Surfing, as a sport, has a peculiar relationship with the general public. I often refrain from mentioning my favorite pastime in general conversation, because unlike any other sport I can think of, there is not only a “them and us” perception, but a reality of those who surf and those that don’t. And I mean those who properly surf, not those who have taken a two hour lesson while backpacking across Australia in 2005.
Professional surfing rarely flirts with the mainstream media. King Kelly is one of the few personalities to truly transcend cultures, and I briefly heard about some Aussie guy who got his leash tangled on a large fish somewhere in the Southern hemisphere, prompting a barrage of cringe inducing reports in the media. And it’s the reporting of such events that highlights the complete lack of understanding of what constitutes professional surfing. Surfing is very much considered a hobby, a lifestyle choice, something to do on holiday; surfers are certainly not held in the same esteem as other “proper” professional athletes.