Oversaturation

Solitude's picture
Solitude started the topic in Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 10:00am

I don't know about others but I've gradually been over saturated with surfing content / video clips to the point where I'm so ambivalent I can barely watch a 5 minute surfing clip in full. I know the waves I'm watching are incredible, I know the skill is outstanding and the effort put into the content is often immense but more times than often I feel quite apathetic to whatever's being shown.

To clarify I'm a frother. I love surfing and most things to do with it. I certainly don't blame surfing sites or media as I'm free to watch or not watch. But I'm wondering what the cause is. Am I less impressed as I age, have I just seen too much, is there just too much out there?

I still appreciate a good still shot (more so when printed) and a well written article. And as for surfing itself that never grows old. Maybe I just need to surf and leave all the sideshow alone?

Anyone else feel like this?

stunet's picture
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stunet Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 10:15am

Yeah, quite often.

The last instance of it was about three minutes ago, after a disorienting scroll through Instagram trying to make sense of the many ways surfing is expressed now.

It would be bearable if each manifestation - the historical angle, the fitness buzz, the young up and comers, Big Waves!, blessed is our lifestyle, etc etc etc - were presented in isolation, with some time to deep dive into that particular expression of the surfing life, however when they're all saddled up side-by-side without context, each screaming for attention it becomes vertigo inducing. Has me wondering what it is that I do, because very little of it looks like that.

I know that's not exacly the same thing you're describing but I think the stale aftertaste it leaves is something similar.

gsco's picture
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gsco Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 10:23am

I’m completely oversaturated with all of the media in general, on any topic, in all forms - news or social media, online or offline, tv, radio, print, tablet, phone…whatever…absolutely all of it.

I recently gave my tv away, threw out all print media, deleted all apps, and only go online for research related to work and to check the surf cams.

After doing that I’ve suddenly started feeling a whole lot better, my constant generalised anxiety has subsided, I’m sleeping better at night, I have more energy and enthusiasm, etc.

I’ve also realised that none of the media has any information content or connection with reality outside the front door of my house.

GuySmiley's picture
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GuySmiley Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 10:29am

100%

I’ve rarely if ever watch pros regardless of the obvious skill, 10 different waves, 10 different surfers, all on high performance thrusters, same same same wave on endless repeat, disco choreographed smick.

Pops's picture
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Pops Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 10:34am

I wonder if lack of story plays a part in the "meh"-ness.
I still froth on stuff like Torryn Martyns lost track flicks, Vaughan Blakeys longer form stuff etc, but tune out within a few seconds of the typical short "here's a guy ripping some good waves, what's context?" edits. So much content of great surfing in great waves it becomes desensitising - it's the story that holds my attention.

Solitude's picture
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Solitude Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 10:41am

I think for most the temptation to click is too great - I mean that's what these slot machines in our pockets (and their apps) are designed to do. I don't have social media and still its a problem.
Many of us are within coo-ee of a computer for work, this doesn't help.

There's just no anticipation anymore. It's everywhere. Same (as mentioned above) with media in general. Remember how exciting it used to be waiting for the next surf mag? Or for me reading the sport in the sunday paper?

I guess that's why 'real' surfing still does it for me - there's always something around the corner and you don't know how it will be.

stunet's picture
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stunet Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 10:45am

Solitude,

Go read 'The Shallows' by Nicholas Carr.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 10:52am

I rarely get past 30 seconds on a clip.

but yeah, the day to day is fascinating to me.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 10:52am

Why does "real" surfing still do it?
Intermittent rewards.

https://www.alleydog.com/glossary/definition.php?term=Intermittent+Reinf...

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 11:11am

different things for different people.

I realised a lot of the thrill is aesthetic for me.

I like looking at basalt headlands, and skies, and waves, and rocks and gannets etc etc .

it's constant stimulation and deep immersion at the same time.

I think that is why the wave pool left me so unjazzed.
chain fences, and industrial landscapes didn't light me up.

Pops's picture
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Pops Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 11:15am

That's true too, though you can get much the same thrill bushwalking or diving or fishing, in the right location.
Then again, there's nothing quite like surfing by yourself in a national park...

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 11:23am

you can, but with surfing you get the bonus of riding waves.

as my friend Owl Chapman told me: "ain't nothing like the feeling of sliding down a cool, blue wave".

some of the waves I rode last week I'm still buzzing over.

Pops's picture
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Pops Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 11:24am

Can't argue with that!

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 1:13pm

It only seems like saturation cause you’re being presented stuff at a time when you aren’t probably interested. I feel the same way as I’m checking the internet with no real direction and surf stuff is thrust in front of me. If it’s awesome I’ll appreciate it but most stuff just goes through to the keeper.

