Friday, 4 September 2015

Far From The Sodding Crowd.

While surfing the other day, in a line up that was so ridiculously crowded, that it resembled an uncontrolled zoo where the animals were just left to their own devices.  A scene that was a free for all, where the usual etiquette and rules that everyone should at least have a inkling of are being totally ignored or simply not being applied.  Anyway, it occurred to me (after I had been dropped in on multiple times) that there has to be a different way.  I want to surf without the crowds of kooks, the aggro, unfriendly people, and the down right clueless.  I want a different version of surfing to be my reality, no crowds, and attitude, but near solitude where smiles are plentiful, the vibe friendly, and space.  I think that latter is the thing that I crave the most, for lately it would seem that personal space is something that is no longer observed in the line up, any more than it is on the land.   For it is so busy, dodging flotsam and jetsam in the impact zone, being drooped in on, and jostling the whole time has become de rigueur lately.

No more.  I just want to enjoy the simple act of surfing, being in amongst the beauty of the nature and just having the time and space to take it all in.  The space to ride waves, try different boards, attempt new things and just surf, without any of the BS.

With this in mind I am determined to make my vision of surfing utopia a reality. I know it is possible, with a bit of planning and selective sessions I can get away from the hoards. And when I do, I will keep it a secret, for I do not want my peaceful little corner of the surfing world to be spoiled, again.

Photo credit: Mike Coots, via The Inertia.

Like finger nails on a blackboard.

While it is true to say that the commodification of surfing has been taking place for quite some time, it would appear that the suits within the corridors of power at many of the companies who have a vested interest in surfing have seriosuley upped their game.

Okay, let's start with the shark 'attack' during the comp at Jeffrey's Bay, okay, it wasn't orchestrated, but the whole incident was given far more coverage than was actually needed.  Surfing, and indeed Mick Fanning, received unprecedented amount of media coverage (someone correctly pointed out that Fanning will be remembered more for this, than for anything he has ever done in surfing), at all levels throughout the world. Suddenly surfing was in the spot light, not because of anything to do with surfing, but the fact that a shark was perceived to attack one of the competitors, but was fought off, thus thwarting the shark and saving his ass.  Now don't get me wrong, I don't wish for a second that Fanning was actually injured by the shark, but it really bugged me that surfing was suddenly, albeit briefly in everyones realm in such a sensationalist way.   I bet those sponsors were jumping for joy for the free brand exposure that they received.

While the above was an example of man versus beast, that just happened to be in a comp and being televised at the time, a freak incident, that could have been worse, but wasn't, so we can all move on.  The same cannot be said about the ridiculous stunt as set-up by Red Bull, DC et-al, that involved a guy (don't know his name, don't care to either) riding a motorcycle derived contraption at Teahupo'o.  That just wound me up so much when I read about it, I haven't watched the clip, for I do not see any point in doing so, but I know that it was set up purely as a means of focussing the attention of the masses towards surfing.  I hate that so much.  It is bad enough that these companies are destroying the very soul of surfing in the quest for increased profits, but this just takes the prize, hands down.

I would love to think that because Red Bull are resorting to such pointless novelty acts, they are beginning to tire of surfing, and acting in desperation before moving on to the next thing that they can plunder.  I hope so, but only time will tell.

And then there is Jamie O'Brien, or J.O.B, as he has been branded.  This guy seems to know no boundaries when it comes to self promotion and a quest for notoriety, for all the wrong reasons.  The guy can surf, and surf incredibly well, shut I fail to see what the appeal is with his stunts, that are constantly given exposure in the surf media.  The latest being time setting himself alight while surfing, again at Teahupo'o, I haven't seen it, but I can only imagine how the crowds went wild when they saw the little stunt.  Really?

I know that the genie is out of the bottle as far as surfing, or rather the revenue that it provides goes, but lately things have gone just that little bit too far.  I have always hated the involvement of crap drinks companies in the surfing world, but to witness them turning it in to a circus like this, just grates, like the proverbial finger nails.