Surf Industry Hate is Not Awesome

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Baby, Take it Off! is Chas Smith’s column. “Surfing is so totally awesome sexy!” says Chas.


Anger! Anger everywhere! Rage! Just, like, raaaage! Oh my, oh my, and if THIS doesn’t ever feel like convalescent home bingo. THIS is surfing’s active online community, btw. And not surfing(magazine)’s but surfing(ingeneral)’s. Livid fingers smashing keys! All seeing red! But it still so fun! So sexy!

So, what? We’ve discussed how awesome real serious journalistic integrity is as it relates to our surf world. Now we shall discuss how not awesome it is to demonize our surf industry. It is lame!


I speak clearly, without literary pirouette: It is quite trendy (online) to really loathe the surf industry. The very and same industry that provides trunks and plastic watches is viewed, by many, as a monolithic regime with evil intent. Sometimes referred to as Billyquikrip etc., this surf industry is blamed for lots. Killing the soul of surfing. Killing Andy Irons. It is blamed and loathed.

Surf boys once upon a time rode in denim and canvas. Now we have this bounty. Thanks, industry.


Well hmmmmm. Hi? Lame! First, making conspiratorial boogey men has always been lame. And the pastime of weird olds. Area 51, Freemasonry owning all. Aliens. 9/11 being the work of the United States. Lame. It doesn’t matter whether any or all of these conspiracies are true, it is just way way uncool to care. Like, way. The same goes for believing the “surf industry” to be actively malevolent. Even if SIMA gets together and sorts ways to super overcrowd Lowers and price-fix and move all surfboard production to Thailand and tells Hollywood actors to hold those Thai surfboards wax side in, who cares? You do, if you are uncool.

Second, hating capitalism has always been lame. Capitalism is our lifeblood. It is our joy. It is America. And it has trounced all comers, from feudalism to communism to mercantilism. Capitalism, and particularly the American varietal, is a particularly robust parasite. It morphs quickly. It consumes. It gives the people what they want. And the surf industry simply operates by its standard. Those who hate capitalism, like really hate, are trendy ne’er-do-wells who tie banditos around their pockmarked faces and throw rocks through bank windows. Or older folks who move off the grid (to Montana). Ugly! The surf industry makes money selling a product, lifestyle, image, dream. Money. It makes money. It does exactly what it should. If you no like then go make and sell a better product, lifestyle, image, dream. Capitalism! So easy and causey-effecty and self-regulatey and awesome!

Third, being an armchair critic has always been lame. My grandpa was one. So is yours. Lame!

I feel those are compelling enough reasons to effectively demonstrate how not awesome surf industry hate is. So there you be. This whole business is a reflection of you and what you love and what you do and what you are. Self-hate is also lame. It’s what skinny pre-teens who struggle with their sexuality do.

Chas Smith profiles Chris Ward in SURFING’s Movie Issue [Feb. 2011], out now.