By contrast, a few days ago I had an epic session surfing goofy foot in good lefts, something I hadn’t done for a little while , got all inspired and wound up watching about two hours worth of goofy foot surfing clips* before going to sleep dreaming of even more goofy foot lefts.
Oftentimes browsing the internet is like walking past an epic bakery when you’re craving Thai food. It’s not that you don’t love bakery treats , but you’re just not interesting at the time.

I don’t see all the Insta and Facebook clips though.

*Goofy clips rule. Here’s Margo going nuts

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 1:58pm

I feel for Stu the most 'cos he has to look through nearly all of it in the search for good content.

I've largely switched off. The waves are epic, the surfers amazing: but the vicariousness is far too high - it isn't my reality - it's in 2d - I'm not experiencing it.

For that reason, the social media I appreciate the most is the pics my mates send, even if it's 2ft. I know them, I know how they respond to situations, I'd much rather cheer them on giving it a go in bigger stuff, or enjoy their everyday pics anyway. And I'll send my version of it in return. It is not too far removed from me.

The flip side - I appreciate good writing more and more. I love reading your stories; my mind fills in the picture; it's not immediately made apparent to me. I get to colour it myself.

Where the visual content is really good, is where I find a new little gem of technique. It's not often.

Re: gsco comment, I think he's nailed it. This is true of nearly all media. It's nicer to detach. Years ago I thought reading widely in the financial media would be a good thing for knowledge and give an edge. Yes, there are better writers in places, but really, it's all bullshit. Time would be better spent just doing my thing for work, and being away. If I can be away for longer and manage to do well, better for me. As far as social media, I'm happy to say Swellnet is as much as I'd want, message board form, still have trouble linking photos and I'm a tard with smartphones much to the annoyance of shop staff who are looking for a scan sign in. Also, modern social media both has, and is, AIDS.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 1:59pm

FR is right too, it's the immersion and looking around you while out, the gannet diving on baitfish, having a stingray keep checking you out etc. The cliffs down here are such a great backdrop.

stunet's picture
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stunet Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 3:05pm

RE immersion.

A few weeks back, before I could surf again, a clean SE swell hit and I woke up early and drove to the point. The morning crew were surprised to see me, startled at a quick recovery, but I didn't have my board with me, just wetty and flippers.

It was too big to go off the end, so a mate and I walked in the pre-dawn gloom to the SE side of the point where there's a narrow but deep fissure called the Blue Hole. It can be 8ft and waves will break touching distance either side of you but if you aim it right you can slip out between them. At that size you need the nerve and accuracy of Luke Skywalker taking down the Death Star.

The platform there has the sharpest rock on the whole headland. It's like a bed of nails with small pockmarks separated by stilleto peaks - great for grip when whitewash overtops the platform, horrible if your feet do break traction. May as well moonwalk on a cheesegrater.

I hadn't been out there a few months and in the dark I was feeling it all over again. It was like reading Braille through the soles of my feet. I could close my eyes and I knew exactly where on the rock platform I was.

Paddling out the Blue Hole on big swells gets the blood pumping, and I think it's a great way to start a session. You don't get to eyeball the sets the way you do when you paddle out the boat channel and approach it from front on, however it puts you in a really good mental state.

Even though I was only swimming, I reached the same state - stimulated and confident - once I'd breached the Blue Hole, and from there swam northwards around the point, then down the line a bit to a section called Third Peg. Treading water I could see guys take off further out on the bowl and set up the Peg as the wave gurgled across the shallowest part of the reef. At times I swam in close thinking I was Chris van Lennep going for the tight shot, eyeballing the passing surfer, then pulling through at the last moment and feeling the wave coaxing me over the falls as I kicked and shrugged out of its grip and into the safe water behind,

I stayed out an hour or so, scraped under a few clean up sets without too much fuss, and whether it was the swimming, my state of mind, or the fact I'd been out of the water for two months, it was the most memorable session I'd had in a long while.

Swam back in via the boat channel. Didn't catch a wave the whole time.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 3:27pm

I genuinely envy your insouciance about ocean swimming . Particularly clad in flippers. It’s got to be one of the most incredible feelings in the world. Unfortunately my galeophobia can often destroy the enjoyment completely.

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 4:58pm

100% totally oversaturated.

I kind of miss the days when you waited for a surf magazine to come out or a new surf video and looked forward to it and then really savoured it all.

Everything is oversaturated now, too much choice is almost worse than no choice.

I cant decide what to watch on TV too may channels or what movie to watch and spend half my time flicking through trying to find what i like.

