Open Thread: Comment Live as “rejuvenated” Donald J. Trump takes on “tanned, rested and ready” Joe Biden in “The last U.S. Presidential debate in world history!”

Who will corner the middle-aged white male nihilist vote?

Professional surfing, as spectacle and/or “thing,” is long gone and we’ve all grown accustomed to that reality, only vaguely remembering what “heats” entail. Barrels, airs, Joe Turpel? Trying, but failing, to picture Gabriel Madina’s veneers.

Wait.

Gebrial Mandina?

Gerbil Mondia?

What was his name, again?

Oh, never mind. Because we’ve learned that better entertainment exists. Like… looking out the window. And… watching the United States of America Presidential debates 2020.

This is the last one of the election cycle and, likely, the last one in history as Covid-19 cases re-re-spike and everyone will soon be dead but, in the meantime, who you got here?

Incumbent Donald J. Trump paddled out too strong in his quarterfinal heat, took too many waves, and by all accounts blew it by paddling on top of his challenger, Joe Biden, who was surfing like Caio Ibelli and, let’s be honest, only won due priority interference.

The semifinal heat was cancelled, as things are in this Covid-19 era.

Which brings us to these finals.

Who you got here?

Discuss, with likeminded middle-aged white male nihilists, below.


“Newest and largest oceanfront resort” in fifty years set to open in Oceanside, California: “The whole north shore of San Diego has some of the most desirable beaches in the whole region, and Oceanside has taken on this kind of cool Brooklyn kind of vibe!”

Hip.

But the surf dystopia is moving along, full steam ahead, and especially for our sisters and brothers that live in Oceanside, California. Flanked by the Marines’ Camp Pendleton to the north and a town named after a Bohemian spa to the south, Oceanside has long been allowed to retain a crusty independence. An-off-the-radar quiet much enjoyed by its surfers.

Well, those days are long gone as the “newest and largest oceanfront resort” built in San Diego county in over 50 years is set to swing its doors wide this coming Spring 2021.

The resort will span both sides of the Oceanside pier and actually feature not one but two hotels.

The first, called Mission Pacific Hotel, will have 161 guestrooms and suites with 3,000 square feet of retail, feature the only rooftop pool bar in North County and the “Top Gun” house which, featured in the Tom Cruise film and was moved to make room for the build. 

The second, called the Seabird Resort, will hold 226 guest rooms, a full-service spa, fitness center, a 9,000 square foot pool deck that faces the ocean, more than 20,000 square feet of ocean view meeting spaces, a “California cuisine” restaurant and an ocean view lobby living room bar and lounge.

The two will also share “beach recreation and watersport programs.”

Jeremy Cohen, senior vice president of the development, says, “The whole north shore of San Diego has some of the most desirable beaches in the whole region, and Oceanside has taken on this kind of cool Brooklyn kind of vibe. We’re excited to be part of that community.”

And if I was a longtime Oceanside local, I don’t know which part would thrill me more, the “beach recreation and watersport programs” dragging hordes of VALs into the lineup where they can practice being in the way or described as having a “cool Brooklyn kind of vibe.”

Very exciting.


Nihilism shouldn’t be looked on as negative. If you disappear the world doesn’t care. Making peace with that allows you to deal with what’s in front of your face without being overwhelmed by things you can never understand or control. This is the paradox of nihilism: caring less for the world at large allows you to care more for the things that are close to you. And it frees you to surf, to engage in something fruitless without the need for justification.

Opinion: “Nihilism among the shrinking core of surf culture is the only response to being backed snarling into a corner by foamies and yoga pants and Eric Logan’s teeth. What else is there to do?” 

Come warm your hands over the bonfire of white male nihilism.

So BG is a hotbed of (white male) nihilists?

I say good. I say (paradoxically) there’s value in that.

But let’s just bat off the “white male” adjunct – added purely to clarify nihilism in the pejorative sense. Because in 2020 it’s a loaded flare gun, and it’s how you fire the toxic alert that’s a precursor to full cancellation.

It’s a lazy insult, really.

I don’t have the stats, but I don’t need them.

Is BG’s audience predominantly white male? More than likely.

Is the sport of surfing 95% white male in a white male controlled industry? Absolutely.

(It’s also narrow-minded, thinly-cultured and broadly elitist, just while we’re at it.)

So if you want to attack the sport of surfing with accusations of being predominantly white male then fine, but to single out BG as unique in harbouring this demographic is patently false.

And, in my estimation, it undermines the BG community.

You do value things.

In no particular order, I believe you appreciate: good art (in all mediums); good writing; strong effort; cutting loose; hard work; paying your dues; substance, craftsmanship, humour, forthrightness, and both hard and soft drugs.

Above all, I believe you care about the preservation of a pastime that has given you deep joy, embodied many of the values above, and, in some cases, provided a clear sense of identity.

As for nihilism, let’s examine that.

Now, more than ever, I find it difficult to understand how to get on with the business of living without being nihilistic.

In a world of deepfakes, planetary extinction and Donald Trump, where’s the value in engaging?

There’s no way to make sense of it, let alone change it. I would argue it’s impossible to exist without shutting yourself off from the endless surges of misinformation that cause nothing but anxiety.

