Surfing is a confusing space sometimes. Like everything, it has good aspects and bad. Sure, it’s the most fun one can have, but there’s a dark side. Localism, sexism, stereotypes… the corners of the surfing world are often dark and scummy. Obviously, the world would be a better place if more people prescribed to the “live and let live” mentality, but since human beings are human beings, that’s not the case.
Hopefully, at some point in the future, it will be — and it certainly looks as though we could be heading down the right path — and everyone will be free to simply be who they want to be without fear of repercussion from a bunch of bigots. A big part of getting to that spot is simply basic understanding. Which is why Vans enlisted Weird Waves host Dylan Graves for its new series, Breaking Waves.
The series shines a light on often overlooked and polarizing social issues and topics within surfing. In the first episode, Graves seeks to learn more about the LGBTQ+ surf community and understand how surfers can become better allies. In order to do so, he headed to San Francisco to link up with Queer Surf. It’s an organization advocating to create safe spaces at the beach and in the water, and Graves explores how to make surfing better for everyone involved.
“Beach culture is really binary,” says Nicci Brisebois, one of the co-founders of Queer Surf. “It’s either bikini or board shorts. In the queer community, we don’t always fit into those binaries.”