The Core is Dead

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


I’ve been meaning to say something for a hot little minute but I have been too busy shopping for French suits and French cuffed shirts and smoking. But what I’ve been meaning to say is this: The core is dead. Very dead. Cold.

There was a time, I was a young surflet then, when the core meant everything. Core shops. Core brands. Core vids. Core wax. Core core. The core was a rebellious teen with the best haircut ever. Cool and filled with élan. The core was a bootie-shaking glare given in the lineup (by a teen with the best haircut ever).

Then something happened. The internet or something. And the core got super old. It became 45 and angry. It sat at home punching out mostly retarded comments underneath online articles. It began to enjoy “reason” and “a well-formulated response.” It fell in love with anonymous faceless debate. Well that’s not cool at all, even at Brigham Young University, which is why it died. Cool was the lifeblood of the core. Its essence. Cool cool Miki Dora in 1965 Christian Fletcher in 1986 cool. Cooooooool.

Being cool is, in large part, about being an innovator. About ascending. It is about feeling something deeply and translating that feeling to an external vision. An inspirational, aspirational vision. But the core has become a follower. All fear and anger based. All fat and pale. The fear is that if surfing becomes commercialized/homogenized it loses the one thing the fat and pale hold on to. That they are special. The anger is that they were left behind. No athletic success. No work in the space that inspires them. No money from doing what they love. No innovation. Then they feel victimized. Then they seethe online in tres ugly ways. Victimized. Like chubs without big enough airplane seats. Like the elderly without enough Lawrence Welk in primetime. Super tres ugly!

So it died. And the angry 45-year-old doesn’t even know it. He (and they’re all hes) thinks it is alive and awesome. He thinks he is dead center in a thriving community of rad when logging on to his slightly worn Mac. Or penning Open Letters to Surf Editors of the World. Or drinking half-caff lattes at Starbucks.

The core doesn’t grease the wheels of capitalism and loves to claim it is “canceling its subscription.” The core doesn’t look sweet any more at all. The core is dead. And gone. —Chas Smith