There are other worlds beyond this one.
Maybe we've asked too much of surfing. Maybe we're asking the wrong questions.
The cool kids are focusing on the past. Groping at our velvia roots, trying to reconstruct surfing's age of innocence. Groms on retro boards, re-imagining the romantic moments that preceded their conception. Viewing life through celluloid instead of pixels.
It's a process akin to re-virginizing whores.
They're looking back because something about "surfing" today just doesn't feel right. The magic has been drained out, leaving a pale corpse. As the body decomposes, and the stench sinks in, it becomes harder and harder to ignore. Whether you're a bitter walrus in the lineup, a cynical PostSurf bastard on a laptop, or a Luddite surf hipster on an alaia.
As a rule, I prescribe to the belief that it's not healthy to live in the past. A pretty girl told me once that nostalgia can be a fatal disease. I've rarely received better advice.
But lately the present bores me. I've been clicking through the dank pages of online surf culture and I've been feeling... nothing.
So I've looked back. I've been wading through old archives of "the bible of our sport." Searching for that innocence we once knew.
This is what I found:
Before PostSurf, there was Surf Post. Before the internet gave forums to faceless complainers, iconoclasts wrote letters. They put pen to paper, stamp to envelope, spelled out their grievances, and sent them off to a higher power - the editor of Surfer Magazine.
A handful of letters were published each month. The rest were discarded. Sometimes I wonder about all those abandoned letters, and the altered version of surf history that might emerge if you could somehow assemble all those forsaken pedestrian words.
Of those that were published, this letter resonated.
"The current rage in your magazine appear to be nostalgia, the good old days, the lives of those great watermen of yesteryear, and how surfing has changed from a genuine thrill to a continuum of phases and fads on a commercial battleground... I feel it's time for SURFER to take its share of the blame. Your influence in the surfing world and in the changes it has undergone are fantastic. You were and are now completely free to make the rules, set the styles, elevate whoever you want to the limelight, and to advertise the most voluminous pile of faddy crap I've ever seen... How many people really 'go surfin' anymore? Isn't it really something else now?"
The author of the letter was Will Batemen, and the year was 1977.