This Wednesday, June 20th, will be a wondrous occasion; one filled with sharing and giving back to something that gives so much to us: the ocean. June 20, 2012 marks the eighth anniversary of International Surfing Day, a day dedicated to bringing surfers the world over together to celebrate wave sliding, in all its glory.
According to The Surfrider Foundation, ISD has grown into a full-fledged movement in eight years, one that spans “200 separate events in over 25 countries.” When considering the days of The Endless Summer (of course that was a bit before my time, but nonetheless humor me momentarily) surfing was essentially only practiced in Hawaii and California and a few other places. At present, it’s hard to fathom how much our pastime has developed. Now, remote areas in Alaska, Africa, Antarctica, and beyond grace glorious full-page magazine spreads on a monthly basis (and daily basis on surf websites like this one).
While the growth in popularity of surfing is something most of us curse in the lineup, it’s important to remember what surfing is all about: aloha. It’s cheesy, clichéd, and overused, like a verbal shaka, but it’s true. Undeniably, aloha represents the surfing lifestyle for the majority of the people who practice it. Sure, there are others in it for other reasons: money, fame, girls, fitness, whatever.
What matters is that those of us who care – and if you have read this far, I am assuming that’s you – will be out there Wednesday however you have to do it. Some will rise early before work, sneak a session on lunch break or drive to the local beach break after that mid-week sales meeting. Others will gather in groups or take the day off. Others don’t have a job, so it’s no big deal, but our tribe will surf, smile, hoot, and holler. We will clean our local beaches because we’re proud to call ourselves locals. Boards will be loaned, friendships will be made, families will come together, and so will communities.
So, I look forward to Wednesday with great anticipation. I am stoked to belong to a community of people that still remembers its roots. I am proud to be a surfer.