One of the great silver linings to the damp, fiscally unstable life of a surfer is beach fires. Like making love, the mechanics are reasonably straight forward yet the reality is fraught with potential for disaster. For everyone involved to have good time, the dynamics need to be right and due care and attention to the little things are what will make it special.
Here’s a kind of Kama Sutra of the beach fire with a few Tantric tips and tricks picked out for the younger players amongst you.
The beach party fire is where memories are made, where fables from the waves are shared, where you really get to know your tribe and one of the most contented experiences a human can have. To get it right you need to have good grasp of the logistics and most importantly the fine cast of characters…
Their role is to inspire and rally the troops. The golden rule here is to invite 100 and 50 will turn up, tell everyone its on an hour before they actually want everyone there. Keep everyone in line don’t let potential naysayers bring it down with far fetched tales of happy hours in warms pubs – ‘fuck that’ they must say ‘we are people of the earth, of fire and the darkness outside’ and ‘the warm pub is no land for us – be gone you yellow-bellied traitor’ etc…
The Fire Starter
This person quite obviously starts the fire – timing is crucial here, too soon and you’ll burn all your wood, people will peak early. Light it too late and you won’t have any good embers to cook your din dins – a hungry mob is an angry mob. Most beach fires are started with a lighter and the contents of several people’s wallets – coffee loyalty cards, receipts and shopping lists all make great fire starters as do tampons (unused).
A strange and elusive breed – Gatherers will forage the foreshore or wherever necessary to collect the fuel for the fire – some are more talented that others, experience is the key here – while a newbie may bring back a giant stack of quick burning tinder-esque sapling branches the experienced gatherer with return sweaty-browed with a single lump – a perfect long lasting timber that will burn till dawn. As resourceful and ingenious as it may sound at the time – ripping down fences, beach huts, gates etc is generally a pretty shitty thing to do (also breathing in treated timber and paint smoke will most likely lose you a bollock a bit further down the line).
The Fire Fascist
Every fire needs one – The Fat Controller of the flames, their role is keep other meddling would be fire fascists away from ‘their fire’. Strict control and placement of fuel is critical during the first couple of hours. This isn’t a job for a slouch, depending the crowd they must be willing to stand their ground, fan the flames when necessary, snap wood and flick stray embers. Vigilance and passion are key here.