Monday, March 25, 2013

Thinking versus feeling? Worry versus trust?

Sometimes, I get all worky - focused on productivity and achievement - and I sacrifice coastal release and pleasure in pursuit of other goals. I mean, don't get me wrong; work offers pleasures too, and I know that there will always be other times to surf.

The last couple of months it's been easy to put surfing aside; I had such a wave and pleasure-filled summer that I have been able to draw on left over feelings and memories. I've been able to reconcile the amount of fun I had with having to get back to the other parts of my life. But lately the pleasures of my summer have felt lost to me. It's like I have used them up.

More and more I find that when I am away from the sea for too long, I start to forget what it is like to be there. I lose touch with how it feels to surf, and how it is even possible to do that. I lose trust in the strength of my own relationship to the sea and to surfing. When I write that down, it sounds crazy, but it all becomes so intangible and immaterial that I get frightened that it was never real at all. That absence leaves the heart to wander.

When my mind starts down that rabbit hole, the thought of going surfing becomes tinged with concerns and when an opportunity arrives for me to make time, I worry: What if it's crowded? What if there are no waves? What if it's too solid for me to paddle out? What if something comes up and I can't go at all? When you let your mind start down this road, all you can see are the dangers, the negatives, the what ifs...

But rare is the time when I get to the sea and it does not fill me with joy. Rare is the time when I can't enjoy the sensuous pleasures, the energising effects and the overall fun of being in the water. And it is this fun that I try to remind myself of when my thoughts take a turn towards worry.

I think the next time that I let myself lose trust in how I feel about surfing I'll watch this clip and focus on the pleasures and joys that I know I will find in the waves and the sea. Because the waves in this clip look incredible and because Jack Lynch makes surfing look them so fun.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A well-manicured hang five

A move that is high on the list of 'things I cannot do'.*

you can follow the hyperlink trail from there)

*Although, I'm all over the toenail-painting, which I think is excellent.

Thursday, March 21, 2013



I thought I had more time to get my head around this and find a new way to enable and organise my blog reading/procrastination but IT IS GONE!

How will I pass my days now?

(Actually, is anyone else feeling as emotional about this as I am?)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

When casual feelings of stoke turn into something more sinister...

To be fair, I'm totally guilty of being too stoked, too often. For instance, you should see me watching sunsets. I clearly have a problem...

Report: Most College Males Admit To Regularly Getting Stoked

(via The Onion)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cars and surfing

For most of us, cars are a central part of going surfing. In Australia, cars were an historically important part of the spread and reach of surfing and surfing culture in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, when cars became mass-produced and car ownership became affordable for younger people. Photos of groups of young men and women taking off to explore the coast have become iconic. For example, I see this photo by John Witzig of Bob McTavish at Noosa all the time - in books, online and even in films.

This image is even the front page image on John Witzig's website.

In Australia, surfing has really significant connections to cars; historically, symbolically, stylistically and practically

In a similar way to the freedom they provided to surfers last century, cars have been really important for my surfing life. Because I live in Brisbane and especially because I ride longboards, if I didn't own a car, my access to the surf would be entirely reliant on the kindness and generosity of car-owning friends. I'm sure it would be fine, but the freedom that I have to come and go as I please would be gone. I no longer enjoy the space of a wagon, but I still don't take my little Kia Rio hatchback (with roof-racks, of course) for granted! I'm so lucky to own a car.

So when I saw, 'Rad Cars With Rad Surfboards', somewhere online (Facebook?) the the other day, I really got it. Not that I'm so into cars as a thing, but I do think a lot about the links between cars and surfing. Also, they're pretty fun.

For plenty more, check out the 'Rad Cars With Rad Surfboards' tumblr.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Quiksilver promotes women! Hang on, what?

This is an ACTUAL video that Quiksilver have on the Quiksilver Pro website to promote the competition.

