WHAT IS SURF­ING

I was sit­ting at a fairly well known break re­cently and as each per­son pulled up and pulled out their craft, there were com­ments, critic and con­jec­ture be­ing cast their way by the res­i­dent on­look­ers.

New Zealand Surfing - - INTRO -

Once those pad­dling out were in the wa­ter, the spec­u­la­tive com­ments con­tin­ued and came to a neg­a­tive crescendo as they caught waves. But cast­ing my eye around the boards scat­tered at the feet of those cast­ing stones of critic, the quote – ‘Cast ye the first stone he who is with­out sin’ came to mind. Critic is noth­ing but per­cep­tion. How is it we be­come so nar­row in our ac­cep­tance and ap­proval that the art of surf­ing (if only to a nar­row few) has been squeezed down into a small bracket of ap­proval? Are you only a surfer if you ride a three or per­haps four fin board be­tween the sizes of 5’8” and 7’10” any­thing un­der, or over you are im­me­di­ately branded a hippy, gut slider, crip­ple, goat-boater, or a wank on plank. Any­thing and ev­ery­thing other than a ‘Surfer’. To bor­row the def­i­ni­tion of surf­ing from Wikipedia - “Surf­ing is a sur­face wa­ter sport in which the wave rider, re­ferred to as a “surfer,” rides on the for­ward face of a wave which is most of­ten car­ry­ing the surfer to­wards shore. There are many vari­a­tions of surf­ing, and the def­i­ni­tion for what con­sti­tutes a suit­able wave and craft are purely sub­jec­tive. In other words, the term “surf­ing” refers to the act of rid­ing a wave and not the form (with or with­out a board) in which the wave is rid­den.” Take the an­cient Poly­ne­sians, the in­no­va­tors of our sport as ex­am­ple, they gave birth to surf­ing, rid­ing on wooden planks and weaved flax mats. Just be­cause we have re­fined the ac­tiv­ity to the high per­for­mance level that we are at to­day, does that mean that, what­ever stages the sport went through to get to this point isn’t surf­ing? Ask your­self, if a body surfer obey­ing all the un­writ­ten laws of surf­ing was swim­ming for a wave on your inside, would you pull back? Or if some­one more than com­pe­tent pad­dled out on a SUP and sat in line, or shall I say stood in line, waited their turn then took off, would you give them right of way and a fair go? We live in a world of per­cep­tion and per­haps the par­tic­i­pants of these other less ac­cepted forms of surf­ing, have man­aged to piss so many peo­ple off with their lack of re­spect to­wards a lineup, that from then on we brand ev­ery­one that rides a sim­i­lar craft, as some­one who will be­have the same way. It is up to each in­di­vid­ual to main­tain the har­mony of a lineup, to each

do their own part. If an in­di­vid­ual’s be­hav­iour is out of line, then rightly so they should be re­minded of those un­writ­ten rules, which if you wanna get re­ally deep on the sub­ject, should in fact be writ­ten down. You crash into a car on a road and you pay for the dam­age. You run over some­one in the lineup, dam­age their board and worse in­jure them, and think a sim­ple sorry is ok! See, there are prob­lems with un­writ­ten rules and the in­ter­pre­ta­tion that goes with them. On a re­cent trip to Tavarua Is­land - fea­tured on pg 54 - we found our­selves caught up in the mind de­bate of who is a surfer, when this old school hippy dude wear­ing the most ridicu­lous hel­met you had ever seen, re­sem­bling a cir­cum­ci­sion gone wrong, pad­dled out. Im­me­di­ately he caught our at­ten­tion, with that flashy dome it was hard not to, then af­ter a few waves where he freefell, air­borne and was then sucked over the falls, we no­ticed he was on an old tear drop shaped sin­gle fin. No won­der he couldn’t get down the face. Now we weren’t say­ing it, but we were think­ing it! Come on dude get a proper board and be a surfer. Then on his fourth at­tempt he dropped in late, slid side­ways a lit­tle be­fore set­ting his line, and driv­ing through one of the bar­rels of the week, he re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion from the boats and all our snarky thoughts were shown the bird, by his skill to not only ride a wave like that, on a craft like that, but to also ride what he wanted to ride. He didn’t need to con­form to what has be­come mar­keted as surf­ing, he was ‘surf­ing’ and sure as hell do­ing it bet­ter than any­one else in that lineup.

So what­ever you feel surf­ing is to you, go do it. Yoursin­surf­ing Co­ryS­cot­tandtheTeam atNewZealandSurf­in­gMagazine.

photo:CORY

At this break, long­boards, short­boards, SUPs, Body­boards and even the odd Goat boat (wave ski) have been known to share the lineup in har­mony, as long as you are smil­ing and not de­stroy­ing an­other’s plea­sure, why should it mat­ter to them what you are...

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