20 December 2007

Speaking the Truth

This was in the Dec/Jan 2008 issue of The Surfer's Path. I couldn't find it online to copy and paste. I decided to go ahead and start typing it into the blog.

Maybe the time is now ripe to reevaluate all that we are doing. Surfing has come of age and is now a multi-million dollar industry, which provides for the daily bread and butter for hundreds, probably thousands, of people across the globe. And that this is possible is great, but the question has to be asked: Is the old girl aging well and growing into something to be proud of, or is she turning into the thing we, as surfers, are supposed to be opposed to?

We like to think of surfing as something pure, with a social and environmental consciousness, yet you, the day-to-day surfer, the lifeblood of the surfing lifestyle, glare and growl at one another in the water. You bicker over your waves, and then you happily reveal them to all in cyberspace. You try to outdo one another with your bravado and out-fashion each other with your brand labels. To an outsider it might appear that you surf only for image.

If that seems a sorry state of affairs then just take a moment to examine "us", the industry. Should we worry that Third World surf camps come complete with spas, charge surfers more than non-surfing partners, and restrict or ban local people from their own waves? Should we panic when a major surf clothing company claims to be environmentally aware, but sees nothing wrong in sponsoring a top Formula One driver? Should we fret when the publishers of FHM and New Woman control our surf magazines? Should it be an issue that advertisers who own golf brands sometimes dictate what can and cannot be said in our surfing media? Maybe worst of all, should we be distraught when 'surf' shops in Europe's most famous surf town are nothing but fashion sweat shops, where non-surfing bosses have a pool in the garden and a Porsche in the garage, and the surfing staff are paid so little they can hardly afford to eat?

This is a portion of the postscript to an article entitled "Echoes of Santosha". I initially bought the mag because of that article; most of the folks in the pictures, both in the water and out, were black. Article aside, it was worth the $10 simply to read this guy's take on the current state of surfing. See, I'm not a big fan of surf magazines. I'm 44, female, black and open to riding different types of boards on waves of varying height. Surfing. Surfer. Longboard. I'm bored and can't relate. The Surfer's Journal is hit and miss for me. Thanks to The Surfer's Path, this was the first time in a long time that I've enjoyed reading a surf magazine.


At 12/20/07, 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

surf magazines ruined surfing

At 12/20/07, 1:39 PM, Blogger Surfsister said...

Yeah. I think you're right.

At 12/23/07, 8:14 AM, Blogger Whiffleboy said...

Eh...magazines just capitalize on pro surfers. Pro surfers exist because of money. It was money that ruined surfing.

...and bloggers. Surf bloggers put the nails in the coffin, what with all the non-surfers they convert. :-)


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