A war for surfing's very soul!
I am currently sitting at a reclaimed wood and steel counter right in the heart of Venice’s Abbott Kinney drinking a hot fruit punch and listening to a “digital archaeologist” who “unearths deep musical emotion from obscure sounds.”
Hot fruit punch.
It really feels that blonde roasts have become so ubiquitous in fancy coffee world that nothing is bitter anymore. Only very very very sweet with notes of cherry, Sunny Delight and Gatorade. I mourn bitter’s loss. I love bitter which may explain my general tone. It is also why I will cheer for France this Sunday in the World Cup final.
Being in Venice means I am very near to Venice-adjacent and Venice-adjacent’s own The Inertia and sister publication Stab. I am also very near to Santa Monica’s World Surf League international headquarters.
Enemies lurk around every corner. Inside every farm to table cafe and wine bistro. I already thought I saw Stab’s Sam McIntosh out on the street but it turned out to be German tourist wearing some lug soled Maison Margiela sneakers instead. I’m more worried about stumbling over The Inertia’s Zach Weisberg since he is three-feet tall and easy to miss. It would be very embarrassing to accidentally step on him after everything I’ve put him through here. An unnecessarily personal insult.
Herr Paul Speaker doesn’t seem like the coffee type and I’m not planning on taking a Segway tour of Muscle Beach so don’t plan on seeing him. Soph and Backward Fin Beth are mysterious though I don’t think they day drink and I’m going to start that at the appropriate 10:30 am.
Enemies everywhere and I wonder, has Venice and Venice-adjacent ever seen such a concentration of surf media enthusiasts? For decade Orange County held the surf industrial complex in its iron grip and, in many ways, surfing writ large came to reflect Orange County’s values. Conservative, cloistered, without imagination. What will surfing become here? The Inertia is trying desperately to morph it into a version of sport sandal bouldering. Stab is attempting to… to… I’m uncertain, to be honest. That rudderless ship will eventually wash up somewhere though and it won’t be pretty. Likely lots of Corona and party pics.
The World Surf League wants it to be broadly digestible. Understandable, relatable, clean. There is probably much head scratching in the office as to why all surfers don’t want this.
Each of these futures scare me but I don’t know which scares me most. The World Surf League’s, probably, though I have no talent whatsoever in sport sandal bouldering. I would like to hear presentations from The Inertia, Stab and the World Surf League. I’d buy lunch and listen attentively. Too bad each is more spineless than the next.
10:30 am. Time to drink.