Currently, I'm typing this one-handed unsure if I have a broken arm or not due to a recent skating injury. As I can't surf potentially for the next few weeks, I've been reflecting on my last post about how a surfer raged at me over a wave. I've been digging deep into one of surfing's unknown mysteries. Why is surfing so fucking hostile? Is it the stigma of the stereotype surfers are portrayed out to be? The chilled long-haired hippie, cruising the longboard and finishing it all with a good old hang loose hand gesture. Is it an act of retaliation for implying such stereotypes?
Growing up, I never thought of surfing to be a hostile sport. When I started in my late teens, I never experienced any hostility or felt any unnerving sense of not being welcomed at my local break. These days, even as a 32-year-old man, I paddle out and feel the tension in the air. Why? I get that we all have busy lives and our time is precious. There are surfers who are just hungry, hungry to get as many waves as possible in the time they have allocated, not caring who and what they fuck up in the process.
Surfing certainly feels like a segregated sport in comparison to skateboarding, for example. When I go to the park, I’m almost guaranteed a head nod or two. I'm welcomed and accepted, no need to prove myself or reign on top. The fact I showed up riding a board is more than enough to be accepted in a community.
With surfing, it feels the complete opposite. No matter how many times I show, I'm always having to prove myself. My local is a ‘meh’ above average in terms of waves, etc. There really isn't any need or point in trying to prove myself, that’s not why I surf. Granted, I enjoy surfing alone, that’s my way to decompress, evoke that escapism and just focus on surfing.
The more and more I head out, the more hostility I see these days. I am guilty of participating when someone is lingering around me like a lost turd. I will paddle away. I've never been aggressive while surfing, nor will I but I'm certainly seeing a new shift in surfing and its open aggression. There's competition and then there's unhealthy competition. Surfing serves the latter.
I find no connection with the strangers I surf with, just mere objects I have to avoid. I genuinely cannot remember the last time I spoke to someone while surfing. I can certainly remember all the times people were acting aggressively in the water. This is not a pity party nor an emos confession letter that the world hates me, but fuck, I certainly miss the good old days of surfing and what made me start in the first place.
Just found out my elbow is broken and I may need surgery.
This is going to fucking hurt...