Weekend Misc: The Population
More is more.
More people surf than ever before.
This could be subjective rather than statistical, but it’s supported by the stream of new faces in the lineup and never-more-empty shelves at surf shops. The understanding is that an invisible agent took a liking to human lungs and began to kill people worldwide, which forced everyone to go inside, which forced everyone to go outside. Many bought surfboards.
I remember feeling special for surfing at a certain point. In high school, I was a surfer, not a jock—not that that was even a thing. We had a surf team. But still, it felt like it made me different. Probably a result of the same evolutionary quirk that makes individuals feel cool for enjoying the sounds created by a separate group of people before others have caught on.
Now everyone knows the name of the band.
And crowds are, objectively, a nuisance. Especially when sets only come every 40 minutes. Or when that guy with a ton of foam under his chest is getting every wave. Or when that over-eager kid keeps sitting under you. Or when it feels like the ocean is conspiring against you.
But think big picture, grand scale.
More people means more ways of looking at surfing. It means more collective energy in the lineup. It means more challenges to the concepts of “surf culture.” It means more people to draw lines we’d never before noticed.
More people means more change, and wouldn’t it be a shame for something as imaginative as surfing to remain stagnant?
See you in the crowd.
In case you’ve missed it, here’s an award-winning documentary filmed in Liberia, where former child soldiers have fallen in love with surfing. Cliche as this may sound (very), I’d recommend watching this if you want to reconnect with why you—why all of us—ride waves.
Don’t mistake this for an advertisement. No money was exchanged here. It’s simply the work of a man who loves surfing, and loves asking questions, and likely owns an unreasonable amount of wax combs, leash strings, and other forms of surf paraphernalia. Watch to inform your next boardshort purchase.
Has someone’s surfing ability determined—in any way, shape, or form—the way you interacted with them? Jed Smith thinks we all fall victim to the irrational logic behind this, which inspired him to challenge the social hierarchies that exist in coastal enclaves. Click, read, provoke thoughts.
It started with a simple question: How could we live in a world where both Morgan Cibilic and Gabe Medina could compete in a Top 5 showdown at Lower Trestles? The answer ended up being over a thousand words long and serves as a good mid-season WSL pulse check.
If you watch the film in the first link, you’d likely walk away thinking it was a thoroughly planned execution. Nah. It started as a surf trip, but it became something much bigger. Learn more in this conversation with Water Get No Enemy director Arthur Bourbon, who also created a GoFundMe to build a surf club in Liberia.
Comment of the week:
This sentiment coming from an individual who identifies as Gandhi did it for me. Free prize for you, sir.
One last thing:
I overheard someone in the lineup describe a wave as a “rideable boil” and struggled for hours to figure out what he could have possibly meant.
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