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In fact we DO disagree, Mr. Anemolius

16:28 8th March 2013 by Alex Dick-Read
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This piece appeared online after we posted an Agree to Disagree column from TSP Issue 94 called ’10 Reasons Surfing ‘Sucks’ by Raph Anemolius. Find out what could possibly be bad about surfing here.
In the interest of balance, we printed the response below from the guys at ThreadsandFins.com in TSP Issue 95, which is out now. And in case anyone missed it, here’s what they had to say:

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1. There is a difference between being interested in one thing and being interested in one thing more than other things. Let us speak for ourselves: we are interested in surfing, in travel, in good food, in music, in art, in literature, in design, in dogs, in photography, in adventure, in camping, etc., etc., etc. I could go on, but I want you to read the rest.

2. If everyone were selfish and did what made them happy on most days, the world would be a better place. Less killing, less crime, fewer depressed suburbanites.

3. Maybe “dude,” “going off,” “sick,” “stoked,” et al. are on their way to being among the more respected words of the English language. Shakespeare used words like “betwixt” and “forsooth” and no one said a damn thing about it.

4. We point to www.wavesforwater.org as proof of surfers using surfing to make a difference in myriad impactful ways. In one example, “Waves 4 Water has teamed up with surf company Hurley International to develop a DIY volunteer program called Clean Water Couriers, in which surfers searching for waves in third-world countries carry filters with them in their luggage.” This goes for No. 8, too, in which Mr. Anemolius writes, “You are a colonialist.” Viva Jon Rose!

5. The risk of surfing makes it all the more fun. I’d rather die being torn to pieces by a great white doing what I love to do than suffer through old age. If that’s a controversial stance to take, then consider the health benefits of surfing: you get daily exercise, commune with nature, and a steady stream of Vitamin D shining down on you. On surf trips there is fresh fish to eat, rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

6. How is the expenditure of time, fuel, and money scouting surf spots a waste if the yield is an experience we consider absolutely worth it? The allusion to addiction you make is well taken. But as far as addictions go, there are far worse alternatives. And our carbon footprint? Let’s just say that if we weren’t surfers, we’d be eating steak dinners and commuting in the SUVs we could afford to buy because of our 9-5 jobs, amounting, in the end, to a much larger hole in the ozone layer.

7. Dave Rastavich, a professional surfer, fully embodies the ‘close to nature’ vibe you speak of. His nonprofit organization Surfers for Cetaceans rescues whales and dolphins from harassment and killings (which, by the way, are probably not happening because of surfers). His group calls “ocean-minded people” to action. I’m sure many other surfers fall into that category.

8. See No. 4. Kyle Thiermann is another perfect example of a surfer who listens and responds to natives in developing countries. Watch his TED Talk: TEDxSantaCruz: Surfing for Change. There’s also Lee Ann Curren’s documentary, Titan Kids, about how surfing has helped children escape from poverty and drugs in the favela Titanzinho, in Brazil, where they live.

9. Respect on water and respect on land are two completely different things. Don’t assume that all surfers can’t tell the difference. Besides, how much can you drink if you’re waking up at 5a.m. for a surf?

10. Actually, every culture – not just surf culture – has a commercial side that can lean toward the despicable. A surfer has to eat, after all, and just because somebody figured out a way to make that happen doesn’t make the industry the sole source of evil in the universe. Not to mention that some people obviously see surfing well as a marketable skill – in other words, one that not just anybody can pull off.

P.S. We thoroughly loved your article, by the way; we just thought we’d rile up some conversation. It’s kind of like that Abraham Lincoln quote: “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” Us surfers and our lifestyles may have their fair share of thorns, but we’d have it no other way!

  1. Luke Williamson

    It was irony and sarcasm and comedy (in the more traditional, theatrical sense). By responding as an offended, sincere, honest surfer, you just proved his point. Nice work. Mr Anemolius is too clever for you.

  2. Chuck

    Yeah well, you say “tomatoe” and I say “tomatoe.” Hmmm, I guess that doesn’t work so well in print.

    Well anyway, I pretty much to try to agree with everybody on everything because it tends to keep the peace and that’s what makes me happy, most days.

