Anne Photograp News 2024

Essay: “I quit surfing for love!”

Essay: “I quit surfing for love!”

Am I still a “core” surfer? Don’t know.

Suppose, hypothetically speaking, you are an American man in your mid-to-late 40s who has lived on the east coast of North America almost all his life. within a zone with relatively easy access to the ocean.

Let’s say you’ve been surfing since the early 1980s and have made the occasional trip to tropical destinations, going off the grid here and there to chase empty barrels and erected walls, sometimes successfully.

And let’s just say that even though the golden days of your youth are behind you, and despite some rather tumultuous and chaotic situations on land, you still get in the water regularly, catch just about every hurricane or Northeast swell, paddling out before first light, cultivating a first-name relationship with the early morning patrons, catching your share of the steady waves breaking on the outer bar, all the while further refining the squirting cut you’ll find in the first leaned against it in the eighties.

Now let’s also say that in the midst of this wave-catching, splashing, land-chaos run, you simultaneously fall in love with a woman, and are convinced that the kaleidoscope of life would fade away if you let her go – in fact, let’s say for the sake of argument, she is the kaleidoscope, in all the ways you always thought were just fairy tales and only discovered to be true after you found her.

But to add some spice to this purely hypothetical scenario, let’s pretend this real-life princess doesn’t live on the East Coast or the West Coast; For the purposes of our discussion, let’s assume she lives in a landlocked state, one without a wave pool or a large lake or even a foaming mountain rapids.

And let’s say that given certain unchanging features of life, the details of which are unimportant here, her location is fixed, a move to either coast is simply not possible.

The choice between these two divergent paths, hypothetical as they are, can be painful.

On the one hand, true love and all its eternal promises, celebrated by every great artist from Shakespeare to Sublime. On the other hand, glittering lines at sunrise, visions of the water cathedral, that anticipation when you get to the site and turn around to make those last few turns before entering (plus wriggling out 5/4 chest zippers in an icy parking lot a lot, dealing with grueling beach vacations and managing grumpy local wannabes, but I digress).

But are these the only choices?

What if, hypothetically speaking of course, there was a third way?

What if true love and surfing could coexist and even thrive?

What if quality could trump quantity?

What if select surf trips to the best waves could replace, or even eclipse, regular paddle-outs on the local coast?

What if it didn’t matter if everyone (in the lineup) knew your name?

And what if, after all, this road less traveled was said and done and the actual path that our middle-aged American took was considered and studied?

What if he were indeed to leave the Atlantic Ocean behind him, pack all his meager possessions into a rattling, ten-year-old, out-of-production Subaru and drive 18 hours to a country he had never really experienced, to spend every night sleeping in the arms of a lady he decided was worth everything, to risk wood rot for his beloved 5/4?

If you haven’t figured out yet that this isn’t actually hypothetical, you probably lack mental capacity, just like a WCT judge. In non-hypothetical real life, that 18-hour drive was almost five years ago. Pre-COVID, pre-Pipe Pro 2022, when KS11 was just retired #12, Snapper was still on the WCT, Fisher’s cock board got no action, aand Medina was not fucked with all its violence.

That fall day in 2019 was the moment the life of this full-time blow-in began. No more last-minute morning patrols to get wet. No more having to worry during a win in sea conditions to see if the jetty blocks the wind just enough to make it worth paddling. No more lunch break to surf to catch the two-hour tropical storm storm. And no more jerks, wannabe locals who talk shit and think you’re from out of town because they’ve never been in the water before 10am.

But the actual surfing never stopped.

Now the Pacific, not the Atlantic, is a home away from home. Regular post-ups in surf-rich zones. Trips to places where localism doesn’t exist, like Waco. There’s even a stretch of the West Coast that was never explored until a few years ago that now feels almost as familiar as the East Coast waves that have been surfed dozens of times.

I may even have offered you, dear Californian reader, a cup of steaming coffee in such a place without you realizing that I was merely a nomad blowing through your sacred homeland. Maybe you felt the refreshing spray of my signature cut (the only decent maneuver left in my bag) and smiled, not realizing that the shower came from the underground railing of a surfing immigrant who probably made that very move on a surf had practiced. skating in a parking lot far back inland a few days earlier, Raglan Surf Report’s views on such blasphemy be damned.

And speaking of cutting corners, it turns out that pre-dawn paddle outs are the best strategy for avoiding crowds just about anywhere in the world. I have a blown-up photo on my wall (taken by the Princess) of me riding a firm, lined-up wave without another surfer in sight, with the sun just peaking over the mountains in the background, on the most famous section of what is widely heralded as one of the busiest places in the US.

Wait, you say, you’re sold out! What a chef! You can’t be a “core” surfer and not live a stone’s throw from an ocean! Fuck that, you can’t even call yourself a surfer, period! You’re dirtier than the dirtiest TRAP! This is basically the equivalent of the Dead Kennedys selling songs to Walmart for TV commercials, but at least the DKs, unlike you, have talent!

Worse still, you’re making a mockery of all the true surfers who have sacrificed love, family, career and literally everything on the altar of Mother Ocean! Do you think you’re the first man who ever had to choose between love and surfing! What a self-righteous prick! Fuck you, son of a bitch! Never respond here again!

I think so. I hear you. I can see the comments. ‘Fuck off cook’ leads by a healthy margin over ‘live and let live’.

But everyone has to follow their own path. For me, the tradeoffs have been absolutely worth it. Maybe not for you, who knows.

Am I still a “core” surfer?

Don’t know.

I still love the ocean, maybe more than ever. I still get short of breath when I sit on my knees on the emerging sand and look at a fire setup. I still think the heavens are watching as the sun rises from the setup as a pod of dolphins sails by and a distant shadow on the ocean signals a set is coming. And when I realize I’m in exactly the right place for that next peak wave, I still feel twelve years old.

In fact, I might say that getting your problems in order and finding true love on land opens your mind to a greater appreciation for everything in life.

I could say that I love surfing more than ever.

And maybe that just sounds like self-justification nonsense to you.

I understand.

But she was worth it.