Ed­i­tor’s Note

Surfer - - Editor’s Note - TODD PRODANOVICH, Ed­i­tor

There’s an old say­ing about the band The Vel­vet Un­der­ground, which is that they didn’t sell many records, but ev­ery­one who bought one started a band. There’s some de­bate over who said it first, or if it’s ac­tu­ally just a misquote of Brian Eno, but ei­ther way it speaks to a fun­da­men­tal truth about the ways in which art res­onates with hu­man be­ings, com­pelling them to in­ter­nal­ize it, rein­ter­pret it in a way that speaks more di­rectly to their own ex­pe­ri­ence and in­evitably cre­ate some­thing of their own.

The uni­verse is un­fath­omably big, life can be mad­den­ingly per­plex­ing and if you fol­low that thread too far you end up wear­ing all black, curled up in the fe­tal po­si­tion un­der a stack of Fred­er­ick Ni­et­zsche books. But if you feel con­fused about your place in it all, some­times a piece of art, be it a song or a paint­ing or the way some­one rides a surf­board, can res­onate with you so much that it feels al­most specif­i­cally made for you—to snap ev­ery­thing else into fo­cus and re­veal a clear pat­tern where once you only saw chaos. For a kid in late-‘60s New York City, this may have meant hear­ing Lou Reed’s voice over a record store’s speak­ers and sud­denly feel­ing like start­ing a band trumps any and all of your bi­o­log­i­cal im­per­a­tives. Or for a kid in mid-2000s San Diego (or count­less other coastal cities, for that mat­ter), this may have meant see­ing “156 Tricks” play­ing on loop at your lo­cal surf shop and sud­denly feel­ing like you can’t get your hands on a can of spray paint and cre­ate crude car­toons on your en­tire quiver fast enough.

Cre­ativ­ity is con­ta­gious, and any­one will­ing to ex­press them­self in a bold, au­then­tic way is li­able to be­come the next Pa­tient Zero, and that’s some­thing we should all en­cour­age and cel­e­brate. Would aerial surf­ing have be­come punk if Chris­tian Fletcher hadn’t been ex­posed to the bur­geon­ing skate and hard­core scenes of ‘80s Cal­i­for­nia? Would Ozzie Wright have be­come one of the most col­or­ful, mag­netic char­ac­ters in surf­ing with­out be­ing ex­posed to that punk ethos and rein­ter­pret­ing it in his own way? Would Noa Deane be pluck­ing gui­tar strings be­tween strato­spheric punts if he hadn’t dis­cov­ered surf­ing’s coun­ter­cul­ture idols as a kid?

It’s funny to imag­ine an al­ter­nate re­al­ity in which Noa Deane never tapped into surf­ing’s coun­ter­cul­ture and is cur­rently study­ing to be a tax at­tor­ney in Bris­bane, but we’re not go­ing to get into chaos or mul­ti­verse the­o­ries here. In­stead we’re go­ing to show­case the left-field thinkers, the rebels, the rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies and the wild­cards who cut bold new paths in surf­ing and changed its tra­jec­tory in strange and won­der­ful ways in the process. In the fol­low­ing pages, you’ll find an in­ter­view with Deane about freesurf­ing’s wild roots and how they in­form its way for­ward. We also made a photo fea­ture from a most-un­con­ven­tional surf trip, where Dy­lan Graves took a chance and lucked into some truly in­cred­i­ble lake waves. And with the WSL’S re­cent re­vival of air­based com­pe­ti­tion, we shined a light on the evo­lu­tion of the con­cept, from Surf­ing mag­a­zine’s SMAS events to the most re­cent punt-fest in France.

We’re for­tu­nate to be a part of a cul­ture filled with char­ac­ters con­stantly look­ing for new ways to ap­proach waves and to ex­press them­selves. Be­cause it’s the weirdos, the rebels and the mis­fits who move things for­ward and keep things in­ter­est­ing. They might not even re­al­ize how im­por­tant they are to the evo­lu­tion of their cul­ture in the mo­ment, but of­ten enough, time in­evitably proves them right. Just ask Brian Eno.

Ozzie Wright, surf­ing to a dif­fer­ent beat in In­done­sia. Photo by GRANT EL­LIS

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