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.
A bit of a Holloween, Days and Nights of the undead, Surf story...
in the backyard for weeks
covered in mud
the result of my son’s nocturnal roaming
thru the back bay mud
It was irritating,
a good pair of regulation
going to waste
I have worn out
over the years
The blue suede ones
in high school
as much as a uniform
as the red ones were that
I wore busing tables at the Cannery restaurant
my senior summer
(I had long hair and had to wear a wig to work
but that's another post)
Immortalized as the prefered footwear of surfers in Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Vans have been around for ages (Founded: March 16, 1966)
One of there big draws was they came in different colors and materials,
other that blue and white canvas Keds or Converse
Surfers are hip and unique individuals
so we all had to have something different on our feets...
They had a store right across the street from my high school
the shoes held up well,
and the box was useful
My seashell collection currently resides in one on my closet top shelf
Vans were indeed my shoe of choice for decades
I'm partial to the two tone blue slipons...
these shoes go to waste
First I soaked them
in a bucket
they would never be
snow white again
So and idea came to me
as all ideas do
during my morning
I am a sloppy
and I know
it stains everything in its path
stains it good
so in full Cyrus Sutton DIY mode
I would use a half pound
of the weird espresso
to stain them
after a week in the coffee bucket
RIP James Van Doren co founder of the Van Doren rubber company.
500 AM PDT MON OCT 14 2013
FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...
EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..
THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES
ON TROPICAL STORM OCTAVE...
LOCATED A FEW HUNDRED MILES SOUTH-SOUTHWEST
OF CABO SAN LAZARO MEXICO...
AND HAS INITIATED ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL STORM PRISCILLA...
LOCATED ABOUT 700 MILES SOUTHWEST OF THE SOUTHERN TIP
OF THE BAJA CALIFORNIA PENINSULA.
Nothing says "Fall" more than a two pack of hurricanes
*If these storms were called "Biggie Big" and "Snoop"
I would say we have a "Tupac of hurricanes"
But they aren't
and I can't
and on this chilly Monday morning
I think we are all a little bit
because of that...
Some are just legendarily good people, artists, film makers and the like
Bing and Pez and the rest
Others are the more traditional board makers, magazine publishers, surfers etc
I gathered all of my available courage and walked up to Steve Pezman and thanked him profusely for making such a great magazine. I continued to gush that one of the reasons it meant so much to me as a surfer was that I didn't have to read Surfer and Surfing ...
Pez laughed and started looking for the panic button that would alert event security of another nut job...
The pic above has at least 2 and a half Legends in it
The Shape Off
The shape off had an interesting twist this year
"an interesting twist" being an old shaper joke ...
but I digress...
They gave each contestant
a BIG block of foam
(sort of shaped like a refrigerator)
"you're a shaper...shape something out of that...you have two hours"
no preshaped, close tolerance blank for this one folks
"you want some rocker?
well do ya punk?
go ahead and shape some in"
I resisted the urge to shout
"Is my board done yet?"
There by escaping the pounding I so richly deserved...
I don't know who came up with this idea
but it was brilliant!
We will never see it again.
My favorite part of the show is the stuff people bring in to have appraised
Like I said before Lots of Legends
Rich Harbour who most people think of a long board guy
shaped one of the best short boards I ever saw,
more Legends than you could shake a stick at!
I was starting to test this theory
but in short order
security was called
and they were not amused...
and the stick was confiscated ...
there were even virtual legends on the big screen
BTW this was as close as we got to anything mat related at
The Board Room
Still no Love
for the most advanced surf craft on the planet
Yeah I know
"The Bored Room" an all
but come on
throw a surf sub-culture a
freakin bone people!