Do You Even 'Try' When You Surf? - Stab Mag
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Do You Even ‘Try’ When You Surf?

Or do you feign indifference in an attempt to look cool?

style // Dec 11, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Ed note: the following is the 634th installment of our new weekly email chain called the Stab Fwd. If you’re into it, subscribe here.

I think about trying. 

As in, making an effort. Not in the sense of sampling something. 

It seems to have become uncool to try — or at least make it appear as though you are trying. 

This could be represented by a thoroughly mediocre surfer on a popular high-performance board model unleashing a barrage of thoroughly mediocre turns on a 2-foot crumbly wave as if he needs a 2.87 in the dying seconds of a Round 1 heat at a sad low-level QS. Except there is no contest. It’s just a cruisy Sunday morning at your local. 

You might also imagine someone riding that same wave on nine or so feet of resin-tinted foam, parallel standing their way to the beach with their hands by their sides. 

We can probably agree on which individual is more likely to be considered “cool” in the context of modern surf culture.   

I think this shift began about ten years ago. I would bet that it was related to the confusion inspired by a world in which Dane Reynolds and Ben Dunn could exist on the same tour. That, and the prevalence of exercise bikes around surf contests.  

The change was subtle at first — maybe you’d see a talented surfer riding a hand-shaped plug of a board — but I think that’s where the current alternative trend really began. Which is nice. Our world has become more vivid because of it. 

But, I think about trying. I think about words like effortless and I have to call bullshit.  

Do you know how much effort it requires to surf? If you’re reading this, I’m sure you do. Buying a surfboard. Applying wax to that surfboard. Driving to the beach. Putting on a skin-tight rubber suit. Introducing the board to the ocean. Learning to speak, or at least comprehend, the ocean’s language. Acquiring the strength to paddle into a wave. Jumping to your feet. 

None of this occurs without effort. And if you want to view surfing as solely whatever occurs on the wave then, well, I’d like to see the evidence that suggests a soul arch is a human being’s natural posture. 

There is no such thing as not trying. But trying to make it look like you’re not trying? That’s a thing. Let’s not pretend that trying only involves physical movements performed while on a wave. Trends change. Which means that people, too, have to change if they want to stay on top of trends. That requires trying. And that’s OK — just be honest about it. 

It’s time to end the war on trying. 

You want to do jumping jacks on the beach and then go hammer some cutbacks? Do it with pride. Want to stand with your feet real close together on a longboard and go straight? High five a kid on your best wave. She’ll probably fall in love with longboarding because of it. 

Surf how you want, do what you want. And don’t feel bad for trying. 

Ok now scroll down for the irreverence. 

Surfing Needs An Anti-Hero

I have a hot take on this one. It’s gotta be John John. Medina came off as kind, genuine, and incredibly likeable in the Unplugged interview he did with Mick Fanning. He is the good guy now and John needs to pivot. Get some tattoos. Dye his hair black. Wear a hooded rash guard everywhere and say controversial shit on the WSL webcast. Our world, it seems, has a thing for polarization. 

OG Surf Journo Sean Doherty Buys Surfing World Magazine

Surf mags are dead! Just kidding. Only the bad ones are. I’ve written about it here before (specifically in my love letter to Surf100) but with more and more noise being made and less and less of it aimed at the core, stories like this are simply good news for people who love surfing. 

Breaking: South Korea Reveals The Largest Functional Wavegarden Pool Yet

Real question: Can anybody keep track of all these wavepools? Headlines like this seem to appear every week. Is there like a map or something where we can see all of them and go through, one by one, and cite unique reasons as to why we won’t go there?

Now, are you ready for a duel? 

The topic: Criticism of pro surfers. The debaters: Ace Buchan vs Michael Ciaramella (who identifies as a basement-dwelling midget). It is likely to be the best debate you’ll hear all week, not that the bar has been set too high…

Want to watch a tugboat worker surf? 

Came to the right place. Despite no longer being paid to do so, Jay Davies still surfs fucked-up-good. Also, big shoutout to Tom Jennings for making this film. I will immediately consume anything with either of those names on it, and this did not disappoint. I’d file it as a must-watch, edit of the year contender, etc. Indulge. 

Want to feel good about yourself? 

Everybody suffers at some point in life. And they say that gratitude is one of the most powerful things we can conjure to influence our mental health in a positive way. Read this story to feel grateful that your genitals are not currently being stung by a jellyfish. 

One last thing: 

With winter coming in the northern hemisphere, I want to remind everyone that you should never be more than 20 feet away from a surfboard when you’re wearing a wetsuit. Please keep this in mind, stay hydrated, stay alert, stay diligent, and stay safe.

Subscribe here to the Stab Fwd.

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