Awhile ago, I was looking for pictures to add to my blog. After a while, a sad fact began to dawn on me. I have been surfing since I was a young lad yet I barely have any real photos of myself surfing. What is also strange is that I surf in social sessions (Typhoon Lagoon), I surf in foreign countries, and I also on rare occasions surf on the edge of the competition zone and yet the pictures are as frequent as a clear photo of a Sasquatch.
Plight of the Underground Hero
Everyone can name off a guy that rips yet gets no exposure. Sure it is an ego boost to have people tell you that you rip but it also is not as great as what it is cracked up to be. For example, some people call Dave Rastovich an underground hero. But how underground is the guy when he is filming parts for the next Billabong movie??? Sure he is out riding his 70’s single fin, but when he comes home from a session; David can gleefully open his box of products that his sponsor sent him along with a fat paycheck.
Yesterday I went out at 13th Street in Cocoa Beach and it was rather sloppy but I was excited to catch a few waves. I saw the normal guys and a few minutes later two younger kids paddled out and set up camp on the inside. They were decent enough but most of their ending turns were just throw away fake air attempts. My first wave I did mess up and I ate it. My bad! My next was a left and I took off in a good steep section and came hard off the bottom and hooked it hard under the lip. I could see the white water coming around me and I came out at the bottom and kicked stalled before the next section. When I came into the mid-break, I could see the two guys giving me that “Who is this guy?” look. So I went back out and snagged a few more. When I kicked out by one of them, I asked him if the inside was fun and he kind of grunted a “yeah”. So being the unknown guy doesn’t always make you friends…If I was say, Gabriel Medina, I am sure they would have been stoked. When you are a middle-aged guy with a board free of stickers, the stoke goes out the window.
Underground Guy and the Media
Every once in a while, the media likes to give a tiny morsel of attention to some underground guy. For instance, Eastern Surfing Magazine has a section called, “Who Da Guy”. Sure on the surface it sounds like they are plucking some guy out of the wood work and sending him on to a path that will lead to fame and fortune. In reality, your lack of exposure is a hassle to the serious photographers. At my home break, on a good south swell, some of the pros come over from the other side of the inlet and they bring their team of lens men with them. So you paddle out and do all you can which includes pulling into sections that you should have straightened out in and you hope that maybe a picture of you will surface some place. In reality, your presence is only a pain to the photographers. When you catch the bomb set wave and the pro watches you take off, the photographer puts down his lens and moans. Not this guy again! When Mr. Pro paddles into position, he springs to life and the motor drive grinds out photo after photo. So your exposure level stays on par to where it has always been which is the people in the water give you props for your performance and you have the same 5 photos of yourself to show the world that you have had for 10 years. For some reason, you seem to have few photos of you killing it during your dream session and lots of photos of you doing lame things such as my next photo!
Proof of Sasquatch Existence?
Sadly, there are no clear photos of a Sasquatch but I will give you a few of myself and this time I am actually riding on the wave! I just had to high lite that to show how amazing it is!
Another Sad Note From My Previous Photos:
My home break is Ponce Inlet and it is a predominant right. The pictures from the Gulf Coast are from Twin Piers which is also a predominant right break. For some reason, 2 of my shots are the result of me catching a right and as I was paddling out away from the main peak to avoid the traffic, I saw some freak left and took off. How often am I tempted to do this?? Like maybe twice a year. The other sad thing is that most of the shots are not from Ponce Inlet. Maybe the lesson here is to get out of my home spot!
As for the readers of this entertaining blog, if you know an underground charger, please do something big for the guy besides telling him he rips. Maybe send his shot into my blog for some much-needed glory or buy a Volcom sticker to put on his board so the photographer will think he is going to get some kind of fat paycheck. As for the underground rippers out there, please don’t stop getting pummeled in some close out pit for free. Sure your insurance will barely cover the medical expenses and your wife will scream that you are not being productive with your life but maybe there is a slimmer of hope that someone got a photo and you can add it to your amazing collection that you already have! I am sure even Parko and Fanning have many photos of themselves doing stretches on the shore and walking out to the line up.
Breaking News! See Photo Below!