If Dora Were Here He'd Ride A Boog
Okay, I got to break it to you. You’re not as unique and cool as you think.
Yes, I know you’re a surfer, but you know who else is a surfer? Fuckin’ everyone...
Pretty things on logs, man buns on mid-lengths, rippers on DHD’s, finless flappers on 88’s, weirdos on foils with those big blow up wing things.
Your wife’s a surfer on her pretty marbled longboard. Your kids are surfers on their soft tops. Your accountant on his newly purchased $1,200 McTavish. 80’s supermodel Cindy Crawford with a little help from Raimana at Kelly’s Tub is a surfer. Maybe Mark Zuckerberg on his e-foil and his ‘merican flag and his John Denver, but Mark Zuckerberg may actually be a hologram or cyborg at this point so maybe Zuck is something else….
You know where surfing is now? Fuckin’ everywhere!
It’s selling housing estates, ice creams, incontinence pads, life insurance.
It’s Johnny Utah, Jeff Spicoli, Shane Daniels, whatever the girls name was in Blue Crush, Darrell Braxton, Chicken Joe.
It’s winning Pulitzer prizes, giving Tim Winton something to write about, providing surf 'journalists' with mediocre sources of income.
It’s the Olympics.
Surfing has become so ubiquitous and all pervasive that it’s all but lost its cultural cache. It’s a backdrop to an Instagram post, a bio description, a lifestyle marker. A cliched parady of itself: 25, Single, Yoga, Surfing.
This isn’t what you signed up for, is it?
You’re supposed to be 60’s Dora at Malibu, 70’s Baddy at Angas, 80’s Curren at J-Bay, 90’s Andy at everywhere. You’re an outsider, a rebel, a vagabond, a pirate. Not like everyone else goddammit!
You want to feel like that again?
You’ll have to do something you probably won't like.
You’ll have to become a bodyboarder.
I’m not going to sugar coat it, it won’t be pretty. A grown man or woman foisting what you’ve always considered a kid's toy under your arm as you make your way to the water's edge.
There’s no cultural cool to be gained from telling others you gutslide, dick drag etc etc..
There’s no competitions to watch and debate because the world tour has been dead for a while, no world champion to lauder. Nothing outside of social media content to stoke you out.
You’re not going to get any freebies or discounts because the bodyboard 'industry' is running on the smell of an empty rag. It’s a lean, hard-gristled, bare-bones operation stripped down to its core that survives on the dedication of those that love it.
You’re going to have to hunt out and surf some heavy waves.
Nick Carroll once wrote that bodyboarders started surfing these slabby, ledging waves because they had been forced from traditional surf breaks by the perceived or enacted threats of violence from stand up surfers. With all respect to Nick, he was wrong. Bodyboarders didn’t start surfing these breaks to escape surfers, they started surfing these waves because that’s where bodyboards work best.
A bodyboard is an extremely versatile surf craft, but it needs a wave with power to really hit its straps. Unlike a surfboard, a bodyboard isn’t designed to generate speed and power, it’s designed to harness it. Think wedges, ledges, and reefs.
No more rolling three foot beachies if you want the full experience.
So if you want to swim upstream again, pull against the grain, subvert the mainstream narrative and maybe recapture some of the magic that originally made you feel special as a surfer, there is a way.
The spirit of Miki and Baddy and Curren and Andy is waiting.
Are you going to answer the call, or are you going to stay a surfer...just like everyone else.