Worth preserving. Worth praising. But worth sharing? Photo: @nunonobrega

The Inertia

In a recent article published by the Portuguese website Beachcam and by The Inertia, it was “revealed” that there’s another mythical wave in Portugal. It’s not exactly earth-shattering news that the tip of Europe, of all places, is home to another world-class wave. Images of this spot have been circulating on the internet for quite some time. And when a crew of surfers took a day to surf this still unnamed spot whose exact location hasn’t been revealed, photographers and videographers followed for more pictures and more footage. Some found reason to argue one of surfing’s unspoken rules had been broken when those photos made their way online. Some people are unhappy with the exposure while others have loved it.

I say unanimity is boring and counterproductive anyway. Antagonistic ideas generate clashes and debates that inevitably breed reflection and evolution. But for my part in it, I can say my motivation for sharing the news of a session with some of Europe’s best and heaviest chargers ditching Nazare for a day to surf a lesser-known but equally amazing wave was to praise those in the water that day, to exalt a country that I love, and to be consistent with what I believe: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 

People reached out to me with interesting takes on why I shouldn’t have shared photos or written about this secret session at a still-secret wave. It’s typically acceptable for an athlete to post images of themselves on social media, surfing a secret spot, as a way to show off their skills to thousands of people. Meanwhile, many would oppose exposure on or by a website or publication. From an objective standpoint, this is an arbitrary contradiction. It’s the same logic of a surfer who defends their local beach with aggression and force but also likes to travel, expecting they’ll be welcomed with hospitality in a new place. Heck, if they’re lucky, they might even know somebody willing to take them by a secret spot during their travels. This is probably the same guy who likes to see pictures of secrets spots all over the world but not so much when it’s their own “secret” that’s being exposed.

Perhaps Freud would get to the root of it all by exploring our conscious and subconscious selves. Freud might say the ego drives our selfish habits of putting our own interests, opinions, desires, and needs first to the detriment of the environment or others around us. In this sense, it’s the antonym of altruism. It is pride, a presumption, a behavior that leads the individual to desire total exclusivity over the feelings of others. Jealousy is easily generated from here — a negative feeling, which when exaggerated, becomes a paranoia.

Arthur Schopenhauer, in “The Art of Insult” wrote, “The main and fundamental motor in both animals and humans is selfishness.” By nature, selfishness is unlimited. Man wants to preserve his existence using any means at his reach and anything that opposes the impetus of his selfishness provokes his bad mood, his anger, and his hatred. He wants to possibly enjoy everything and own everything. At the very least, he wants to dominate everything. Friedrich Nietzsche addressed other aspects of this theme by saying “Selfishness may lack value, be despicable, or be extremely valuable.” Nietzsche believed there was at least some good to be found in selfishness.

So, what’s right or wrong, good or bad, I do not know. But I do agree that to maintain order, respect, hierarchy, and to defend the community interests of surfing, non-aggressive “localism” is sometimes necessary. I also think it’s unlikely that hordes of surfers will board a plane and come to Portugal, hoping to find a map that leads them straight to this wave. I hope this place remains preserved and doesn’t lose its magic.


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