Posts

Showing posts from December, 2016

Diversity is not a white woman

Image
A couple of days ago, I saw this film about 19-year-old surfer Kadiatu Kamara (aka KK) from Sierra Leone. It's a mesmerising film, in which surfing is a very recognisable aspect of KK's life, whose life is, in some ways, entirely unrecognisable to my own.


(Check out the rest of the Surfs Up series at Nowness)
What I like most about this film is the lack of narrative about white people bringing surfing to an African community. In this film, surfing is KK's own, removed from California, Waikiki, the North Shore, Byron Bay, Biarritz, Tahiti... And yet, we can hear ourselves in KK's relationship to the waves - to that sense of removal from the mundane, the stressful or the sad. KK's story is a surfing story, and yet it's something else as well. It's a story in which how we look, who we know, where we're local and have status is unimportant. It's a story that doesn't claim a place, or demand anything. It's a story that reminds me what surfing is …

The Ghost Ship

Image
Life can be brutal.

Often we focus on the joy and fun and freedom of surfing. There they are, these pleasures of surfing sparkling in the water, rising in us as we jump to our feet, filling us as we feel our strength pulling us into a breaking wave.

Much more rarely do we talk about those times when surfing is beyond our reach.

Ageing.

Injury.

Illness.

Disability.

Obligations of parenting and work.

The only one I can think of is my favourite surf film ever, The Surf Magazines Don't Talk About Lapsed Catholics, by Toddy Stewart.


The Surf Magazines Don't Talk About Lapsed Catholics from Todd Stewart on Vimeo.

I see myself in this film. Maybe not in the murky water, but in the guilt of not surfing and changing access to the sea. I see myself in the frustration of knowing myself as a surfer, but realising I rarely surf anymore. For now.

But films like Lapsed Catholics should be more common in surfing culture, because experiences like that are. I have watched as surfing friends ren…