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The Inertia

As surfers, we’re obsessed with style. We love the feel of riding a wave and the involuntary smile that comes with it. But we also really like to do so in an aesthetically pleasing way. Forget the fact that the surfer themselves can’t see the fluidity with which their turns are made, the posture, coordination, or the overall appearance of (or absence of) grace in the process.

All of this goes out the door when focused on our ugly mugs. What’s up with that? Why do we make so many weird faces while surfing? We should probably talk about it more…because it’s funny.

The mouth-and-eyes-open-wide combo is probably the most common. And it’s not exactly a universal expression for any one thing. It could be fear. It could be a silent, “Oh, shit,” or an excited “Oh, shit!” It’s most likely involuntary because, well, why would most of us intentionally make that face? In fact, why would we intentionally make most of the expressions displayed across our grills mid wave?

There’s the Michael Jordan. There’s the look-back to make sure your friends just saw that. And the, “Oh man, I made it.” While we tend to focus on the arms and body gestures of a claim, the accompanying facial expressions are a necessary punctuation mark for the entire thing. There’s a cornucopia of expressions surfers use to release anger when they miss a section, take off too deep, or bog a turn and want everybody else within earshot to know. You’ve seen it. Maybe you’ve done it? The wave itself, a person, or even just the air gets flipped the bird. Maybe there’s a belch of a curse word, and a scowling face behind it all announcing great displeasure. After all, the surfer would have just stomped out a sick air reverse had it not been for (fill in the blank).

We make a lot of funny faces while we surf, don’t we? That’s what I focused on in this segment. Our faces when we surf. Enjoy!

Editor’s Note: Find more from Brad Jacobson on Youtube and here on The Inertia.


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