. As a student, you probably have a lot of free time and lots of energy so why not make good use of what you have to get what you don't have? If you live near a beach or surfing cafe, ask the regulars or establishment workers if you can provide some services in exchange for used surfing materials. A lot of people are often in need of help with waxing and cleaning their boards and wetsuits.
Volunteering at a cafe or surfing center can also get you into the good books of the management and they will find it hard to say no if you ask to borrow their equipment for half a day when it's not busy. Alternatively, you can get into an arrangement where you volunteer for a few hours every day in exchange for a piece of surfing equipment at the weekend. That way, you will find yourself with all the gear you need, from earplugs and wetsuits to wax and even a board without spending a single cent.
4. Hire Rather Than Buy
While in college, you can't afford to purchase stuff outright every time. It's financially draining and unnecessary. For most students, surfing is not a daily activity and is heavily dependent on weather in addition to personal circumstances. Therefore, hire surfing gear instead of using your savings or allowance to buy a bunch that will spend more time under your bed than riding the waves.
Except for popular surfing destinations, you can hire a modest surfboard starting from $2 a day in most surfing centers. Rates are even lower for the other pieces of gear, except maybe the wetsuits. But then again, unless you are surfing in cold water or weather, you don't really need a wetsuit.
5. Barter Trade
Remember the good old days when money was a problem (pun intended), and people exchanged goods for goods? You may not have lived during those times, but you can still apply the underlying concept to get yourself some surfing gear. Look around for a friend who owns some equipment they don't use much and ask them to give it to you in exchange for some valuables such as clothes and shoes. Admittedly, this strategy will not amount to much as you will need to give out a lot of stuff to get a reasonable value of gear. It is, however, a great way to acquire the cheaper things like fins, traction pads, and leashes while also disposing of items you don't like or use much.
The best things in life may have been free in the past, but in the current world, everything comes at a price. Statistics even indicate that the average surfer is 34 years old, owns a total of 4 surfboards, and makes $75K/year! As a student with no money, how are you going to enjoy your favorite pastime? Well, with the help of the above tips and your own additional research, we hope that you can brush off your troubles, unleash your inner dolphin and ride the waves like a pro!
Surfing doesn’t have to break the bank. Follow the above tips and opt for budget surf camps located near the world’s best breaks to be able to do more of what you love!