The majority of you will of course know and be aware of surfing, some of you might even have dabbled with a body board down newquay or ridden a real life, full size actual surfboard (woah!) but I bet the majority of you are unaware of its origins, or how surfing became a $16.5 bn industry, or how it even became a sport at all. There were infact a few major players in its humble beginnings, Shaun Tomson (above), Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew and Mark Richards to name but a few.
2008 documentary Bustin’ Down the Door, narrated by Edward Norton, shows an audacious crusade of Aussies and South Africans, who emigrate to Hawaii and turn the notion of surfing on its head.
The paradigm shifted on Hawaii’s North Shore in 1975. The photography in this film is amazing, much of the film is also shot in super 8, which gives a truly authentic feel to such an iconic story, a subtle mix of hedonistic rock and roll hyperbole with beautiful sun kissed insouciance.
Timothy Leary perceptively proposed that surfers leave mankind in their evolutionary wake, because the surfer lives solely for the dance, the act, the ride. Mankind, he notes, lives for the acquisition of wealth, yet it is mankind’s destiny to wean itself away from the acquisitive way of life, and towards the act of living.
The surfer, Leary suggests, is the only truly living being – the act of waeveriding is in the here and now, in the tube- the future is ahead of you, the past is exploding around you, nothing is created, yet nothing is acquired. The moment is as it is, and your wake disappears. These iconic few paved the way for a culture that sets a true example, a culture of living, not of gain, profit, greed and malice.
Surfers as the world’s most forward thinking bunch? There’d be worse things to admit. Check out the documentary, and Tomson’s book The Surfers Code.