October Issue 2008 Surfing Magazine

posted by / Magazine / August 18, 2008

FOREWARD
By Evan SlaterIn case you haven’t heard, International Surfing Day went down on Friday, June 20. Now in its fourth year, the day keeps doubling in participants, this time inspiring more than {{{100}}} Surfrider chapters around the world to stage their own beach clean-ups, surf clinics, contests, concerts or community goof-offs. Trash disappeared. News crews documented. Photos and video uploaded — everywhere from Israel to Argentina to Vancouver Island. And the day ended with 800 new Surfrider members and hundreds of converts declaring surfing as their new favorite pastime.Among all this celebration, appreciation and genuine stoke, we inevitably heard a few grumpy old dudes sing the blues. “Great job, kooks,” one email said. “Another f–king scheme to make the lineups more crowded.”To those grumpy old dudes, I say this: sorry, but the secret was out a long time ago. And the belief that we need to keep the ocean all to ourselves is as backward as the Jim Crow laws. In an age when there are more entry points into the lineup than ever before, we need to take off our hoods, embrace the beginners and realize that the more surfers we recruit, the louder our voice of appeal when spots like Trestles get issued death warrants or places like {{{Malibu}}} choke from toxic runoff. Besides, do you really think that a beaming nine-year-old or 40-something software exec on a Soft Top is going to call you off the next set at Rincon? I recently gave one of these “new” surfers a lesson – the kind the grumpy guys fear the most. He started a couple years ago at age 48. His garage is filled with surf gear: wetsuits, leashes, Maverick’s posters, INTs and a quiver of longboards. And while he admits that he’s still having trouble going left, he says there’s nothing he loves more than just sitting on his board out the back and taking in the surroundings. “It’s so relaxing,” he said. Unfortunately, the lesson wasn’t so relaxing. I accidentally sent him over the falls on a low-tide double-up at Cardiff, he got his leash wrapped around his neck and went in completely exhausted after about 10 minutes. But he’s still hooked and is looking forward to his next session at some no man’s beach “away from the crowd.”As he’s quickly found out, standing up on a wave is easy; surfing is hard. And it’s going to keep getting harder unless we enlist more recruits like this guy to back us when it really matters.

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