"I apologise to Makana Pang for paddling out at Pipeline two days ago and seriously almost injuring Makana, and possibly ruining his career."
Do you watch any of those surfing blogs on YouTube? I do. It’s a guilty indulgence.
Sorta like secretly enjoying Hollywood rom-coms or bikie-grade methamphetamine.
I can’t get enough of it.
Nathan Florence is the standout.
There’s something about the unproduced, uncut rawness of his videos that encapsulates the surfing experience so much more closely than a tightly edited performance clip.
The paddle out. The sets on the head. The lineup chat.
Jazz is what’s between the notes ‘n that. Plus he hooks.
It’s obviously a model that resonates. His audience and view rates are through the wazoo.
But for every one Nathan Florence there’s a thousand Parker Seidels.
For a while now I’ve had a story bubbling in the back of my mind about the YouTube surfer. This second generation of GoPro-weilding content creators holding up the likes of JOB and Ben Gravy as their heroes.
Never not online. Dedicated to recording every aspect of the lineup. Slow-mo non head-dips.Going over the falls. Hi-5s and bro-slaps with their buddies on the beach.
Actual surfing skill not required.
Parker is one such acolyte. Only he plies his trade out at Pipeline.
There’s dozens of videos posted to his YouTube Channel with titles like:
RAW FOOTAGE LEARNING HOW TO SURF EP 1
CAUGHT INSIDE AT PIPELINE *HUMBLING*
SCARY DAY AT PIPELINE *ALMOST DROWNED*
I SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN OUT HERE *VERY BIG DAY AT PIPELINE*
Anyway, the kid has lived up to his clickbait clips, outing himself as the non-duckdiving VAL who almost decapitated young Pipe charger Makana Pang out there the other day.
You read Makana’s impassioned, level-headed plea for kooks to stop paddling out in conditions they can’t handle, after his mid-tube collision with an errant learner’s board.
View this post on Instagram
A bit of instagram sleuthing quickly uncovered Parker as the board’s owner.
Now, Parker, a fresh-faced teen who has apparently only started surfing in the last 18 months, has taken to YouTube to apologise for his actions.
Only thing is, this wasn’t the only strife he’d gotten himself into chasing content over the last few days.
“I just want to make this video to apologise for my actions this past week. I just want to express how sorry and how terrible I feel right now, and I just wish I could take back what i have done because i was being so stupid. I was being an idiot. For going to the Big Island and being super uneducated and getting super close to the lava and not knowing anything about what I was doing.”
Turns out Parker had also hopped over to the slopes of active volcano Mauna Loa and tried to roast some marshmallows in the lava flow, which has been threatening homes on the Big Island for a couple of weeks now. Of course he recorded clips of it all for his YouTube channel. Big sign of disrespect to local Hawaiian customs. Then he and his group apparently became lost for hours on the volcanic slopes, putting themselves at further risk.
“I want to apologise to all the people I have offended and I have definitely learned from this experience. I’ve received a lot of death threats and a lot of hate. I know what i did was wrong and stupid and disrespectful.
“From the bottom of my heart I want to apologise and I know saying sorry isn’t enough. I know this will take time to fix. I am educating myself about what I have done. I just feel terrible. I want to apologise to all the natives on the Big Island for what I have done.”
Cue Pipe, Makana.
“I also want to apologise to Makana Pang for paddling out at Pipeline two days ago and seriously almost injuring Makana, and possibly ruining his career. I just wanted to say I was very, very selfish in that moment. I shouldn’t have been out there. The waves were way too big. Not only did I put myself at risk but I also put a lot of other surfers at risk who have trained their whole lives to be there and it was just super selfish for me to paddle out in those waves. I’m glad that he’s ok but it could have been way worse. I know what I did was wrong. Just wanted to make this video to apologise even though I know this is going to take a lot of time to fix.”
It was all enough for young Parker to finally see the error of his ways.
“I am definitely taking a break from social media. I am definitely getting off Instagram. And YouTube. For a long long time. I just want to own up to my mistakes and my wrongs. I have learned a lot from this. I will learn and I will grow. I lost my job this morning. I feel like people are basically out there to kill me right now. It’s kinda scary but I just wanted to let you guys know I am taking a break and I am deeply, deeply sorry for my actions and I will do better and think more before I do things. I apologise. I’m sorry.”
Where to from here?
Parker, who looks to be barely out of his teens, is less a cause of the problem than a symptom.
No one’s begrudging the likes of Nathan Florence, JOB, Koa etc making a living with their videos. They’re professionals. They belong in the line-=up.
But should they now be posting warnings at the start of their clips?
DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME. VALS GET CRACKS.
Or could we even go a step further?
Have a guided discussion, a collective moment of introspection, on the levels of self-aggrandising narcissism we have descended to as a society in the social media age?
This cultural morasse we find ourselves in?
Could YouTube be disbanded? Instragram disconnected? Modems tossed in the bin, Smart phones placed in bedside drawers. Humanity strolling out into the sunlight together. Finally unfiltered. Finally unplugged.
Or will the content creation machine continue on its inexorable roll?
Probs. Cunts’ll do anything for a click nowadays.
‘Cept here on Beach Grit.