There are currently 1.28 billion Facebook users and over 255 million Twitter users. I was thinking about what it was like before Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all the other virtual worlds we live in today.
Before Go-Pro, before the waterproof Ipod, before streaming cams, before the 21 day surf forecast . . . back when it was you, one board and some stoke.
Remember those days?
I used to call the lifeguard stations at Huntington Beach and listen to the daily surf reports to try and get a glimpse of the swell. When I was a teen, those cats at Surfline started recording reports on 976-Surf and I’d call it as much as I could. My grandmother used to think I was calling porno numbers and I always got in trouble when the phone bill showed up.
Whether you called 976-Surf or not you would always call your bros on the landline and say “let’s surf.” He (your bro) would never respond, “let me check the cam” and would usually just say “pick me up.” I drove a VW bus in those days, so you can guess who did the driving.
We’d drive the coast, assessing each break along the way old-school style, using our five senses to understand the wind, swell, tide and kook factors.
We usually surfed no matter what and quite frequently had the wrong board. Back then most of us only owned one board, you made it work no matter, you had to do the “Huntington Hop” to make most waves into the inside section. I wish the younger me could see his garage now, he wouldn’t believe the wall of Mini Simmons and retro shapes, nor the hybrid shortboards and the classic guns in the racks. He would likely say, “dude, you only need one board.”
Back then after a surf there was no place to post that Go-Pro video of you paddling monkey style and then standing up swaying your hips like a drunk salsa dancer. There was no tweet to send to your 1000 non-listening followers and no Facebook post to make about how Joe passed gas in the van and we had to pull over and get out for five minutes.
The only thing that remained after those sessions was a deep appreciation for the sea, gratitude for your smelly friends and a longing desire to do it all again the next day. Please don’t forget that the most important things about surfing have nothing to do with your social media status.