1. Know Before You Go: I check the surf reports at a couple of Web sites when I'm on the road: BuoyWeather.com gives accurate reports for worldwide surf, and WetSand.com gives the best reports for Southern California.
2. Feeling Cramped? Surf Bad Waves: I go to mediocre spots to avoid the crowds. I don't mind having bad waves if it means that I can catch a lot of them. Waiting in a big crowd of people, where everybody's psyched and yellingman, that's irritating. Being able to get away from that should be cherished.
3. Be Vigilant: Take mental notes and take it slow at a new surf spot. It doesn't hurt to sit in the channel and observe where there is a boil or a rock. It's good to be aware of your surroundings.
4. Put Your Boots On: We have a lot of river runoff here in SoCal, and your wax can get pretty slick. Even if it's warm out, I wear booties so I stick to my board.
5. Do You Really Need a Roof Rack? I drive the smallest car you can have for carrying as many surfboards as I do. It's a Subaru Forester [from $21,200; subaru.com]. I fold down the backseats and stack six or seven boards in there. But I live near the beach, so I try to commute by skateboard. [He rides a Plan B Danny Way. From $55; planbskateboards.com.]