The beauty of narcissism is that it allows you relate to almost anything because everything reminds you of you. And by “you” I mean “me.” No surprise then that the video above (personally passed along to us via the kind folks at Esquire) brought to mind an issue I’ve had with wetsuits for the past couple of years. It all started the first time I saw myself in one when I was about twenty. Until then, I had carried around with me a vague notion of my own appearance, formulated in middle school, that was reminiscent of what the delightful offspring of Keanu Reeves and Katherine Hepburn might look like, but more muscular and with better teeth. That all changed the second I happened by a full-length window wearing my full-length wetsuit and found, to my dismay, that I looked like a damn Picasso painting, but with less grace. Considering the innate lumpiness of my body for the first time, I realized an inalienable truth of the wet suit: they don’t flatter anyone.
This might not be news for my female readers, who, impelled by the ugly pressures of a male-dominated world, sometimes spend much more time than is healthy looking at their own lumpiness in the mirror. But many men, who are not encouraged to do this, and often fear, deep down, that doing so might make them, you know, the homosex, will be surprised to learn that most of their bodies, with the exception of the truly gifted, are malformed pieces of meat.
Once I realized how “not-ideal” my own body was, I started looking at the bodies of the top forty four and was surprised to find that even these gifted surfers were often in possession of some spectacularly f-ed up corpuses. Take Kelly Slater. He has more junk in his trunk than Beyonce. I’m not the first person to notice this, either. Surfer labeled one of his Pipeline drops one their worst covers ever due to the bulbous nature of his gluteus maximus. If you need further proof, check out the Outside pictorial that has him running naked through a golf course…eight words: “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.”
A much more common problem is ape-manness. It manifests itself in surfers like Mick Fanning, Bede Durbidge, and Owen Wright who have normal length legs but torsos akin to Gumby and arms like chimps. In magazines and videos you can photograph them in ways that maks their deformities, but in person, the defects are more conspicuous. Watch Wright in his next video: Even when he’s standing straight legged on his board, his knuckles are almost dragging in the water.
Wetsuits shorten and fatten us and this is never more of a problem than for those guys who are short to begin with, ie: 90 percent of pro surfers. Joel Parkinson, Taj Burrow, Jeremy Flores, Kieren Perrow, Tiago Pires, the Hobgoods, Josh Kerr, Occy, Tom Carroll and almost every Brazilian that has every made the WT. These men are hobbits. If you can imagine Samwise Gamgee in a wet suit, you can guess how they will look. Frankly, it’s a wonder that they can surf at all, much less surf amazingly well.
The point here is not that these men are malformed freaks; they are, though. The point is that they never would have reached the pinnacle of their sport if they had, even once, taken a good look at themselves in the mirror while wet-suited. The sheer horror of what they saw would have crushed their self-esteems beyond repair. Now, take a moment to consider those badass female surfers who not only surf well – they do it in bikinis. Brazilian Bikinis even. And they know that every time they drop in, and most of the time when they are just sitting in the lineup, we are scouring every inch of their bodies with our eyes, judging, critiquing, and consciously or sub-consciously comparing them to women like Monika Gaba.
Consider that, in order to make a career out of surfing, women have to be more body conscious on a daily basis than most men will be during their entire lives.
I’ve written this, not because I enjoy meditating on the bodies of the best surfers in the world, though I admit that I get a certain perverse enjoyment from ripping them apart. No, I’ve written this because I want every man that watches this video and thinks, “Why don’t I know any surfer girls who look this good in wetsuits?” that you look like a goddamn nightmare in neoprene. So stop whining and buy the surfer girl in your life some flowers, because whenever she rides a wave, she is the most beautiful woman in the world.
Editor’s Note: Ladies, to even the score, feel free to submit your instructional videos on “How Guys Take Off Wetsuits.” ‘Cuz we all know dudes look mad fly tripping over themselves in parking lots.