Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On The Big Worry

The arrival of a major surf contest in New York raises eyebrows.  For those who didn't realize there is "surf around here" the notion that the sun kissed wild men of the South Pacific might want to dip in our sullied waters has the whiff of the absurd.  For those whom surfing in the New York Metropolitan Area is part and parcel to their urban lifestyle, the thought of the disruption and commodification of their cherished pastime rouses paranoia and fear.  For everyone else (the ones who follow the New York Times' love affair with Rockaway for instance) the whole thing perhaps fits into the faddish patterns already taken hold.  In truth, there is nothing new happening here.  It is the age old arguments of lifestyle vs. sport, business vs. bliss; the ritual gnashing of teeth whenever a surf contest lands anywhere other than J Bay, North Shore, Fiji or Bells; a recipe for repeat surfy indignation.   Ricardo Salcedo makes some interesting points here regarding the O'Neil Coldwater Classic.  I put a couple cents down in the comments area there.
What is interesting about Thad's article in the Times is his concern for the naturally occurring low key, non-vibey atmosphere in the NY surf scene. Thanks to a small, relatively tight knit community, there is a basic sort of begrudging camaraderie at work.  The stated worry is that somehow a burgeoning commercialism will tip some delicate balance, sending the planet out of orbit.  It's not hard to imagine the scenario where surf crazed ignorant hoards descend upon the beaches to wreak havoc on a delicately balanced social eco-system.  What's hard for me to imagine is that they would stick around long enough to cause any more irreparable, lasting harm that is not already in motion, something that's been in motion for me, anyhow, since my parents bought me my very first T&C Surf t-shirt. Obviously, I am tainted.  I've helped the thing.  But I can't help but think the whole show will blow in, blow out and leave little side affect. New York's surf scene is already growing faster than it had, the tensions already mounting in accordance.   The contest won't do much other than give us something to watch, wonder and shake our collective head about.  Something we're already doing. 

1 comment:

Ed said...

The world tour comes to town which is followed by a flat spell. Everyone packs up their things, grumbling about the "Fall of the Dream Tour" and NY slips right back under the radar...
Hope for the best.