Would I be wrong to say that soul, the lifeblood on which the dream of surfing was fabricated, is regrettably beginning to fade? Before I put on my flame suit, hear me out friends. This is not a rant about surf breaks being over crowded, localism infesting spots along the coast, or fights sparking in the lineup over stolen waves. I’m not oblivious to these imperfections and yes I do sometimes wish I could have my favorite wave to myself, however, these issues are so minor to me that I am constantly surprised by the amount of fuss and attention it draws within the community. Too often we see articles written, placing the ugliest of surfing’s traits in the limelight. That “Dane Reynolds Shut Down at Sandspit” kind of vibe. Where has all the LOVE in surfing gone? Is there no longer an appreciation for the “little things?” The things that make surfing the greatest sport in the world, the same ones that possessed me to buy a board and hit the beach in the first place; do they still hold value in this community or have they been lost through the glorification and feverish expansion of surfing’s mainstream appeal?
Where has all the LOVE in surfing gone?
Without sounding like too much of a hippie fuck boy, I’ve always considered myself a soul surfer. The wave itself has never been my main concern, nor was it the ride, as good as that can feel. I have found so much joy in the lifestyle and self-progression that comes along with being a surfer, so much so that I probably won’t be escaping its grasp any time soon. It’s the 5am wakeup calls, early morning drives, post-surf coffees, and quality conversations in the lineup, just to name a few, that genuinely captures my attention. Traveling far and wide simply for the journey, not the destination. As far as I am concerned, I could easily paddle out, and often do, on a 2ft. day and return to shore stoked out of my mind. There’s a common saying in surfing, “The best surfer in the lineup is the guy who is having the most fun.” Well damn man I may just be the next Kelly Slater if that’s the case! However, that’s just me, and like many others who share a similar state of mind, have begun to feel that all too many surfers in the water today are simply Missing. The. Point. Too often in a Southern California lineup I see surfers dogging each other, hawking every name in the book, and fighting WAY too hard to catch a wave, especially when the next one is just mere seconds away. Is there any fun in that? Am I missing something? Personally, I feel this behavior and mindset is polluting line-ups world wide, slowly detracting from the beauty that surfing was once known to be.
Surfing will never be about the barrel or about catching the wave of the day, for me at least. It has been and always will be, about the emotions and state of mind one evokes while floating in the open ocean, how humbling this simple act can affect a man. From the smell of fresh surf wax in the morning to a sunset session under pastel skies, take a step back and absorb the minor tinges of everything that encompasses surf. Make friends in the lineup, connect with fellow surfers, acknowledge veterans, but also welcome the inexperienced with open arms. Promote a healthy line-up as acts of aggression have no place in an environment as serene as the sea. Ruining someone’s day will not make yours any better I promise. The point here guys, is that the sport we are all so passionate about is at risk. With more people being drawn to the surf than ever before, setting examples of what is and is not acceptable in the water will play a large roll in the progression of surfing. Aggression is NOT acceptable. If our lineups are breeding selfishness and hostility, as some are today, where does that take us heading into the future? There’s a lot more to surfing than riding the wave. Tap into all there is to offer, as there is much more than what meets the eye. Maybe I’m a loser for surfing without the intention of fighting for my waves. In the packed lineups of today, I may only get 2-3 waves a session with this mindset, but honestly that’s all I really need to be the happiest guy in the water. Maybe its not so bad being a loser.