LOTW runs for seven days, with the week’s most brilliant submissions picked and posted every Monday on surfingmagazine.com. There are two ways to write in: send an email to email@example.com, or use the Write a Letter tab on our Facebook page.
Today’s Letter of the Week proves a time-tested rule: trying to talk about surfing only ruins it and makes surfing, and the talker, sound silly.
Letter of the Week: Verloren in den Prozess der Übersetzung (Lost in Translation)
"You mean you don’t play soccer!?"
This was probably the fifth time I’d been asked that question in the week that I’d been staying in Germany.
"I’m from the U.S.A. and no one really cares about it there," I replied, and it’s true. While every person in their whole damn country was soiling themselves over the World Cup, I was patiently waiting for the REAL event in South Africa, the Billabong Pro at J-Bay. 300 meters of sheer perfection.
"Well what do you play then?" she asked, interrupting my beautiful daydream.
Keep in mind that this conversation is taking place in the middle of Bavaria. I was surprised I’d gotten that far with my first-year German skills. I knew this would be tough.
"You know… Surfing…? Hawaii…? Kelly Slater…?”
Hawaii rang a bell (she had heard of pineapple), but aside from that they were clueless. I tried to explain.
It started out okay. I knew how to say water, wood and beach, but it just went downhill from there. "Fiberglass" and "wave" were way out of my vocabulary, not to mention valuable sentences like, "You just get sooo pitted!"
So there’s now a family of Germans in the heart of Bavaria who think that surfing consists of "driving a stick of wood that is half the size of a door down a wall of water that is going very fast to the direction of land.” After a bit of clarification about the shape of the stick I was driving she asked why I did it. The only response that I could adapt to my pre-school level German was, "Because it feels good…like eating candy.”
And I thought to myself, When I get back to the U.S.A I’m going to surf until I barf.
Cheers indeed, MJ. SURFING and Electric Visual support your attempt to share your stoke with the unconverted masses of non-coastal Europe. It was a nice try. You’ll find a box of Electric stuff on your doorstep in a jiffy, and in the meantime, keep piloting that half-door toward the land — real fast.
For this week’s LOTW, the prize will be so head-meltingly fabulous that we don’t even have a photo of it. But write anyway. We’ll make it worth your while, and we love hearing your thoughts and stories. Thanks everyone.