“We failed to inspire the next generation.”
It was only seven months ago that a landmark study from Bond University revealed what anyone who spent any time in the water knew, that surfing ain’t the plaything of kids anymore.
Craig Sims, a former South African pro surfer turned magazine publisher and university academic, said the peak participation age for men is 45-to-49 and 35-to-44 for gals.
A few weeks before Sim’s report, I went to the premiere of The Greatest Surf Movie in the Universe, the most significant thing to happen culturally in Australian surfing since Kai Neville’s films, and the cinema was a sea of polished skulls and silver manes, paunches harnessed by Quiksilver tees, overblown hams in Billabong denim.
So many wizened winter apples. The median age would’ve been sixty.
In lineups, there’s a few kids here and there, mostly tweenies getting pushed into waves by their daddies, but the absence of teens marauding the surf is stark.
In a new post from Matt Biolos, who is currently at some sorta trade show, he writes about the dramatic ageing of a sport that was once hailed as rebellious and something a decent parent must fear.
There’s not much youth to take the torch and run with it. It’s rare to see someone under 40 walking the aisles. When we got going, in the early ‘90’s, it seemed like every brand was a start-up, run by guys in their 20’s. Brands like ours, Volcom, Counter Culture, World Jungle, Ezekiel…and so on. Just to name a few. Making it up as we went along. No white beards.
The old guard legacy brands, like Quik and Billabong, Reef, etc, were run by “old” guys in their 30’s…maybe ‘40’s.
Today’s “new” brands are headed up by guys in their 50’s n 60’s! It’s like we’ve failed to inspire another generation. No wonder there’s no rambunctious groms, young pros or pretty bikini girls, running throughthe aisles anymore. No loud music. No skate ramps, no bricks of firecrackers or surf pool parties with punk rock bands and girls gone wild.
Matt Biolos’ fans, all of ‘em over thirty-five, most over fifty, and with a few middle-aged former pro’s including Taj Burrow and Jake Paterson thrown in, supported the premise.
A culture of comfort and conformity. The far left and far right are so repulsive that the intelligent middle ground is too frightened. Groomed by AYSO participation merit mentality, our feeder group has become enamored by the safety of mediocrity…
Here’s to the pursuit of inspiring! You have this 60 year old Grom’s attention!
Absolutely right Matt, some of us started when we were 20 years old with a lot of passion for skateboarding or surfing, hunger to achieve and grow and travel, meet and many crazy parties! But now the world or the youth is asleep, only phones and social networks, without words, I don’t want to say what I think! Lucky to lived!
Ay Mayhem don’t feel bad, skateboardin is in the shitter too!!!! When the people who are in charge DONT SHReD. That’s all that’s happening. People who don’t shred are in charge. Everywhere. It’s a world problem right now
Where do you stand on this demographic shift?Do you like the lack of urgency in the lineup and the sedate conversations with hat-wearing Gen Xers?
Or did the fighting and fury and sting of trying to muscle a wave off a kid keep you young etc?
View this post on Instagram