Never say never!
I used to feel that people who write about surfing, sell surf related products (especially clothes that drylanders buy for the “surfer look”) and those that make money from surfing in general were doing most surfers who just wanted to go for a quiet session by themselves a disservice.
I thought that they were bringing people to the sport who would otherwise have taken part in other activities or who would just have done nothing. More people to have to share waves with and more twits in the water. We all dream of un-crowded perfection. Those who don’t surf as well as the pros need the un-crowded conditions even more than the good guys, otherwise we simply don’t get enough waves.
I was lucky enough to learn of a certain secret spot relatively early in my surfing life. That spot can get as good as any wave in the country on the right day and after surfing it for a number of years, I felt (for no good reason) that I had some sort of right to the wave. I resented others who came there to surf and I felt that the surf industry was sending more and more of those people who had no link to the place to come and spoil my fun. The more surfers there are in the world, the more likely it is that some of them will discover that secret area.
I became quite bitter about it all. Once or twice when a photo of the spot made it into the Shot Bru section of Zigzag magazine, my chest would tighten up as if I was getting an asthma attack. Then, eventually someone gave a description of the spot in an Internet surf spot atlas, complete with detailed directions of how and when to go there. I felt depressed for weeks after I saw that.
This place is no longer a secret. The days of having cooking waves here all to yourself are long gone.
And this is all because of the surf industry. The surf industry ruined my life. My perfect little secret was blown out of the water, so to speak.
Except that if it weren’t for the surf industry, I would never have known that one could ride waves standing up. I would still be body surfing the dumpers in the shore break while flawless tubes would be reeling along the point just a hundred meters away. I probably wouldn’t even have owned a wetsuit.
And now I have published a book about surf travel and I’m attempting to blog about it too! I’ve made a complete about turn as far as my thinking about that part of surfing goes.
I suppose it all comes down to one’s point of view. What is more fun: having it all to yourself or sharing the stoke? If you can bring yourself to enjoy sharing, then suddenly surfing becomes so much more fun. Selfishly guarding a secret only makes you anxious. When will someone else discover “your” spot? When will the idyll be destroyed?
So, I’m trying to be less selfish now. I’m trying to give other people waves and to be kind in the water, to laugh more and to just be happy.
But I still won’t be telling you anything more about that spot!