Growing up, pictures and movies about surfing were rare. The only photos were in Surfer and Surfing and the only place to see footage was in the latest surf video. To get gear (from new brands no one heard of), you went to the local surf shop. Surfing was for surfers. Fast-forward to waves crowded by boards purchased at WalMart and landlocked states where everybody’s mom wears Billabong. What happened? Social Media. Social Media is threatening the authenticity of surf culture. The ability for anyone to broadcast themselves is altering who surfs and why. Houston, we have a problem.
Surfing has always been about something other than being seen. More art than sport from the beginning, Polynesian kings were the most skilled at a non-competitive pass-time that kept their people close to the oceans on which their lives depended. Modern surf culture evolved, in part, as a reaction to the Cold War and consumerism following WW ll. Surfing was a way to maintain a connection to the natural world, escape modernity, and reconnect with the source from which we came.