“My inner voice tells me to surf, so I surf!”
Many years ago Dirk Ziff was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore. Daddy’s favorite heir had just purchased the Association of Surfing Professionals, for free, rebranded it as the World Surf League, sat back and waited for praise to roll in from all corners.
Gushing over him and his benevolence like a geyser.
Except for some unknown reason, a subset of the surfing public poked fun at him, his fortune, his hires and his ideas.
And so he stood up at The Waterman’s Ball, or some such, and declared:
Some of you are here in this canyon. Journalists, and other influential voices who unload on social media. I wonder if some of you get up every day and stir the milk into your coffee, thinking about what you can write that day that might humiliate the WSL. It goes way beyond constructive criticism, which we all need and which the WSL frequently deserves, and into the realm of foul spirited attack, which I think we can all agree we have enough of right now in this country.
I have a message to the haters, and it is simple. Be tough. Call us out. Keep us honest. Tell us what we need to improve.
But don’t pretend you don’t know that when you go beyond constructive criticism and cynically try to rally negative sentiment towards the WSL, when you try to take us down, you are not just going after us. You are going after Kelly Slater. You are trying to take down Lakey Peterson. You are going after the dreams of Caroline Marks and Griffin Colapinto. You are undermining the hopes of every kid who lives with salt in their hair, dreaming of being a world champion one day.
And I ask you: Why? It seems pretty obvious that if the WSL keeps growing in popularity, and surfing takes its rightful place among the great and elite competitive sports, everyone connected with our sport, and certainly all the members of SIMA, will prosper, except maybe a few grumpy locals who have to deal with some new faces in the lineup. So…why not work together?
As funny today as it was in 2018 but, in fairness, Ziff was not altogether wrong. We are grumpy, grouchy, nitpicky and rude. We cajole and fun make and sneer often rudely. We are not like young Carter Doorley of Brigantine, New Jersey who has just surfed for 1000 consecutive days and has 1095 consecutive days firmly in his sights.
Three straight years.
The eleven-year-old surfs through hail, snow, freezing temperatures and summer crowds. He surfs on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
His mother told New Jersey Monthly, “Every day he goes out there, we’re still amazed.”
The streak began when the Covid-19 pandemic shuttered playgrounds, skateparks and other outdoor facilities. Carter started surfing to keep the wiggles out and has just kept on, donating money to SurfAid, Save the Children and the Humane Society along the way.
He has surfed with Ben Gravy, Kai Lenny, Will Skudin and Ian Crane as well.
“My inner voice tells me to surf, so I surf,” he says.
So not grumpy.
Ultra pure and wonderful.
Viva Carter Doorley.
And suck it, Dirk Ziff.