I am currently in the process of creating one of my true wonders of penmanship. I have been writing and re-writing this piece for days. Well, maybe weeks because work has been kicking my butt and today I woke up at 11:oo. So the effort maybe sporadic but the final outcome must be worthy of the subject.
So I decided to just write some small part of the final work. The subject is compelling. It is about whether you are cool if you put your boards on the surfboard racks facing backwards.
Please write in with your stories of sleepless nights over this subject!
My ode to the great Al Stewart! All the kids love him!
I was once given a surfing magazine from a friend. The magazine has a lot of sentiment attached to it and a pretty cool backstory as well. The magazine was issued in 1969. It is a collector’s item that I will be hard pressed to part with.
Now and then, I think about my friend and his gift to me. Then I see the magazine and scan through it looking at the names of the young surfers who at this time are probably in their late 60’s. Looking at the faces, you would be hard pressed to put a date on the photos. Their faces are full of love for the lifestyle that they enjoy.
When I read the magazine a few days ago, for some reason the pages held meanings that I have never noticed before. Maybe in the past, I was in a different state of mind. Life was easy. I was traveling, the bills were being paid, and the personal life was flowing like a stream into a river. When life is easy you tend to only see things in a limited scope.
This time, I really took the words in and read the stories. I looked at the advertisements. I read the captions.
Where has the soul gone?
This subject is now plastered in some modern magazines that pertain to surfing. The writers lament about the contest scene and the scores of angry Brazilians invading the beaches that the whiter folks once used to escape the rat race. Many are trying to take surfing back to the simple times. When life was pure and we all hugged each other in the line ups.
In A Gadda Da Vida baby!
The Capsule Doors Open and…
So here I am in 1969. The pages hold the keys to the spiritual awareness of our mother ocean. Beckoning her spawn to return to the harmony of the sea like the 60’s. Read more child…
Nat Young and the new short board. Girls in bikinis on the beach. Contest recaps 1 – 16. Who is the new hot young East Coast surfer?
And the advertisements…Be a better surfer! Buy this new fin that will make you surf faster!
Then there are the new products for surf training. Like webbed gloves to make you paddle faster and a board to simulate surfing on land. Sound familiar?
Basically I have found that in some ways; things back then were really no different from today. But in other ways, things are drastically different as the media suggests…
To my fellow surf journalists who get paid for their work. You my brethren are no different from all the other folks who are pushing some made up nostalgia unto the world.
That is because we are in the perhaps the best of times (at present).
We can travel to remote places. We wear wetsuits that no longer rub the skin right off our necks and turn our armpits into a fiery-red mess.
People are riding a wider variety of surfboards than we ever have before. Alaia boards, single fin-hulls, old keel fishes, longboards, sub-drivers, quads, twin fins, thrusters – we have it all! Even a resurgence in bodysurfing!
We are riding waves that could never be dreamed of riding in the sixties. They did not even ride Backdoor back in the day! Imagine them trying to take on Shipsterns Bluff?
What about the surfing and those contests? Gone are the days of “4 to the shore” and heats consisting of 15 minutes of hassling. This has given way to guys that can do tricks and switch it up with rail surfing that is unparalleled. No more s-turning on the shoulder in a desperate attempt to get an extra point in tacked on for doing the most “maneuvers”.
To top it off, we have surf contests that we can actually watch online. This is especially helpful when you want to waste time at work.
Rejoice in the present! Why would anyone want to return to the past? Do other sports do this? Modern skateboarders never dream of slaloming through cones on their Logan Earth Ski skateboard. NASCAR drivers don’t wish to go back to a dirt track. Tennis players don’t pine for old wooden rackets.
So children of the sea, rejoice in our modern age of enlightenment. You have the power to take to the sea on your hull and later you can nose pick away on your Fred Rubble to the delight of the dolphins.
We have the freedom to go back and steal from the past. The surfers of the past will never be able to alley-oop over a section and continue down the line. I bet even Greg Noll’s jaw drops when he sees guys towing into Jaws or Mavericks.