For all those that think this article is about smoking some kind of weed, I will correct you now. The verb “to be skunked” is one, I believe, that evolved in the land of STRAYA (more commonly known as Australia).
It means, essentially to be ‘cheated’ or ‘lucked out of’ waves. This can be applied to a surf trip on which there is no swell, or (as I prefer to use it) when you do what is sometimes termed as ‘The Drive Around’.
The Drive Around is what you might do when you trust the forecast and pack your van the night before, can’t sleep, get up early and end up ‘getting skunked’.
Still don’t know what I am on about? I will explain.
Maybe the situation would start with a lack of swell in your local geographic area or winds that are not favourable to a clean wave for a prolonged time. Inevitably, the day comes when a slice of Mother Nature’s energy starts to show up on the wave buoys and the long range swell forecasts, so you file it in the folder marked ‘surf’ in your cranium. It is logged. Thursday is the day. Mentally the week is a subconscious build up to ‘surf day’. You clear your schedules, wriggle out of meetings or appointments on a excuse comprised of fantasy.
The morning in question arrives, and you are up before sunrise, you finish packing the van including every type of board ‘just in case’, you don’t want to miss anything. You have checked the tides, the charts, there is no wind. Boom, it’s go time.
You approach your heavily researched spot of preference and with disbelief in your heart, you see the bank of thick fog covering the water. Readjusting your expectations, you reach the beach and see a mass of confused rips and closeouts. The sandbank has gone. No problem though, the wind is still good and will be so all day.
Next spot reveals no swell getting in to the point. The spot after boasts a rebound double up from a steep sandbank on the beach. The fog is clearing but what it shows you is not what you want to see.
One hundred kilometres round trip and two hours later you arrive back home to some extra work and the feeling of being cheated. Appointments missed unnecessarily, excuses have been wasted.
Your non surfing friends know the look. It’s the look of a man who has been Skunked.