“Surfing” is So Hot Right Now

Aug 15, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: adventure, Events, Surfing

Surfs Up

For some of us (those fortunate enough to have grown up near a beach with waves), the magic of surfing has been long appreciated.  The form of “surfing”, however, continues to evolve, and it means different things to different people.  For some, the only legitimate form of surfing is on a “short board” somewhere around the 6 foot mark, but an ever-growing population of “watermen” express their aquatic creativity via different means, including body surfing, wave mats, longboard foamies and even blow-up pool toys.  SUP (stand up paddling) didn’t even have a name, and was only practiced by a small handful of watermen like Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama in the year 2000, but now is the worlds’ fastest growing water sport, complete with an office World Championships recognized by the IOC. Now new frontiers are also being forged in areas of wave pool technology, such as at the spectacular Wave Garden in Spain, and with new motorized boards, as shown by young watermen legend Kai Lenny in the video below.

Certainly the gloss on surfing presently is due to its continued exposure through Hollywood, which started with Gidget and Big Wednesday, popularized in Point Break, and more recent times made a mainstream hero of Bethany Hamilton (which is much deserved), turned Rob Machado and Kelly Slater into cartoon characters in Surfs Up, and nearly drowned Gerard Butler in Chasing Mavericks (based on the life of big wave legend Jay Moriarty).  The latest surf-inspired movie, Drift, starring Sam Worthington will only add to the mystique of the surfing experience, with viewers wanting their own experience.

What has changed, is the accessibility to “surfing”, when you apply its broader meaning.  As a long time surfer myself, some will want to shoot me for saying this, but SUP will become the dominant and most participated surfing activity in the world.  That is because SUP takes the activity away from just beaches with waves, and enables that purity of feeling that comes from moving a board forward on water onto lakes, rivers, ponds, rapids and anywhere a body of water exists.  New motorized boards will satisfy those with a need for speed, and while again purists would say surfing has to be via self-propulsion, the jet ski tow-in revolution has already changed that.  The good thing is that the broadening of “surfing” doesn’t necessarily mean the existing surfing beaches will become more crowded.   SUP in particular allows a form of exploration that can be both physically challenging, mentally calming, and spiritually enhancing all at the same time.  Personally, I find parallels between the experience of being on an open road in the middle of an exotic nowhere and paddling on a SUP on top of crystal clear, glassy water.  With both you are “in” the experience, and that is a very zen thing.

And while Kai Lenny’s latest activity might not seem very zen, it certainly looks a lot of fun – count me in!


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