Top 10 Surf Friendly Careers

It’s a nasty little four letter word yet something everyone has to deal with: Work. And while work and surf mixes like oil and water, there is hope in the careers we’ve listed below…and yes, delivering pizza is a career, a greasy and thankless one, but a career nonetheless.

Top 10 Surf Friendly Careers

Scotty Stopnik mixing business with pleasure. Photo: Jack English

1. Firefighter

America’s heroes are also the recipients of some of the most surfer friendly work schedules around. Six days on, three weeks off? What is that? Is there a secret handshake? While you might miss the occasional swell because you had to work 24 hours a day for a week straight, your ability to go on two-week surf trips and not loose your job is unrivaled. Firefighters are also a prized commodity at surf camps because of their ability to handle emergency situations. Stay for free and bandage the occasional guest? Where do we sign up?

2. Commercial pilot/flight attendant

Pilots and flight attendants have cushy schedules, not to mention downtime provided by striking and other work stoppages. Airlines worth applying to include Hawaiian, Air Tahiti Nui, Air New Zealand, and Air France. Along with a nice schedule, you get tickets for damn near free. Swell scheduled to hit the north shore of Oahu next week? Time to get a free standby ticket!

3. Surf magazine editor

All you need is a junior-high diploma and you’ll be traveling the world on someone else’s tab with your new friend Kelly Slater and a quiver of free boards. Occasionally a group of locals threatens to kill you for writing something they don’t agree with, but otherwise it’s a cakewalk. Just last week we “worked” at Seaside Reef for a couple days!

4. Pizza delivery guy

The king of all surfer jobs. No experience necessary, no drug tests, free dinner, you get paid in untraceable cash, you only work nights, good tips on Super Bowl Sunday, and the beauty of hearing a slumber party of pajama-clad young ladies simultaneously squeal: “THE PIZZA GUY’S HERE!”

5. Lifeguard

Weird one. Lifeguards have seemingly unrestricted access to the surf. They sit and stare at the waves all day, so they always get the best tide-swell-wind combos. Off-season guards really score, mixing breaks with their partners until their arms are about to fall off. Other pluses include a golden tan and flirtatious beach bimbos. But lifeguards are also the cops of the ocean, and who wants to be the guy who puts the blackball flag out?

6. Surf industry broski

You don’t get a job in the surf industry if your goal is to save the whales, put a million in the bank, cure cancer, win a Nobel Peace Prize, break the four-minute mile, step foot on the moon, sing the song that makes the whole world sing, or otherwise contribute to the good of family and/or society. You do it so you can keep surfing and score free shit. Board meeting at 54th street? See you in ten, bro.

7. Doctors

This seems counterintuitive, because doctors work long hours, but how come every time you hear a story about Tavarua there’s a group of doctors there? And just like a fireman, every surf camp in the world needs a doctor. We’re still researching this one, but keep in mind that doctors have to go through a little bit more schooling than lifeguards.

8. Criminal

Though we don’t endorse their behavior or trust them any further than we can throw them, drug dealers, hookers, and scammers have pretty flexible schedules and always seem to be at the right place when it’s firing. Don’t get caught though, the only surfing in the pen is bunk surfing and that sure ain’t fun.

9. ASP big wig

The Association of Surfing Professionals is surfing’s governing body—like what the NFL is to football and FIFA is to soccer. Former World Champ Rabbit Bartholomew is the president of the ASP, and at middle age, he surfs the more than most sixteen year olds. You do the math.

10. Pro surfer

Debatable. Yes, being a pro keeps you in the water when most have to give it up to start junior college or take on more hours at the Potato Shack, but there is something dangerous about making your love your profession. The old expression goes: If you enjoy sex, don’t become a porn star. Capice? Other downsides include the downward spiraling economy, working with weird photographers, and going to the far reaches of the Earth and being welcomed by a flat ocean—then hearing Salt Creek was where this month’s cover was shot.

Other surfer friendly careers…

1. Surf photographer

Yeah you’ll miss the best days, but thing of all the days where it’s cloudy and not-so-perfect? Yep, they outnumber the perfect days 100-1.

2. Waiter

You know when you take the day off from work only to find 80 guys in the water? They’re all waiters at the Chart House.

3. Bartender

While you’ll miss a lot of dawn patrols due to serving drinks to boozers all night, you’ll have Gentleman’s Hour—that coveted 10am to noon slot—all to yourself.

What did we miss? Leave a comment below!