How To Juggle Surfing With Other Responsibilities
An invaluable life lesson.
Ed note: the following is the third installment of our new weekly email chain called the Stab Fwd. If you're into it, subscribe here.
Google says that 35 million people surf.
I didn’t believe that. So I wrote it down, then went for a surf — hoping I’d find the words to elaborate on my doubtfulness somewhere in the water and punch them into this keyboard upon my return. I’m back now, hair still wet, and this is what I think.
I may have just surfed with half of them.
After days of no sun and much wind, the elements traded places. It was a fine evening with backlit, greenish-gold chest-high peaks ramping up and down the beach. I was fascinated by the range of people in the water. There were the two zinc-faced kids on epoxies; they paddled aggressively and surfed fairly well. The guy in the springsuit, who looked like a guy in a springsuit. The crew with the twinnies and the haircuts (you know what I’m talking about). The middle-aged woman who mad-dogged her foamie into a steep straighthander, which was sick.
When I came in, I walked past a group of three young men on the beach, wetsuits still halfway on, plastic atrocities of surfboards off to the side. They were blaring techno and one was juggling with, like, real juggling pins.
35 million people.
When I was younger, I thought that you only “surfed” if you mimicked the behavior exhibited in the ...Lost movies or could at least articulate in great detail what you like about Taj’s surfing. If you subscribed to Surfer Magazine to put in on your coffee table and hung the 3-surfs-a-year longboard on your wall, you were an invalid swine.
A bit harsh.
I still think there’s a gradient to everything. I’ve golfed three times and will likely do it again at some point in the future, but does that mean I golf? Am I golfer? And I still think it’s fun to heckle every aspect of surfing (see here and here). But part of me is happy to watch surfing expand, evolve, and take on new shapes. It’s all about enjoying it, and we’ll all be better for it. Even if longboards are hung on walls. Even if juggling pins are involved.
International Surfing Day is on Saturday. Make sure you get a few waves and possibly laugh at the view.
Sharks. Kelly Slater. Nudity. The Wedge. Nothing drives traffic like these four topics. The Wedge is at the lower end of the spectrum, but still fends pretty well for itself. For proof, look no further than the impulse to click that you’re currently experiencing.
Side note: If you really want to lose an eye, you gotta strike a Future’s Jordy Smith pro model with your face. Be sure to target the optic nerve. I speak from experience.
Other than carnage at the Wedge, you know what else people love? Surfboards. They’re supposed to bridge that mysterious and presumably immense gulf between how we do surf and how we could surf. Except, they’re probably not going to do that — but they can make surfing more enjoyable. In my experience, there is no such thing as a bad JS. Every Stab In The Dark Pilot seems to agree.
The East Coast Surfing Championships, also known as ESCS, has been described as the US Open of the East. I once walked by a couple having sex and an individual passed out with a pile of vomit next to him in the same hotel stairwell there. The organizers of this proud event need to double-down and hold it anyway, officially declaring Virginia Beach as the greatest city on earth (for COVID and degenerate teenagers).
Right on the dot. Last week, we shared a tale about a good-ish wave in Mississippi. This week, let’s talk about the backlash. Even Slater chimed in! Feel free to lob a few grenades, then go back to thinking about Skeleton Bay instead.
Surfing just feels different in the summer. So, with the solstice coming up on Sunday, this seemed like the most appropriate edit to share. The waves might not align with what most of us will be surfing this summer, but Mason’s approach and the overall vibe of this edit simply makes you want to groove.
We’ve got a song for all seasons. This is a few weeks old, but I missed it due to America being on fire and all, so I’ll put it here. It has that classic winter aesthetic. Speaking of which, Jai’s style should make your eyes happy.
Another day. Another chance to admire the work of a surf photographer/filmer while travel remains on hold. Here’s a video and some words from a name you certainly recognize. Click the name to see more on his site.
This is Noah Wegrich, potentially my new favorite surfer, going for broke at Temples in Bali, Indonesia. There is something incredibly satisfying about watching someone punt a massive air and staying perfectly in control, which Noah does more than often. I pulled this framegrab from one of the many picturesque days we had cruising around Uluwatu, in-between sipping watermelon juices pool-side and getting harrassed by psychotic monkeys... What a wonderful place and time.
One last thing:
I know I laid out that whole spiel in the intro, but SUPers are not surfers. They are, by definition, paddlers.