July has been quite a month for surfing. I find it ironic that the subject of my last post, which championed the presence and influence of women on surfing and celebrated via Salted magazine, would be muted by the hysteria created by the video promo for the Roxy Pro in Biarritz (you can see my response in the comments section of an over reaction posted on theinertia.com) and, more importantly, yesterday's riot following the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach.
|The scene in 1986|
|Surf contest or martial law?|
I realize the riots weren't likely instigated by surfers or even by fans of surfing (hard to imagine exuberant Brazilians celebrating Alexo Viejo's win or dejected SoCal'ers lamenting Kolohe Andino's loss getting THAT out of hand) however that essentially doesn't matter because the violence is forever linked to the main event: a professional surfing contest. The ASP, the City of Huntington Beach, and the surf industry at large have got to get this figured out. Not just for public safety but for the very reputation of surfing. Because while surfing was born in Hawaii and today is enjoyed all over the world, a lot of our perspectives of surfing are set in Southern California, the epicenter for the sport's fashion, style and much of its talent. You don't see this bullshit at the events held in Hawaii, Australia, Europe or Asia. I'm fearful that this behavior signals to many observers here and around the world that we have lost the spirit and value of surfing. We can't let that happen.
|What would Duke think?|
Until next time, may your waves be head high and glassy and your head screwed on nice and tight.