Too much music to stream, hard to find new stuff as im not invested in it like a record or band you heard might be good, you bought hence invested time in the music, now its 5 seconds, nah next.

Surf the internet pointlessly be it social media or youtube.

It's even worst with Covid not being able to go to Indo, for me that's digital detox time.

clif's picture
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clif Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021 at 11:44pm

freeride76 wrote: different things for different people.

I realised a lot of the thrill is aesthetic for me.

I like looking at basalt headlands, and skies, and waves, and rocks and gannets etc etc .

it's constant stimulation and deep immersion at the same time.

I think that is why the wave pool left me so unjazzed.
chain fences, and industrial landscapes didn't light me up.

same, except the industrial landscapes of the north east now have the own aesthetic interest for me - a weird postindustrial sublime.

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 9:03am

clif wrote:
freeride76 wrote: different things for different people.

I realised a lot of the thrill is aesthetic for me.

I like looking at basalt headlands, and skies, and waves, and rocks and gannets etc etc .

it's constant stimulation and deep immersion at the same time.

I think that is why the wave pool left me so unjazzed.
chain fences, and industrial landscapes didn't light me up.

same, except the industrial landscapes of the north east now have the own aesthetic interest for me - a weird postindustrial sublime.

I agree 100% but its even more than that, its the smell and taste of salt opposed to chlorine, its the unknown of what is swimming under you opposed to a blue concrete bottom, its the little bit of seaweed floating around, its the sound of the ocean humming and birds squawking rather than the sound of a machine and nearby freeway, its seeing the sun falling over the horizon with the shadow of an untouched headland opposed to shadows of buildings.

And it's that every changing aspect of tide and wind and not knowing what's coming opposed to this 54321 set of waves.

Took me to experience the wave pool to understand, its funny how a lot of these aspects are even important when watching a comp though and how boring and repetitive it can be when you know exactly what is going to come next.

Solitude's picture
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Solitude Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 10:41am

@ clif - North East? Where are you referring to?

I've always found it interesting that people can find solace in industrial or urban zones. And they do. I always thought that humans needed nature, greens, blues, bush, etc to balance out the rat race of our western society.

I know I'm wrong because not everyone who lives in London, New York, Shanghai, etc are unhealthy, anxiety riddled messes.

zenagain's picture
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zenagain Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 10:52am

Stu, regarding your ocean swim above.

I really enjoy your writing. You have such a nice, easy flowing style.

I love being out in the water- the sights, the sounds, immersed in it all. Good thinking time or conversely, not thinking at all.

wax24's picture
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wax24 Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 8:14pm

It is such a wonderful, channel-changing experience to be immersed in an environment that exists largely beyond human control. Plenty of human intervention, but no control. Good for Humility. Good for Gratitude. Fosters Aloha ON LAND when session is done. Lasts for awhile and then a new session is needed. I think these are the feelings that get so offended by localism. Humans in THAT environment seeking control. Such a low ceiling to place on one's self, and worse, others.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 9:08pm

I thought you were describing localism, to be honest.

it's the lack of those things from visiting surfers: gratitude, humility, aloha, even basic respect and consideration of the people who love, live and surf in a place that engenders localism.
at least in the very vast majority of cases that I have witnessed.

It's a good place to acknowledge that not only is there a natural ecosystem with all it's attendant forces and inter-dependent relationships at most surf spots, there is also a human ecosystem.
ignore that fact at your peril.

wax24's picture
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wax24 Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 9:33pm

I agree with you Freeride and will admit that my comments were incomplete. There are different descriptions of localism. ("Kook" is another loaded word.) There is the necessary maintenence of the human ecosystem, as you put it, and there is the hoarding of peaks, parking, etc.... ("MINE!") I was speaking to the latter, with merit. But, as i did not make mention of the first part.... yeah, incomplete drivel on my part. Thanx for giving me the chance to elevate (a wee bit, lol.)

clif's picture
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clif Saturday, 17 Jul 2021 at 4:17pm

Solitude wrote: @ clif - North East? Where are you referring to?

I've always found it interesting that people can find solace in industrial or urban zones. And they do. I always thought that humans needed nature, greens, blues, bush, etc to balance out the rat race of our western society.

I know I'm wrong because not everyone who lives in London, New York, Shanghai, etc are unhealthy, anxiety riddled messes.

Ne England. Very industrial in parts. Of course, Northumberland on doorstep and there's natural setting gems and castles there. Yes. There are V. good waves. Just don't visit in summer. Where? Well ... That would be no fun.

lucky-al's picture
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lucky-al Saturday, 17 Jul 2021 at 5:50pm

How do the built and natural environments compare with East China, Clif?