Or just really really damage it?
The Bells Beach Classic, presented by Rip Curl in association with North Korean slaves, is less than one week from kick-off and other surf websites are awash in fantasy tips. We here at BeachGrit have dipped our toes into that pond but I’m glad we are well clear this year, pushing straight up gambling instead. Fantasy surfing is crazy lame no matter which way you slice it. The domain of sexless perverts. Oh, speaking of, and real quick, did you watch Stormy Daniels on 60 Minutes last night? Did you have any thoughts?
Back to Bells, though, the hot picks for the Bowl are unsurprisingly power surfers. The Jordy Smith/Michel Bourez/Wade Carmichaels of the tour. It all certainly makes sense. Bells lends itself to loping, big turns feat. lots of spray and grimacing O faces. It is a fine sort of surfing, one that has transitioned through the 70s, 80s, 90s and aughts relatively unchanged.
But I wonder, will wave tanks be the death knell for buried rails? Technology at other locations might be different but at Surf Ranch it is virtually impossible to throw any spray. I’ve been told it’s how the wave is generated and, on my lone visit, noticed a distinct lack of boom off the lip. It’s fun to carve mid-face but… not what the place is built for. As they become more ubiquitous and children learn on them etc. it makes me think they’ll dispense with burying the rail altogether, focusing instead on cool tube stuff and airs.
Power surfing will then become “an ocean thing” and only at certain breaks by older men. Then those older men will climb onto longboards and power surfing will only be something future generations read about in Matt Warshaw’s excellent Encyclopedia of Surfing.
Which brings me to another point. Just think how hyped Matt Warshaw must be. He has created a work that will never ever ever be repeated. Not next week, not next year, not in three-hundred years. Can you imagine someone sitting down and thinking, “I’m going to spend the rest of my life carefully cataloguing every little bit of surf culture, history etc. and put it all in one place.”? Yes, if my calculations are correct Matt Warshaw will live on while Kong Elkerton will be completely forgotten (save his entry in the Encyclopedia of Surfing).
Will you miss it when it’s gone?