What Surfing Archetype Are You?
Brendan Buckley gives you your options in this week’s FWD.
Earlier this week, we posted an Instagram clip to tease our new Andy Irons film and claimed that he influenced the way we surf more than anyone else in the past 25 years.
Some agreed. Some did not. This is healthy, this encourages discourse, this could be perceived as a snub to a certain 11-time World Champ.
Do you have thoughts on the matter? Reply to this email and I’ll run my favorite response next week. For now, I’ll lay out some thoughts of my own.
I’m far removed from the process of learning how to surf. My dad surfs and taught me young — I have no memory of starting. But, I’d imagine, the early stages consist of simply figuring out the basics. The game has to change in a huge way at some point. I’d guess that occurs once you’ve gained enough skill to afford yourself some maneuvers and can make it work in a range of conditions.
That’s when the magic of surfing takes over — it’s the difference between learning to walk and learning to dance. Your options now feel endless. You can figure out how you really want to surf.
Do you want to be the charger, sitting under the pack, grinning when a cleanup set comes in, swinging on waves nobody else is looking at?
Or the finless funboy on a soft top, bucket hat and all?
Maybe the high-perf warrior, forever in pursuit of the next 4.17?
Maybe the earthy longboarder, taking things slow and putting too much emphasis on your kick-outs?
Maybe the punter, board painted black, caught in the delusion that shuv-its matter?
And so on.
The thing is, there’s a feeling in these archetypes. And there are surfers that inspire us to explore those feelings. I believe this is the theory behind paying individuals millions of dollars to wear polyester shorts adorned with specific logos.
And here’s the real kicker: You don’t have to choose just one. You can punt one weekend, charge the next and ride a log every single day in between. It’s an ever-evolving labyrinth.
It’s impossible to put Andy’s surfing in a box.
It’s also impossible to watch it and not get a sense of the feeling in it.
The evolution of professional surfing is difficult to wrap your brain around. When people first started winning World Titles, they were taking on debt in order to do so. By the time Pauline won a World Title, in 1993, the men had begun to make decent money while the women were still financially struggling. In this interview, Pauline opens up about the scene back then, her lifelong fight with arthritis and more. It’s a powerful read — especially for anyone questioning the WSL’s equal pay policy.
Something that makes surfing so different from most other professional sports is the fact that the majority of fans are also die-hard participants — which keeps the banter fun and the arguments irrational. A lot of us tend to forget that it’s actually a business, and has to operate as such. Andrew Stark gets it, though, as made clear in this podcast interview with CUSP. Cc Oprah if ya don’t mind.
Every Stab staffer answered that question. So did over 1500 people on Instagram. We found nostalgia to be a theme here. Chances are, your favorite surf movie became your favorite surf movie because it hit you at the right time — when you were falling in love with surfing.
Long live surf movies.
And long live Harry Bryant. His surfing is unique — I think it’s reached the Mason Ho level of must-watch. Combine that with Octopus’ reliably excellent output and you’ve got gold and/or a bright yellow surfboard. I’ve never felt more inspired to try something reckless on a wave.
Clips you’ve never seen, stories you’ve never heard and a deep dive into a truly bygone era in surfing. Here it is — the first drop of our four-part series on Andy. Enough said.
One last thing:
Bruce with braces and a silver chain [6:40 in the film above] is peak 1996.
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