Claiming Waves; A Guide

Posted by James Marshall on

To claim, or not to claim is a phrase I have heard off and on for a while, but I don't actually think there is a choice. I believe that subconsciously, most (if not all surfers) will claim in some way or another purely with body language in some instances and it got me thinking. So I thought I would have a bit of a tongue in cheek look at the different types of claims.

Whether it be a big over the top claim after the wave of your life, or simply the way you dismount a wave and prepare to paddle back out, this form of visual communication can offer quite the insight into a surfer’s psyche.

Let's break down a few examples, and (over) analyse what I think they mean.

The 'Eject Button' Claim

Bit of serious airtime. via

On a wave at least chest high that has been surfed well, but, heading for a close out section and you either don’t know how to bust airs, or the landing is simply too sketchy, so you kick out…and up, and any which way the laws of physics want to take you! Variants on the eject button include the superman, the backflip and the uncontrolled cartwheel. Warning – be carefull your leash doesn’t send your board chasing after you in a hurry.

The ‘Lleyton Hewitt’ Claim 

Current world champ Adriano De Souza throws down a strong claim. via

Generally reserved for contests and bravado, the basis for this claim is a loud, powerful and almost aggressive shout. Not your average ‘Yeeeooowww’ but more of a ‘ROOOOOAAARRRR!!!!’ Some of the finest in the game include Gabreil Medina and Matt Wilkinson has been subtly working on his claim game too. To be fair, half the time you have to give it to the pros for the mind-blowing skill at wave riding!

The 'Ironic' Claim

Not too sure whats just happened here...Via

Not only reserved for hipsters, this claim is often seen on small, onshore grovelly days. Typically involves an attempted turn or maneuver which simply does not work or looks terrible, so in a panicky attempt to save face, an overly animated claim is thrown down. All in the name of a good laugh and self-deprecation, this is a classic.

The 'Quiet & Reserved' Claim

Just ride out the wave, across the back, and then slowly set yourself down to start paddling back out again. This dismount is for when you’re pretty stoked with how you surfed the wave; but in actual fact, you don’t want anyone watching to know that, because then they will think you’re actually a much better surfer. Besides, claims are for the people who are just attention seekers right? A waist high crumbling beachie isn’t claim worthy anyway.

The ‘I Could Have Got Soooo Barreled’ Claim

Nearly, buddy. via

Take off late, make the drop but fail to pull in. This leaves you with an exploding section engulfing you while you throw your hands up in the air at what could have been…similar to the quiet claim, you want other surfers to know you saw the barrel and wanted to lock in (whether or not you are at that skill level).

The 'STOKED' Claim

This is impossible to miss, and one thing sets it apart from the others; it is 100% genuine. It can come from an epic all time wave, the best wave of the session, watching another surfer ride a great wave, or watching a wave do its thing all by itself and acknowledging this with a hearty ‘yeeeeeow!!!’. In any case, when you see and hear this claim, it is incredibly contagious and you instantly know that the pure unadulterated joy exuding from that surfer is justified.

You know what I am talking about, and you want some too – so go get some!

Any claims I have missed here? Additions or thoughts my breakdown? Leave them in the comments section below.

Thanks – talk soon,


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