The Revolution will not be televised

As I was exiting the water yesterday I was blissfully tired my body was flooded with endorphins and I was thinking about why more people don’t ride surfmats.

That morning I’d had the same conversation as a hundred times before, “what is that your’re riding? It sure goes fast …” and a couple of kids even recognized that it was a surf mat “yeah I saw a guy riding one at Salt Creek the other day”.

So why am I the only one out riding the most advanced wave riding craft on the planet?

Why haven’t the masses caught on?

When Greenough changed everything about wave riding with his kneeboard Velo the cutting edge board riders (McTavish, Young etc) were quick to cut their board’s length down and change the fins to something more organic and functional. Surfing maneuvers, like nose riding and drop knee turns which had been cutting edge on 9’6” 50/50 railed logs were replaced by more radical bottom turn top turn combinations and significantly more time was spent in the tube.

The best professional wave riders on the planet were hungry for “total involvement” and a style of surfing which was less surfing the board and more about surfing the wave. 

The top pros, for the most part, have fallen back into that same rigid surf contest based definition of what constitutes surfing once again.  Just as nose riding (a sport within a sport) once ruled surf contests aerials are now the ticket to winning your heat and assuring the continued corporate sponsorship all pro surfers rely upon.
So will there be a paradigm shift moving away from the current definition of contest surfing as the gold standard and back to a “the best surfer out is the one having the most fun” definition of a good day in the surf?

I think so.

Free surfers or pros that no longer let the “three turns to the beach” mentality control their approach are on the rise, some are still retaining full corporate sponsorship.

Even more important is that everyday surfers are beginning to include alternative surf craft in their quivers.  The recent Hand plane Hoedown has drawn international attention. Paipo, Alaias and body surfing are all making a comeback.

Standing up on a Alaia or a fish, lying down on a mat or a Paipo or total imersed body surfing or using a handplane.

Surfers just want to have fun!

Remember the kids I mentioned as the beginning of the post? After I had shown them the mat I was riding, a Fourth Gear Flyer, one of them asked me what I did when I lost the mat in a wipeout. I replied that since I had fins on and was probably still in decent position in the lineup I would just bodysurf for a while then pick up my mat and continue surfing it. A wipeout wasn't a failure it just required some shifting gears to continue the stoke.  The poor lad, raised on a steady diet of magizines and contest video had never considered that surfing could be anything more than the one dimensional exercise that he saw the pros do in the magazines.

Surfing can be and should be practiced as a multi faceted exercise with a variety of wave craft.

The revolution is in the works but it still hasn't reached the  farthest or in some cases even the nearest corners of the surfing world yet.  


Surfsister said…
Pranaglider 2012

Let's make it happen. He's got my vote!
Thanks for the great post Prana. It is all about having fun on whatever craft (or not) one choses to surf. Every wave is a gift. Aloha and Cowa-flexit! Cher and Steve
KingWaka said…
I'm hearing you have put into words what I have been thinking...great post!
Lets keep the fun flowing
Robin Thomson said…
Pro riders now owning surf mats include Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Dean Morrison, Dave Rastovich, Rob Machado, Tom Curren, Wayne Lynch and Dan Malloy. So the message is slowly starting to get through on both sides of the Pacific. I am told that recently 8 mat riders shared a wave together at the Pass in Byron on the east coast of Oz.
pranaglider said…
Surf Sister, HA! I can't believe you are making quote LBJ! "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve." but I will surf...

Steve and Cher - Thank you so much. And it's so true every wave's a gift.

King Waka - Yes we are all in it for the fun!

Robin - A distinguished group indeed! Maybe we are reaching critical mass!

Popular Posts