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Beach Grit

Unicorn: The non-surfing surf fan!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

For years the WSL has promised a non-endemic embrace. Is it here?

Now, ever since the Association of Surfing Professionals changed itself to the World Surf League and made its goal to grow the competitive surf audience outside those who actually surf, I’ve been chuckling. Sometimes my chuckle manifested itself as a snide under the breath sort of thing like when Gabriel Medina paddled out on a Samsung surfboard while his step-father Charlie guided him from the beach.

Sometimes it rolled into a full-bellied laugh like when ex-WSL CEO Paul Speaker did anything at all.

But it has always been there, bubbling, because what sane non-surfing person could ever be convinced that the best waste of their time is watching competitive surfing? It is barely ok for you and me and we are full blown tards. And so I chuckle and chuckle and chuckle thinking the non-surfing surf fan doesn’t exist…

…until this morning when the chuckle was snatched from my tard mouth and I was presented with a unicorn. The world’s first non-surfing surf fan. Let us turn to Forbes magazine for her story.

It’s my goal in life to travel to as many places as possible. Unfortunately, after almost drowning when I was 12, I’ve consistently done everything I could to avoid beaches due to my paralyzing fear of the ocean. Considering that most of the world is made up of water, 13 years later, I finally realized that I was limiting myself to so many life experiences and something had to change.

Since most of my friends and family have tried to teach me how to swim by guiding me straight into the water, I figure I’d switch up my strategy this time around by watching and learning first. That’s where the Volcom Pipe Pro held on Hawaii’s North Shore in Oahu came into play. It was the first surf competition I’ve ever seen and the sport completely changed my outlook on the ocean.

Seeing these athletes ride wave after wave was mesmerizing, but at the same time, there was no sense of arrogance among any of them. They showed me that it’s not about controlling or dominating the water, all you have to do is respect it.

The author, a younger woman, goes on to take a surf lesson and conquer her fears etc. but her way in, her door, was through watching competitive surfing. Is she the first? Are all the eggs ex-WSL CEO Paul Speaker delicately laid ready to hatch? Are ego-less professional surfers ready to become the biggest sports’ stars on earth?

I did not see this coming.