Flyer: Never Met A Lineup I Didn't Like
A little riff on lineups…
By ‘lineup’ I don’t mean the sight of breaking waves as they feel the ocean floor, but the lineup of surfers, the pecking order, the crowd of people who surf a particular wave, many of them regulars, and how they arrange themselves into a hierarchy.
The surfing lineup is a social construct. We build it and continually reshape it.
Though we take it for granted, the lineup is a marvel of the modern world. The rules that govern it have evolved organically, they apply nowhere else in society, and lineups are self-regulating, there’s no need for outside intervention, so if a surfer transgresses the rules, deliberately or otherwise, they’re quickly set straight by other surfers and order prevails.
Surfers occasionally get a bad rap from mainstream society but the lineup is a model of co-operation. It’s an example of how people with conflicting values - be they politics, religion, or the thousand other things humans argue over - can get along when a system serves them.
Yeah, there’s loopholes and gray areas and wriggle room, and they’re willingly taken advantage of, but for the most part lineups work.
This week the Lennox Head surf community was split when the World Surf League proposed to run a surf contest there this coming Easter.
Personally, I’m neither here nor there on the matter, it’s not my place to say. However, many Lennox locals did voice their concerns, both for and against the proposal, and the community was pitted against itself.
Of the events last week, that was the most disheartening sight.
Like African colonists, the WSL favoured one tribe over another setting up a cycle of disharmony, and though it wasn’t the Wozzle’s intention, they lobbed a big friggen spanner in the Lennox lineup. Group differences were brought to the fore.
The issue was settled amicably and hopefully there’s no lingering resentment from either side. It was a reminder that we’ve all got different opinions and values, and even the beliefs you’d think all surfers would share - such as how a local wave should be utilised - can split us into different camps. Make potential enemies of us.
But if the surfers of Lennox can again paddle out to the point and order prevails, then the lineup has done its job.
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