The Inertia Founder

The Inertia

In surfing (and life), misunderstandings are often the root of conflict. And while surf culture is frequently portrayed in extremes – as welcoming and laid back or hyper-aggressive and exclusive, most surfers can attest, it’s neither of those things. Rather, it’s nuanced.

With the objective of unpacking (mis)perceptions around surf culture, our friends at Kona Big Wave tapped us to facilitate conversations between surfers of all ages and skill levels about surfing’s many quirks – from localism to drop-ins and everything in between. Ideally, we might spark a few new relationships in the process.

So…we figured offering free Kona Big Waves on a rad, custom-made “Aloha” bench designed by eco-surfboard pioneer Ryan Harris parked on the sand at San Onofre was an excellent place to start.

Next, we armed charismatic pro surfer and friend of The Inertia, Hunter Jones, with a list of questions that cut through the BS. Here’s a glimpse at the question list, which at one point, had nearly 200 on it. Ask any one of these to any surfer, and you’re bound to get a different answer:

  1. What’s a kook? Are you a kook?
  2. Would you call the person on the bench next to you a kook?
  3. Why do you think there is tension or there are disagreements in the lineup?
  4. In your mind, what is the definition of a local? What’s the official criteria?
  5. Do you consider yourself a local?
  6. Is being a local a good or bad thing?
  7. Is localism ever justifiable? When and why?
  8. Have you ever experienced localism? What happened? 
  9. Do you think locals and visiting surfers can get along? What does that take?
  10. What should all surfers keep in mind when surfing a new place? 
  11. Does this approach apply beyond surfing? Where and how?
  12. In surfing, what’s trickier to navigate: the ocean or the people? Why?
  13. Is surfing intimidating? Why?
  14. What does it take to identify as a surfer?
  15. What’s the worst part of surfing?
  16. What does the board you ride say about you? (longboard vs. shortboard, etc..)
  17. Have you ever been dropped in on? Why do drop-ins happen?
  18. If someone drops in on you, is it fixable? Why or why not?
  19. What is the biggest mistake a beginner surfer can make?
  20. What is good surf etiquette?

What followed was an epic day at San Onofre. That’s kind of SanO’s thing, anyway. The waves were good. The beer was great. (We were fully permitted – everything was legit!) And the conversations were enlightening – capped off with a few moments of charming vulnerability. Give the edit above a watch to see how the exchanges played out, and feel free to ponder any of the questions above, too. There’s plenty to think (and talk) about.

And for a limited time, fans can find the Aloha Bench in the wild at iconic surf spots around LA, starting in Manhattan Beach. Beachgoers just need to find the Aloha Bench, scan the QR code to watch the “Share the Big Wave” video, and unlock a Kona Big Wave offer for you and a 21+ friend ($10 rebate on the purchase of two (2) Kona Big Wave, draughts or bottles)* at your preferred California restaurant or bar. So, yeah, basically free beer, people. Can’t get much more aloha than that!

*Purchase two (2) Kona Big Wave draughts or bottles to receive a $10 rebate. Purchase price of each Kona Big Wave draught or bottle must exceed $5, excluding sales tax. Must purchase two (2) to qualify for the rebate. Offer valid to CA residents 21+. Offer ends 2/29/2024. Visit here for details. Message & data rates may apply. Void where prohibited.


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