Relevance awaits. Photo Chachi

STAY RELEVANT… JUST PADDLE OUT

TERRY FITZGERALD’S ADVICE TO THE RELEVANCE-DEPRIVED IS SIMPLE

Surfing starts and remains paddling out, as celebration, without agenda. Founded on original Polynesian philosophies, mid 20th century simplicity, and the value of individualism. Today, those truths can feel so digitally camouflaged in handhelds of white noise.

Noise of anonymity, where ‘all’ get unlimited void to blah via multiple search-engine universes. ‘Celebration’ should not struggle in a cloud of interface-thought, hoping (optimistically) a difference it may make!

Difference? As rare as finding a diamond in a gravel pit of non-bouncing ideas. Imagine if premier criteria were based on magnificence! And beauty, originality, individuality, focused on fostering positive thought. It was surfers who raped, pillaged and plundered, subjugated, when ‘It’s only business’ replaced surfing’s core, sharing. Pivoting to a dumping-ground, detritus scrambling to make a buck based on a gamut of offensiveness to outright falsehood. “Throw enough shit, something will stick.” Great plan; look at the destruction that left behind. Gonzo is actually dead, HST wrote F&L50 years ago – time to let it go! For the times are truly changing….

Perhaps the softening of inner edge, is actually numbing, blunting? Early installation of the will to succeed, to win, may fade, but does desire? Perhaps risk-taking is diminished with recognition of responsibility to self and family. Time constraints constrict, but does passion ever flame-out? For some maybe, for others, not! Riding waves remains a prerequisite for the future of any surfer’s connectivity. Delete the noise, entitlement, agenda, what do you get? Peace. Awe. Satisfaction. The ‘feel’ of riding a wave! Relevance.

In the beginning surfing is joyous, but unforgiving, a school of hard knocks in the true sense. Where concentration, effort and desire all add to characters being built in the arms of Mother Nature. The lineup is a huge spectrum: from those at the end of their time-in-the-water, experience passing on tips to initiates, adding to tales of acolytes; to young lives yet to limit horizons. From panelbeating the past to learning acceptance of the future.

Freedom and individualism are counter-balanced by the herd. Maybe the noise is also an education, when searching for those diamonds… where everybody/anybody gets 15 seconds before being scrolled to nowhere. Why does nom de plume opinion replace nom de guerre factuality and research? Surfing forums do not have to be so!

The lineup can often reflect the ‘noise’ construct, especially when style is replaced with physical dyslexia. Thankfully, as with all pendulums, surfing will go “there and back again.” At surfing’s heart is aspiration. Pure, simple, unbound and true, and laced with expectation, with optimism. The next wave, the next day, the next trip, all optimism. Would we surf if that were not the way? And then there is anticipation …

Just paddle out.

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Sean Doherty