Confession: We Van-Lifed
Blame the guy in the FCS hoodie.
Today’s FWD is going to be a little different.
I blame the guy in the FCS hoodie. I encountered him at a parking lot in Galicia earlier today. Galicia, for the uninitiated, is a region in the northwest of Spain. Its history is Celtic and its waves are absurdly fun.
Picture a long, empty beach. Now multiply that vision by about 5 because there’s no chance you initially envisioned a beach as long and empty as Galicia’s. Could be a river on one side, a few rocks out the back in the middle, a little hook that fades the swell towards the end. The coastline is full of many twists and turns that accommodate different swell and wind directions. Kelp everywhere. Peaks everywhere. People nowhere.
The type of place that feels sharky but probably isn’t. Maybe it is. Some things are better left unknown and especially un-thought-about.
Back to FCS hoodie guy — what could compel a man to wear an FCS hoodie? Is it a fin control passion that burns so intensely that it must be worn on one one’s chest in a blend of cotton and polyester? Was he fed up with the pandering of major surf brands but still felt a desire to express his affinity for surfing and so he fell in love with an FCS hoodie? Were they his initials? The mind boggles. Any insights you may have are welcome.
FCS hoodie guy was just hanging out in his FCS hoodie. Reading. Relaxing. Clothes drying to the side of the van, breeze blowing through his hair, not a care in the world. The very image of van life.
I, too, have been van lifing. Or is it van living? I don’t know, I’m new to this. I rented one — figured it was a safer way to experience new places as the second wave of COVID keeps lighting up Europe’s buoys — and am learning a lot.
An early takeaway is that, when it comes to surfing, there are two ways to operate — at least around here. You could set up somewhere and stay put. Hang out, surf when it looks fun, whatever will be will be. Or you can surf, come in, check the wind, look on Google maps, take a shot, take a sketchy dirt road down to a new beach, surf, keep checking, keep exploring, etc.
I have not yet read a page of the book I brought.
Goofy-footers be like: “Look at that inside left!” Photo: Todosurf
I once asked a neuroscientist why he thinks people like surfing. He told me that our brains are problem-solving machines and they love being right (cue the endorphins). Surfing seems like a fairly direct way to expose yourself to problems. There is a lot of satisfaction in thinking — better yet, feeling — hmm, a section will appear here and I can hit it like so and being right.
I think that satisfaction is magnified when surfing a new wave, when you’re still figuring out the basics of the equation. And it feels pretty good to be alone in clean blue water while tripping on the jagged beauty of a big green coastline.
At time of writing, I’ve surfed seven new waves in three days. All different, all fun. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to that book.
Which is why I’m changing up the format of today’s Fwd. It’s all intro, no links. That’s in part because I have not found good enough internet to load the homepage at stabmag.com. But mostly because I want you to find the time to surf a new wave, if you can.
And if you miss the links, I encourage you to send me your favorite (or least favorite) Stab stories this week along with some thoughts and I might run it in next week’s Fwd.
One last thing:
If a floater isn’t somewhat scary, the section wasn’t worthy.
E.A.S.T. Musician Hobo Dave’s Inspiring Journey Through Brain Injuries, Mental Illness, And Surfing
His film ‘Suburban Wilderness’ is a feel-good, core lord hit.
Episode 2: Vans Stab High, Central America, Presented By Monster Energy
Bring an ice pack, the space cadets have been wounded.
Does Anyone Else Notice This Ladybird’s Resemblance To Dane Reynolds?
Caity Simmers surfs with a familiar tenacity.
How Did A Billabong Logo End Up On Italo Ferreira’s Olympics-Winning Surfboard?
Clever marketing team finds legal loophole.
Son Of Metallica Bassist Scores 11 Year Old’s Straight Air Waco Edit
Ryji Masuda rocks and rolls in Waco.
Ben Howard Knifes South Coast Nuggets In ‘153624’
Ben Howard chooses the double black diamond approach to tube riding.
What Did We Learn From The Olympics?
The biggest takeaways from a writer who watched every single heat.
Covert Jr. Editor Virtually Slips Through The Heavily Guarded Gates Of Olympic Surfing
Better watch now, this won't stay up for very long.
Neal Purchase Jnr Shapes The Feeling He’s Searching For
Great artists hide themselves in their work.
You Could Fit Your Neighbor’s Sprinter Van Inside Of These Puerto Escondido Tunnels
Mexican Pipeline continues to churn out the goods.
Where Are We At With Sustainable Surfboards?
Hello, elephant in the room! Let's hear from some industry innovators.
Italo Ferreira and Carissa Moore Are Surfing’s First-Ever Olympic Gold Medalists
Here's how they won.
Everything You Never Knew About Italo Ferreira
A window into the gold medalist's meteoric rise.
John Florence Listed As Questionable For The Remainder Of The CT Season
“I’ll most likely make the decision in the next two days or so.”
The Flamboyantly-Dressed Man Who Got Surfing Into The Olympics Details His Experience
ISA President Fernando Aguerre opens up to Stab the day before the gold medal match.
Steph Falls Off Her Horse, Andino Triumphs Over John, Gabs Potentially Spells End To Jules’ Career Outside Contest Area
Big-ish waves, sharp surfing and no shortage of drama on day 2 of the Olympic…