Are you a selfish surfer? Of course you are!
Selfishness and surfing go together like wine and cheese. How many instances of doing something petty or selfish to ensure yourself a better session can you recount? Everything surfers do can fall under the selfish umbrella. I’ve slunk out of the quarters of a beautiful woman in the predawn light just to score some waves instead of hanging around for a morning glory.
The collective egotism of avid surfers welcomes scrutiny. We’re selfish dicks that only want waves untarnished by crowds, peeping eyes and less “qualified” participants. Stay away from the localized spots because they are more entitled to the waves than any would be traveler. Kooks on wave storms don’t deserve spitting barrels at any spot typically dominated by core chargers.
We’re all self-centered, neoprene-covered assholes that spend hours and hours of our lives for a few seconds on a wave. Surfer’s entitlement and self-fulfillment is absolutely ridiculous. We’re not special, we’re not as cool as we’d like to think, and no one outside surfing really gives two shits about what we do. What does one do when a bit of introspection uncovers this painful reality? Do something selfless. Selflessness can set you free from the self-fulfilling lifestyle.
Instagram is the social media epicenter of selfishness. Every selfie, like count, tag and post adds to a person’s ego. I’ve had moments of pride when going over 50 likes on a post. The immediate access to events, information, or world news does up the value of the app.
Two weeks ago, I was flicking through my feed full of bikini clad women, spitting barrels, and Joe Biden meme’s when a post from Scott Bass (@boardroomshow) invited any and all San Diego locals to participate/volunteer for the One Wave One Cause Challenge in La Jolla.
The event was for the local Boys to Men Mentoring Foundation, organized by local legend Bird from Birds Surf Shed, as a fundraising event as well as world record attempt of the most people surfing one wave at one time. The current standing record being 110 people, set in South Africa.
I immediately contacted Scott to partake as a steward/recorder of the attempt. The pre-event meeting was unsurprisingly short staffed but the excitement levels were high. Bird and Scott both emphasized that since the event had already raised $55,000 for Boys to Men, the event was already a success. Achieving the world record would be a cherry on top of the sundae.
Broke up into teams with different colors, my team, Team Pink, consisted of a few locals, a few father-son duos, and some passers by that signed up last minute. I was in charge of organizing and counting each member’s attempt along with the help from two Navy SEALs who aided in keeping our eighteen member strong team together. These humble warriors were some of the nicest people I’d ever worked with. After twelve attempts, the vibes were high, 120+ surfers were in the water, and the smiles were endless.
Everyone involved, including the local legends, pro surfers, groms and weekend wave warriors, took part in something that wasn’t about them. A selfless event that helped people, made history as a group, and was merely for the fun of trying. I spent the event bouncing around from person to person, absorbing everyone’s excitement and experience. I didn’t surf before or after the event.
There was no need to. I felt happiness that was insurmountably better than any session I’d ever had in recent months. The record wasn’t achieved either, narrowly missing the goal of over 110 people.
Having now participated in the One Wave One Cause Challenge, as well as the Surfers Healing event the previous summer, which takes kids with autism surfing, these events will give any surfer a much needed reality check. I’m not here to gloat and boost my own ego by saying that I’m a better person because I selflessly volunteered in these events. I’m still a selfish, 24 year old, average surfer that bitches if the crowd’s a bit too large or if someone in the lineup ruins MY surfing experience. If life truly is about changing, learning and growing, anyone willing to take their head out of their ass and do something for someone else will facilitate that growth.
I’ve found more gratification within our trivial surfing bubble assisting in events that don’t directly benefit myself at all, as opposed to only looking to placate my egocentric needs. Ultimately I encourage everyone to find something selfless to partake in. Teach a relative how to surf, volunteer at an NSSA contest, hand out water at a cancer walk, and pack food for impoverished kids; anything where you work hard for no money or immediate self-satisfaction.
Just give it a try. How’s that for an “anti-depressive” piece for you selfish savages?