I detest the phrase 'surfing the Net' to refer to using the Internet. My theory is that the term is redundant because it refers to 'Net surfers'. These are usually random, directionless, time-wasters with nothing better to do than hyperlink from site to site. They feed off a search engine only when they get to a dead end, putting every site in their bookmark but having no real intention of ever revisiting the sites that they mark off. The billing mechanism of most Internet service providers encourages this sort of activity. People feel they must rack up lots of time looking at useless sites at random to meet a quota of 30 hours or whatever per month that they pay for up front. Surfing is a direct derivative of the bad habits institutionalised by the channel-surfing TV fans who became fatter and lazier with the introduction of the infrared remote control. If you look at any advertisement, newspaper or magazine article for a modem, Internet service or software search engine, nowhere will you see a graphical representation of the TV channel surfer as a classic surfing convert. You will always see a caricature of the wave surfer. These board surfers, who stand up on chunks of brightly coloured fibreglass or compressed foam amid crashing waves on beaches around the world, are fit, healthy, sun-tanned and eminently marketable. My argument is that board surfers go to a remote beach, check the weather reports and look for the best swells and then paddle out for one wave at a time. Admittedly, the concept of Internet surfing, in the words of others, is to paddle out, look for a bit of information and then be carried back toward the beach by the momentum of the data. Upon returning to shore, they look for another related patch of data and continue this pattern. The Internet user, and more specifically this refers to the Web browser user, will access information from a site hosted on a computer server, click a hyperlink and move with ease from a server in the United States, to one situated in Sweden, Norfolk Island, or New Zealand. Board or wave surfing is different from using the Net because surfboarders cannot complete a wave ride and suddenly decide that the swell off Lombok in Indonesia would be a little more appealing than that offered off some Hawaiian reef or a bone-chilling, icy cold thunderous rip off the coast of South Africa. My point is that surfers cannot hypersurf from Lombok to South Africa and on to Hawaii in one surfing session. If they could, I would take up the sport immediately, mainly for the benefits of cheap travel without the hassle of airport terminal passenger queues and immigration checkpoints. Of course, there are cynics who argue the Internet is already so slow when using a dial-up modem that a surfer armed with board could realistically hop on an aircraft and zip across five time zones to chase the next big wave before the Internet browser came up with the goods. To prevent the misuse of the word 'surfing', I intend to collect fines from anybody in my office caught using it in relation to the Internet. If somebody could come up with a better word or phrase in relation to Internet access - and it must not have the word Net or navigator, or online - in it, please let me know.