    I will offer this though in regards to #2 above: If everyone was selfish enough to do what made them happy on most days one could easily put together an extremely solid argument as to why violence and killing would not only increase but would in fact would most likely hastened the demise of the entire human race. Well, maybe not all, I see one or two left.

    I picture a really moose of a guy with laser piercing blue eyes lodged under two bulging bony protrusions at the base of a exceedingly long forhead with long scraggely locks blonde hair falling betwixt and between them tooing and frowing in the wind. At his side,his women. The other survivor. She is nearly a supermodel scantily clad in rags that leave next to nothing to the imagination. She had previously been married to a highly successful, reasonably handsome, but decidely boring, accountant. You know this guy, kinda like one those Viking show dudes and his chick girlfriend. Except this bare chested behemoth has a thousand gadgets and widgets and weapons of modern warfare attached to his vest by carabiners (possibly made by Patagonia)except he doesn’t need any of these items because “A”, he could simply crush your skull with his bare hands and “B,” he already did, along with ours. He is the last man standing(ROAR). He is, very happy.

    I could go on, so I will.

    If we all succumbed to doing exactly what makes each of us happy in the moment, please, for your own safety if not mine, stay off the road. Of course you may otherwise if you just happen to drive an eighteen wheeler. Yes, the SUV would now head up the national conversation in the top spot on the assault weapons ban list. Ashame too, I love my old 4x, capped, board toting surf stickered pick-up.

    But I digress. I think my point was something about, tomatoes?

    Oh, yeah. Be careful what you wish for. Who knows what lurks just below the surface of those familiar faces that surround us as we contently go about our dailey routines. Who knows what might make them happy perhaps at another’s peril? If you took the risk of a nasty crash out of a NASCAR race, how many fewer would show up? Big number I’d bet. Hey, I love you race fans, I’m just saying. Not a race fan? Ok, how about this; Do you or do you not feel compelled to read all the gory details of the latest shark attack article asap, even more compelling if it was fatal? Be honest now. Or this one; I’ve heard that things like drinking animal blood ro eating human flesh actually makes some people happy. Ok, now I’ve creeped myself out.

    I’m just saying that I’d hate to suffer the “slings and arrows” of those peculiar folks(you did say “if everybody”) if they were to decide that my ugly butt on the menu would make them happy. In fact, I’d be one severely depressed suburbanite.

    You know, now that I think of it, I too would rather have my flesh torn off and eaten by a GW than by some nameless old gnarly dude that usually chats me up in the water before he heads off to his job potting plants in the garden dept. at Home Depot. Given a choice I might even choose to suffer through old age than a fate such as that. The guy rips though. But again, I digress. Apologies, I’ll wrap it up.

    I have a confession to make. No, I don’t eat people you kook! I have however, on occasion, thought of doing things that might ehance my happiness but that in the process had a high likelhood of making someone else less happy. I’ll bet you have too. Alright, I admit it, I have probably maybe dropped in on someone once, possibly twice, when I may have possibly had some had prior knowledge of that which I was about to do but I chose to gnore in the moment. It made me happy for a brief moment, until eventually the guilt set in, or someone dropped me.

    Ahhhh there, I think feel a little better about that now, almost happy. Hmmm. Do a bad thing – confess – then feel good again. I like it! You could probaly build some kind of an organiztion around a concept like that. Maybe even make money on it? Crap, sorry, did it again. My point was?

    Oh yeah,the wrap. I confess that I did not read the first article, “10 reasons Surfing Sucks.” I was just about to read it, seriously, when the thought popped into my head, “What if burried amongst all the anticpated irony, sarcasm and comedy meant for our pleasure, I stumble upon a no kidding valid reason that wasn’t already on my personal list? That would really suck. I don’t need anymore reasonson my list, is quite long enough already!

    Number one on my list, perhaps ironically, is that despite all the of reasons that surfing may or may not suck, real or imagined, like most of us,it is a simple fact, I can never get enough it.

    I would shocked if the article did not conclude the same. I’m still afraid to read it, seriously.

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