First off, I want to say this article will be a positive piece about surfing, even though the title can seem negative to some, but I’ll explain that later.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary a Kook is… “one whose ideas or actions are eccentric, fantastic, or insane : a screwball” I like this definition for two reasons, it’s general and positive, unlike the definitions. (Look it up yourself) And the second reason is that I now know the word “Kook” is actually in the dictionary.

“Kook” is one of the most highly used words in the surfer vocabulary besides “Dude” and “Weed”. It is also one of the most misunderstand words in surfing, toning negative vibes for some and very cheerful banter for others. Why is “Kook” so misunderstood? Well, its sounds like a mean word and possibly even borderline racist, but lets not be so obvious.

Deep, deep down all surfers are all sensitive souls, who just want endless, perfect, blissful waves, with no one else around. This is where the core of the negativity of the “Kook” is born. Back in reality, Part of surfing is being in the water with others, catching waves, hopefully maintaining some kind of order. But, another huge part of surfing, for every single surfer, are mistakes. When mistakes happen, feelings can be hurt (awww…remember, sensitive souls?) Every surfer has been on both sides of mistakes in the waves, and commonly,”kook” is tossed” around negatively at less experienced or beginner surfers. Possibly, these newbies might be “paddling out of their league” (I just made that term up, go with it) or just completely oblivious to whats happening in the surf break. All this does is spread negativity to new surfers, and the word “Kook”.

Many surfers, come up through the surfing ranks, scared of being labeled a kook. I can testify to this myself. Raised in the east turned California transplant, I learned to surf later in life than most. So being called a kook was a common occurrence as I progressed as a surfer. But, as I progressed as a surfer, the term “Kook” changed for me; it became a positive term, a term I embrace. I am most definitely a kook for life, no doubt about it. I never have and never will compete in a serious surf contest; I paddle out every chance I get, for one reason – I love surfing. Being a kook is part of being a surfer, and every experienced surfer knows this, if you don’t, you’re a kook.

The more experienced surfer you are, the more confidence you have in your surfing. In turn, the term “kook” becomes a joke phrase, a screwball, or an eccentric. (Thank you Merriam-Webster, you kooks). Now that I have fully explained the “kook”, from both positive and negative perspectives, of all levels of surfers, remember it’s all in good fun…I give you, “The Top 5 Ways To Spot a Kook”

1. Anyone that cares or is offended when named a “Kook”

2. Putting your fins on backwards, (have you ever seen a fish?) or waxing the bottom of your surfboard. (Not a snowboard, wrong type of wax)

3. Sporting your wetsuit anywhere else other than in the water

4. Selecting a surfboard (rental or bought) that is obviously wayyyy too small for your height/weight. (At a certain point, its plain physics)

5. Being wayyyy too serious, its not a comp bro, chill on the “Im a pro, check out my stickers” attitude.

Thanks for reading and supporting the Weekly Crawler!

Personal Info: Tommy Michael resides in Tamarindo and works as Surf Photographer and Surf Instructor. Visit his Facebook page at or Instagram @TommyViajero

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