There are few things on this earth more pleasing than a seemingly perfect, empty lineup.
Sifting through paranoia, terror and our current climate through a silly niche.
On my way to work Monday, my heart sank as reports came in from Las Vegas. Then again, yesterday morning, listening to the new-old gun control conversation with a heightened sense of paranoia, hearing about an easily purchasable device called a “bump stock” that turns a semi-automatic firearm into the automatic weapon used by the terrorist, and which quickly sold out following the Vegas shooting. Our friends in Hawaii and Australia are being told to take preparations for North Korean nuclear attacks. All this rides on the back of multiple hurricanes, Mexico’s seismic tragedies, death tolls rising, and here in sunny, upper-middle-class Los Angeles, we enjoy a permanent low anxiety anticipating “the big one”, certain that must be coming, that surely we won’t be allowed to continue to sit here, eating our Acai bowls and sipping our bone broths and six dollar lattes.
It’s unfortunate that the only time worldly problems are covered via surf media is when those worldly problems converge with our little coastal niche. (See, the Waves for Water Caribbean’s heroic relief efforts.) Unfortunate that, as those Hurricanes brought so much death, and family-splitting devastation, surfers enjoyed the solipsistic silver lining, weeks of long-period ground swell. The lucky score; the unlucky starve.
So, while the world enjoys a state of crisis unseen in my lifetime, I wonder: Why surfing?
Isn’t there something bigger, better, a movement more beneficial to the world at large than placing a cherry picker outside of Kelly Slater’s Wonderland, or Dane Reynolds' new film? When he couldn’t stand that feeling in his gut any longer, Hemingway fought in the Spanish Civil War. What are we fighting for?
Slapping our laptops, tapping away about Wave Pools, Kelly Slaters, title contenders, waves, lack of waves, France, Laird, a quest to find the best surfboard in the world (whatever that means), who Occy’s interviewing, what the pros do during their time off, boat trips, prize packs, hurricane-affected pets, comments, photo galleries, Heli-lifted surf huts, Julian Wilson and Mason Ho. Waking up to the incessant inbox flood of juice that, for the vast majority of the population, doesn’t provide sustenance.
But for a small percentage, it is everything. Every. Fucking. Thing.
Why surfing? Because shit happens, people die, families split. Civilizations crumble, walls are built and torn down. There are mass murders, genocide, poverty, rape, humanity. There’s good, bad, beautiful and ugly, all around.
And there’s surfing. This escape from everything. This everything. While the Twin Towers fell, New York fired and surfers discussed the current climate from the comfort of the water beneath the discomfort of a burning skyline. The ocean doesn’t stop. And, surfing won’t stop for anyone. No wave pool, SUP or Hydrofoil, WSL, country club or demigod could kill the soul.
Why surfing? Because it's necessary.