And, “Mobs of newbies are polluting the soul of the sport”….
I don’t think anything, except maybe plucking the flower of a delectable lover, gives me as much a thrill as reading a new surfer’s complaints about the game.
You know these pests in the surf: oblivious to nuance, barking “but I was on the inside”, rigorously paddling for every single wave, maybe dressed head to know in some kind of lycra suit, with hat secured to head via chinstrap.
Today at Slate, for instance, Sarah Gold, a veteran of six years, throws close to 1500 words at her complaint that too many people surf in her piece, “Hipsters are Ruining Surfing”.
“…when I finally hefted my first hulking, foamy soft-top board into the waves, I plunged immediately back into my old love affair with the ocean. And I’ve tried since then to arrange my spare time around it: driving out of town to surf on weekends, planning holidays in spots with good beach breaks. Since I learned to surf, though, I feel like I’ve been mainly chasing—and hardly ever finding—that elusive sense of solo communion with the sea. The reason is simple: increasingly thick hordes of other surfers.
“As a relative newbie myself, I recognize the hypocrisy of my complaint, which certainly isn’t a new one. After all, surfing veterans have been grousing for decades about the ever-growing ranks of “kooks”—clueless rookies—invading their home breaks. But even a fledgling surfer can see that overcrowding on the waves these days is real—and posing a threat to what many long-timers call the “soul” of the sport.”
The risks to surf spots have become so critical, in fact—and the desire to standardize waves for surf tournaments so fierce—that in the past decade, at least eight attempts have been made to engineer artificial breaks. These have all, thus far, been unsuccessful—but the latest, a much hyped inland wave pool unveiled in December by legendary surf champion Kelly Slater, has yet to prove itself one way or another.”
Why are so many people surfing? This is where the story slips from its hinges.
The reasons are listed: because GQ and other sexy fashion mags are doing stories on it; the “steep increase in competitive surf tournaments” … surf spots are disappearing!
Did you know? Let me throw back to the author.
“The risks to surf spots have become so critical, in fact—and the desire to standardize waves for surf tournaments so fierce—that in the past decade, at least eight attempts have been made to engineer artificial breaks. These have all, thus far, been unsuccessful—but the latest, a much hyped inland wave pool unveiled in December by legendary surf champion Kelly Slater, has yet to prove itself one way or another.”
Online democracy is the great equaliser, of course. And the comments below the story tee off on the author.
“Summon the Whaaaaaaa-mbulance! Would you like some cheese with your Whine?”
“You know, once you get past being a teenager, you are supposed to grow past the whole “ugh, people who wanna do the same things as me are so lame”.
“Jesus. Full of yourself much? Devoting one sentence to saying “this may be kind of hypocritical” does not mean you’ve addressed the issue. This sounds like an incredibly dull and meaningless non-issue. You did not help it become more interesting but my eye-rolling did increase.”
“This reads like a midwest transplant whining that Brooklyn used to be great before all the outsiders ruined it. “
“This article could have been written at any time from the 1950’s onward. It will probably be written again 50 years from now.”
Maybe you agree with the author’s sentiment? Do you? Or are you similarly haunted by these mouth-y pests?