It turns us into hustlers, liars, unreliable employees and even worse life partners…
I say, of all the exquisite pleasures that have flooded my body, nothing has come close to riding a wave tank on a moonlit night in the North Atlantic, with a handful of pals. The eerie warmth, the surprising power, the way the wave faded into darkness, board invisible beneath my feet, my heart beating like a hummingbird.
Why the contempt? Why the burning passion…against?
BeachGrit: Have you ever surfed a pool? Would you like to ride a pool? I’ve ridden a couple, a shitty one (Malaysia) and a pretty good one (Canary Islands) and, boy, does cynicism wash away real fast.
Warshaw: I was poolside at the Allentown debacle in 1985, but did not surf it. But that wave was shit. Totally different deal from Slater’s pool, or even Wavegarden.
You write, take away the wave and we’re just… parkour. Is that all, essentially, surfing is?
Surfing in a wavepool is… take your pick. Parkour, half-pipe, gymnastics. Except worse, because those sports will never be any better or worse than what they are, while surfing in a wavepool you’re kind of sticking your finger in the eye of the whole deal. And no single pool, or single session, is going to ruin surfing. But the years will pass, and the pools will pop up across the land, and if we live long enough, Derek, the sport to some degree will be shaped by, will shape itself around, wavepools. And so yeah, that makes us parkour.
Scarcity made our sport. Lack of good surf makes surfing really difficult, for starters, which is great, and then it turns us all into hustlers and liars and travelers and autodidacts unreliable employees and even worse life partners, and that shit put together is really all we have going for us in terms of surf culture and personality.
Kelly’s pool will lead surfing to an existential crisis, you say. Are pools really the end of the world? And what does this dystopia look like?
was about Bruce Brown and his buddies getting bummed out about how crowded Malibu was, so they went around the world looking for surf. That’s what we do. Even if you’re just paddling down the beach to try another peak. Scarcity made our sport. Lack of good surf makes surfing really difficult, for starters, which is great, and then it turns us all into hustlers and liars and travelers and autodidacts unreliable employees and even worse life partners, and that shit put together is really all we have going for us in terms of surf culture and personality.
Is there a part of you that believes, maybe knows, that pools will become the kink for a few years then… fade away, like old amusement parks? That in ten, twenty years, they’ll be cracked concrete shells, drained of water, grand failures?
Tow surfing was all the rage 20 years ago, and now its lame and yesterday, so I don’t know, maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m not giving surfers enough credit. But where my own personal existential crisis with Kelly’s pool kicks in, is the fact that I want to ride it so badly. Maybe just once or twice now, but the 15-year-old me would have been in the pool until the lifeguard dragged me out.
Is there an optimistic bone in your gorgeous body that thinks, the ocean will empty, that pools might… improve… surf for souls who still brave the ocean?
That is the wonderful best-case scenario. I hope to live long enough to find out.