20 April 2005

To Contest or Not to Contest?

No, I'm not so full of myself (yet) that I believe I'm ready for a surf contest. My dilemma, however, involves a contest which had only one woman competitor last year. So I'm thinking I'll do the contest this year, just to make it interesting (and because it's being put on by a group with which I'm loosely associated). My hesitation comes from, once again, having been a competitive cyclist. Cycling, like so many other sports, is much too serious for its own good. If you show up at a race without having trained hard, you will get your ass kicked and you will probably limp home with your tail between your legs. As a result, people who race bikes come to races raging. You have to go in with a certain mindset. You have to stay focused. You don't necessarily talk to your competitors (although I always did since the overly-intense stuff is not my style). I don't want to be that person anymore. As I've written in a previous post, I've seen how longboard competitions are. My take on them: Party on the Beach! My only hesitation is that I will expect too much of myself and take all of the fun out of simply being able to surf Leo Carillo with almost no one else in the water. In other words, I don't know what to do. I realize now that you don't have to be profecient at tricks to compete. When I went to that contest in Malibu, I was shocked—shocked, I tell you—to see that most of the people weren't doing anything more than riding the waves. "Hey, I thought this was a contest?" I guess I thought everyone out there would be doing noserides and the like. Alas, no. The contestants were just surfing. If I do this contest, will I be able to just enjoy myself and not worry about doing anything spectacular (other than my patented going-for-the-cheater-five-and-forgetting-to-walk-back faceplants)? Am I capable of separating my old fiercely competitive self from my new self? I don't know. I think I can. The hard thing is that the other woman is quite competitive. I don't know her well, but I always got the impression that she didn't like me just because I existed. So, in all truthfulness, she is the reason why I'm hesitant to do this thing. I want to have fun. But if she gives me attitude, I might forget that I'm there to have fun. What to do? What to do?

10 Comments:

At 4/20/05, 10:10 PM, Blogger beachgirl said...

I'll be there to cheer you on! And party on the beach with the other longboarders, of course. :-)

 
At 4/21/05, 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can tell you my take on comps. I don't like 'em.

For me, contests take the soul out of surfing. If you enter a competition the idea is to compete (win) otherwise why enter. Surfing is much more than hitting critical parts of the wave with a maneuver and getting reward with points for it.

I've contemplated entering contests and I've come to the conclusion that they are not for me. Why? For me surfing is a way to unlock some sort of spirituality that helps clear my head , it gets me back to nature and it allows me to have fun. I'm not knocking contests, I've gone to plenty in my day. They just aren't for me. If I entered one, it would feel odd to be judged, on what I personally take, as a very personal soulful experience.

Also, I'd rather surf 3 hours than surf in 15 minute chunks of time and be judged on that.

Whether you enter or not, hopefully it's for the right reasons.

 
At 4/21/05, 9:21 AM, Blogger crustyripper said...

I think you should enter just to kick her ass!! But seriously, I have entered a few interclub contests up North and by and large, you are just hanging out having fun waiting for your heat. The heat is only twenty minutes and goes by real fast. But it does elevate your surfing. First, your natural human competitiveness kicks in, and then everyone is watching you. I was more aggressive going for waves, and walked the board more instead of just standing there. I never advanced in a heat but who cares. If she is the only woman then you guys would be competing with all the men too? There’ll be plenty of room to move around, it’s not like she’ll be able to sit on you and get all “strategy” like Kelly Slater versus some hapless beginner. Go for it, have fun. Plus, you’ll get a T-shirt. And, you sound like a naturally competitive person so you’ll probably enjoy contests in the future. In two years, she’ll be afraid to enter!

 
At 4/21/05, 9:24 AM, Blogger Whiffleboy said...

Like Anon, surfing is more of an expressive, theraputic, personal thing to me as well [he said, while continuously allowing his surf journal to be read by the masses]. To me, you seem to be the type that is quite content with pushing yourself to excel at surfing without having to be in a contest to do it. I could be wrong, but, I'm kind of that way myself and like to think I can recognize that in others.

Are you sure this isn't more about your competitor than it is surfing? Just asking...

 
At 4/21/05, 9:27 AM, Blogger crustyripper said...

I just re-read my post and I think I'm coming off as focused on this other woman having a bearing on you entering or not. The "kick her ass" comment is a joke. What I mean to say is: Just ignore her, enter and see if you like the whole scene as a participant. But most of all have fun!

 
At 4/21/05, 11:25 AM, Blogger Alan_M said...

You'll never know unless you try... you might like it! I didn't like competing mostly because I had to wait for hours to get to surf for 15 mins., and almost every contest I was in was held in dismal conditions. However, these were NSSA contests with lots and lots of competitors to rotate through, so you may get more water time, and you just might win! Good luck and have fun if you go for it!

 
At 4/21/05, 1:46 PM, Blogger RuggerJay said...

I tend to agree with the anti-comp people, only because I'm a mediocre surfer at best and were I to enter one, I'd be pelted with rocks and garbage by the spectators.

 
At 4/21/05, 6:22 PM, Blogger puttzle said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 4/21/05, 6:31 PM, Blogger puttzle said...

I would have to agree with anonymous and whiffleboy's comments. Surfing is more than a sport to me, it's an artform. While compliments and accolades might be nice, I surf for myself, nobody else.

 
At 4/21/05, 6:33 PM, Blogger puttzle said...

Oh, BTW, I am knocking contests! They have killed what surfing used to be all about...but that happened a long time ago. Surfing is what it is and we should get all we can out of it, so if a contest is what you want, more power to ya!

 

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