In Case You Haven’t Screamed Yet

posted by / News / June 8, 2010


By Matt Walker
Photos by DJ Struntz
Surfing by Sterling Spencer

Oily seabirds. Spewing drill pipes. Unscrupulous oil execs.

If any of those sickening Gulf Coast images haven’t got you screaming yet, look down into the selfish, most surf-obsessed recesses of your heart and consider this: remember all those killer shots that came out of the Panhandle a couple years back? When dudes got spit out of tubes from Alabama Point to Pensacola Pier? Well, you will never score a single one. Neither will the local surfers who live there. Not this hurricane season. Not since BP shit the seafloor 50 days ago, blotting out any hope of a blue-wave barrel garden and leaving a dirty smear of oil sheen and tar balls for the foreseeable future. In fact, that future is already here.

Sterling Spencer

“Yeah, we’re screwed,” says Sterling Spencer, who posted the first tarball session on his website yesterday (see below). “They’re not sure exactly when the sheen’s gonna hit, but it’s coming. The oil is still flowing. And if the hurricane season kicks in…oh, gosh.”

Oh gosh indeed.

Sterling Spencer

Of course, much of the Gulf’s been choking on this fuming mess for more than a month. But Pensacola marks the first super surf-infested real estate to feel the impact. Too bad it won’t be the last. A single storm could send the slick across Western Florida — or Eastern Texas. And if the loop current models are right, the mess could make its way around the Keys, up the East Coast and off Hatteras inside of three months — smack dab in the tropical high season. (In fact, there’s a chance we could go from flat spell to fuel dump without a single fun session.)

How horrifying it gets all depends on the weather, but with thousands of miles of coast to consider and limited resources, the reaction will be same everywhere: some folks will get help; some folks won’t.

“All the booms are out protecting the sound and bays and bayous,” Spencer continues. “The beaches can be cleaned, they say.”

In other words, “F—k you, surfers.” Well that’s why surfers need to say, “F—k you” back , to Big Oil and the government officials who let them play fast and loose with our way of life.

Start by attending one or both of the nationwide protests being held to push the US to stop drilling offshore entirely. (Move On is holding a vigil today, June 8, to mark the 50th day of the spill; and, on June 26, Surfrider and Sierra Club are backing a Hands Across the Sand gathering at surfspots across the country.)

In between, tell your legislators you will hold them responsible for prosecuting the offending parties and securing your coastline’s future. And nobody should be giving BP a single penny to keep fueling its PR machine.
But ranting is easy. Reforming is hard. And before surfers can expect to hold others accountable, we need to attack our own wasteful habits. If we didn’t consume so much petroleum, we wouldn’t need to look for risky oil deposits. So preserve that quiver. Save that wax comb. Most of all, don’t burn so much friggin’ gas. (One of the more interesting finds from our soon-to-be published Surf-First survey is that American surfers almost never carpool — the Gulf being the ironic exception.)

In other words, don’t just do something. Do everything. Whatever it takes to make sure this never happens again. And in the meantime? Well, if you live East of Encino, you better go surfing.

“That’s kinda what that video is about,” says Spencer. “Yeah, it’s small, but we’re out there enjoying it — while we can.”

Oil-day1-nuggets from nik mccue on Vimeo.

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  • Mcfly

    “And if the loop current models are right, the mess could make its way around the Keys, up the East Coast and off Hatteras inside of three months “”

    Surfers wake the FU@$ UP, this is a huge deal EAST COAST>>>

  • Tamarin

    Surfers act like environmentalist but fly all over the world in jets that burn up thousands of gallanes of oil.

  • taino

    tamarin how is that even remotely relevant at all? are you fucking serious? This is more then just being an environmentalist, this is the killing of east coast surf. And if nothing changes Im heading west.

  • jimsurfs

    Until we find a jet that burns off of saltwater, we have to use gas Tamarin Tbag. In case you just haven’t figured it out yet, everything runs off gas and oil. I don’t think batteries can run a jet…..

  • matt walker

    we burn waaayyyyyy more fuel driving than flying.
    find a surf bud — or two
    split the gas
    lowers could support it’s own mass transit system alone

  • Jim

    And after the leak is stopped… and the oil is cleaned… we will all forget and go for another drive… and nothing will change… I hope this time I am wrong.

  • matt

    sorry to say jim….but you aren’t wrong.

  • Juliana

    It doesnt have to be THIS bad. There are TONS of people out there with lots of ideas on how to fix this. I think this one is really good.

    and with International Surfing Day coming up this would be an AWSOME activity to do and a great way to give back to our oceans. After all, they are OURS to protect.

    All we need is some volunteers, boats, and alot! of hay! Why are we still waiting?

  • oceanislife

    i like matt walkers idea… its simple but if everyone got into it it can make a difference.

  • free style music

    this is a great post. I dont know how I stumbled upon it, but it was worth reading. I added this to digg. hope to see more great blog post in the future.

  • (831) NOR/CAL

    What has happened has happened! It upsets me on our government’s response time, on all of the wildlife it is killing, and will keep on killing for years to come. I don’t think people really understand on how serious this is! This will effect our climate, Barrier Reef’s.. We all need to pull our heads out of our ass, if you love the ocean, surf, beach, fishing, swimming, snorkle, scubu, or what ever and do something about it, instead of comments. I hear that there paying up to 1700.00 a week for clean up help!? Does anyone have any info on that?
    Keep it clean (831)