Did we butcher the ultimate lifestyle by making it a job?
By Stuart Cornuelle
At the office, we enjoy making jokes at the expense of pro surfers who work hard to remain pro surfers. Not to their faces, because we’re cowards, but more when we’re alone in our ivory tower and can safely snicker about their training regimens, mini-entourages, and vapid Twitter streams. The motivation for these attacks is apparently jealousy: We seem to be petty, vicious men who have failed where they succeed, and that doesn’t sit well. Now we merely write about them and take their picture, erecting a monthly altar to their awesomeness that is concurrently an affirmation of our own shortfall. Come on — everyone wanted to be a pro surfer. We’re too falsely blasé about our ambitions (ambition is uncool) to admit it, unless disguised beneath a self-deprecating chuckle. Ha! Childish dreams. But seriously, grow up.
A surfing career isn’t accidental: It’s the quite logical product of many, many hours in the water, in the car and airplane, in the sun, in the cold — in short, the product of hard work. We who don’t now enjoy the spoils of that hard work are quick to deride it for the same reason society punishes mainstream celebrities. We except the Danes and Bruces from scrutiny because they emanate an everyman apathy to which we can relate.
Buy any of that? Should surfing have ever (d)evolved into something that asks hard work and sacrifice, in the name of a sponsor? Does living the dream now require butchering and mutating it into a job like any other?
In SURFING’s March 2010 issue, Matt Walker addresses this question in his essay, “Killing the Dream” (p. 74). It’s recommended reading for aspiring pros, or for anyone who trashes the jock-professionalism trend while checking Marine Layer.
Watch the March 2010 Trailer HERE.