You might call this nihilism, but you could equally call it self-preservation.

How do you not become disenfranchised with a society ripping apart at the seams? Especially when you, by virtue of the skin/passport colour or gender assigned (or misassigned) to you by birth, are often the root cause.

Is it any wonder there’s a mental health crisis?

We systematically inject young people with existential guilt from the moment they become self-aware. And at that moment they are the rabbit in the headlights, blinded and paralysed.

And what are we left with? A gender-undecided, ironically homogenised pool of e-boys and e-girls, too terrified by the world to live their subculture IRL, lip-syncing and hip gyrating at their phone screens but saying absolutely nothing.

It has become not only difficult to state opinions and thoughts (and sometimes even objective truths) but dangerous.

And the result? You stop having them.

There’s a Newspeak word for the type of thoughtcrime involving original thoughts and ideas. It’s called ownlife. 

Surfing is both a product of and response to a world in which nihilism is the only choice.

You might reasonably argue that if it wasn’t for nihilistic tendencies then surfing wouldn’t, or couldn’t, exist.

We’re concerned with riding waves, an activity that has no set goals, purpose or structure; no point of mastery; and no natural end other than death.

To surf is to embrace nihilism.

If we weren’t nihilists we might be engaged in things that were actually useful, or beneficial to someone other than ourselves.

Be honest: what good has your surfing life done outside of your own, narrow sphere?

It’s wishy-washy, effete and narcissistic.

It breeds aggression, selfishness and self-loathing; punctuated by brief periods of (personal) bliss, a sense of oneness, and, very occasionally, a bond with others who understand how good it feels to be self-serving.

And nihilism among the shrinking core of surf culture is the only response. Backed snarling into a corner by foamies and yoga pants and Eric Logan’s teeth, what else is there to do?

You could quit: that’s a valid response.

Or you could say fuck it, fuck them, it’s all shit, and I’ma keep doing my thing.

That’s just as valid as quitting, and arguably more noble.

I’ve just written a story for Wavelength magazine about an event Derek Hynd ran on a remote Scottish island in September 2001.

While they were there, 9/11 happened. They heard sporadic radio reports and some didn’t see the TV footage for a couple of days.

I asked everyone what it was like to pursue something as frivolous as surfing in this context. What value did it have? Most of them told me that it was the only response when nothing else made sense.

Nihilism shouldn’t be looked on as negative.

If you disappear the world doesn’t care. Making peace with that allows you to deal with what’s in front of your face without being overwhelmed by things you can never understand or control. This is the paradox of nihilism: caring less for the world at large allows you to care more for the things that are close to you. And it frees you to surf, to engage in something fruitless without the need for justification.

And that, to me, is a virtue.


Question: Surfboards have always been loss-leaders for surf fashion but, in the dystopia, they are the only thing being purchased. Have shapers, glassers, Costco adjusted?

Also... are you blowing it?

Earlier this morning you were treated to the high-water mark of surf journalism and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. But now, let us return to your regularly scheduled programing.

In theory, I could call, text, email a number of wonderful folk in the surfboard industry right now and ask this question then write a meaningful, well-researched piece that would actually matter.

But it is late-ish in the day, baseball’s World Series is about to launch game two, I’m writing a book and the most wonderful folk in the surfboard industry are here, commenting daily.

Therefore.

I have a question for you (wonderful folk in the surfboard industry).

Surfboards used to be a loss-leader for surf fashion with razor thin margins. And I understand that Pyzel, Merrick, Parker, future Prime Minister Maurice Cole, Wavestorm etc. have carved out fine livings carving fine foam but… billions of dollars were never there like they were t-shirts ‘n trunks.

Surf fashion is, at time of publication, dead. Surfboard sales are, on the other hand, dystopically too alive.

So are you bros getting rich?

Like, crushing it or forgetting to adjust those razor thin margins?

Inquiring surf journalistic minds want to know.

And if you’re not getting rich….

…. are you blowing it and being all poor and overworked?

Like surf journalists.


Photo courtesy: Patrick Jambura/Icthyological Research
Photo courtesy: Patrick Jambura/Icthyological Research

Swordfish stabs shark through the heart in deadly sea battle, alarming scientists and signaling new potential threat to surfers: “It is another case that shows how aggressive swordfish are.”

En garde.

In yet another sign that we are living in a surf dystopia, scientists have become alarmed, recently, with the “increasingly aggressive” behavior of swordfish. And you, of course, are well versed with swordfish likely from your youth, as its name is evocative, and its depiction in the whimsical Fish card game was very fun.

It may have even been your favorite animal at some point but, alas, the fastest creature on earth may very well be out to lop your head from your shoulders.

And let us travel to Libya, where a thresher shark recently washed up on shore, dead, with a broken swordfish sword lodged in its body, nudging its heart.

Researchers determined the attacking fish was 10-feet long.

The trouble, now, is that thresher sharks don’t prey on swordfish meaning the swordfish went out of its way to plunge its blade deep. Mr. Jambura, a PhD student, said it was “an alarming signal.”

Alarming because do you imagine that swordfish will stop with sharks?

Of course not and of course surfers, heads and shoulders bobbing above the water, would be next.

Such easy marks.

Such deserving marks.

Dystopia.