Come one, come all to watch the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast!! Everybody is welcome - even women! As long as you're a sick chick who is willing to have guys ogle her and comment on her body openly and in a way that is apparently encouraged by Quiksilver.

But seriously, this is not a joke. That video is on the homepage of video section on the Quiksilver Pro website. On a website that includes women surfers who are also competing. Women who Quiksilver likes to suggest they consider athletes.

I sort of wondered for a while if I would even post the clip here, because posting it is promoting their product and site, so I want you to know that I'm not unaware of the complexity of my including it on my blog in order to critique it. But I also want you to know that I think Quiksilver clearly employs some moronic promotional techniques that encourage and even permit sexist behaviour by men.

And, okay, I get that checking chicks out is historically part of the culture of surfing, but that doesn't make it okay. And the usual argument about 'target audience' that some magazines use to justify their content is not going to fly here. This is a website for a competition that includes both men's and women's professional, competitive surfing. This is a high-profile, world-class competition that surfers (including young people) are going to watch and stream. What I'm trying to say is that the target audience for this website is not only teenage boys (not that that would be any kind of acceptable argument for this pathetic excuse for a promotion anyway). The target audience for this website is 'as many viewers as possible'. So why is this the only clip of women in the home page in the 'Video' section? Especially considering Stephanie Gilmore's barrel this morning, which scored a 9.8!

Oh yeah. That's right. Duh! Because the Quiksilver Pro is only for men. The women's event - the Roxy Pro - is a different competition, which just happens to run concurrently with the men's. Clips of women don't come up on the Quiksilver Pro home page because even though they're all on the same website (because they're the same company) you have to go to the Roxy/Women's section to find them. Marketing can be so confusing sometimes.

And look, I am in no way claiming that this kind of explicitly sexist bullshit is exclusive to Quiksilver, or that it is solely against women whose interest is to sit on the beach watching, rather than doing, surfing. I mean check out this horrendous clip Billabong made to promote Laura Evener, which my friend, Holly, pointed out to me recently.

In case it got lost in translation, Laura Enever is a highly skilled athlete, albeit one who is complicit in increasingly promoting herself as a glamour model. I mean, except that she carries a surfboard briefly, how would you know she surfs. How would you know how well? I'm not sure how Laura Enever feels about this clip - it would be interesting to ask her - but I wonder if she feels at all frustrated at having her looks valued over the years of hard work and commitment she has put into developing her skills as a surfer? I mean, that's what she wants to be, right? A professional, competitive surfer?

As you can tell from my lack of posting recently, I don't really have the time to develop this post any more than this for now (so I hope it's not too rambling). And usually I don't even engage in talking about the blatant sexism that is so rife in culture surrounding surfing as a sport and as an industry. It just depresses me too much and I really don't like getting involved in any kind of critique of professional and competitive women's surfing because it's complicated and tricky - I find everyday surfing culture so much more interesting and fun anyway. But this time I was sparked into fury because I really think that the Quiksilver clip, 'Enjoy the Chicks', is beyond reasonable and is far beyond acceptable, so I have taken the time to write something. Because calling out these kinds of promotions is important (even if it does feel like you're shouting at the moon)!

It's also important for people like me (and you!) to call them out, because I imagine it's hard for the competing girls and women to speak up or out against this kind of thing - their sponsorship is tenuous at best, and professional surfing hates 'outspoken' women (don't even mention feminism!!). So I hold a little hope that some of the men might say something about it. Not for them to implicate the women in how they are treated, but to critique the companies for representing and promoting professional female surfers in this way. Clearly, Mick Fanning is not going to be that man, but I have a hope that some of the other high-profile men might say something, sometime, maybe, one day. Because I know from countless conversations that these are not just 'women's issues' and that not all men think these kinds of clips are okay. In fact, many men I know think it's bullshit as much as I do.

And seriously, it is bullshit.

(And I'm still pissed off that I've even posted those clips on my blog)