The Inertia

What do snails and surfers have in common? A lot, apparently. The great Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa famously wrote in haiku: “Little snail/ inch by inch, climb/ Mount Fuji!”

Snails are natural underdogs – unassuming, slow. Not the best choice for a high school mascot. And yet, snails are tenacious little creatures. In spite of their limitations they proceed.

What does any of this have to do with surfing? Well, nothing on the surface. But the obvious parallel in this 1-minute ad is the protagonist, a boy named Ajiss, is equally unassuming. Maybe the fact that India isn’t known for producing world title contenders has something to do with it.

But while I’m not one to typically buy into a sappy story, this particular ad says something. Akin to the We Are Greater Than I commercial that Samsung dropped around this time last year, “The Snail” holds that surfing can be a source of inspiration to people around the world and perhaps a future world champion may be hiding where we least expect it. The short is also beautiful in the way it highlights the joy found in personal achievements in surfing. Sports like basketball and football would be hard pressed to wordsmith a snail metaphor to illustrate passion and greatness. Yet surfing relies wholly on the self. It’s equally an escape and a homecoming.

The final sentiment of the ad is incredible in its shameless idealism: maybe the snail will become one that inspires other snails – the so-called domino effect. If one person breaks down barriers, maybe he or she will inspire a few more, and each of them will inspire a few more and so on. Prophetic, Samsung. I dig it.


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