/*23 Breaths: The revolution will not be televised ...*/

Friday, October 25, 2013

The revolution will not be televised ...

but portions will be caught on GoPro

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 surf mats.

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.
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 even 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, not that they really ever left. So long as wave riders for go their leashes, waves will be waves and toss said riders ass over tin cup requiring a body surf to the beach to recover their surf craft. When "surfing" is not so narrowly defined as standing up on a board, the full spectrum of wave riding can be experienced not as separate pieces but as part of the whole enchilada.

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 wipe out. I replied that since I had fins on and was probably still in decent position in the lineup I would just body surf for a while then pick up my mat and continue surfing it. A wipe out wasn't a failure it just required some shifting gears to continue the stoke.  The poor lad, raised on a steady diet of magazines 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.

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.  


The Arthritic Surfer said...


Neil Griffith said...

ahhh Pranasan there are mysteries beyond our ken. Like why does the toast falling on the floor end with the jam facing the floor?