To Surf Or Stay?
By Dan Dobbin.
For years I’ve scoffed at the silly ‘merican’s and their love for their thundersticks.
A quick Google tap reveals enough guns for every one of the 330 million inhabitants of the land of the free to have a weapon, with 67 million to spare.
Almost daily mass shootings, Kevlar lined school backpacks, first graders killed cowering in a primary school, thoughts and prayers sent, the 2nd Amendment unchanged.
“What the fuck is wrong with these people?” I’ll pontificate.
I get it, they like shooting guns, but surely for the greater good of the society they live in they could accept some rules and limits on what you do, so others don’t get harmed or killed?
It was easy to moralize and grandstand when it didn’t affect me directly.
But now, faced with the possibility of the thing I love doing being restricted or banned for the greater good of society, it doesn’t seem so black or white.
I’ve begun rationalizing lots of the arguments trotted out by gun owners against a potential surfing ban.
I promise I’ll do the right thing, I can be trusted to be responsible, why should I be punished for the actions of others?
I’m sure my actions can’t have that big of an overall impact of putting others in harms way?
Many more people will be infected by irresponsible backpackers, queuing for government handouts or in supermarkets than will ever be infected while surfing.
The surfing component is only a small part of being outdoors in the natural environment, which is good for my mental health.
Surely my need for freedom of expression philosophically supersedes the tyrannical laws of a corrupt government!
I’ll give you my board when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!
So, I find myself in a cognitive conundrum. I’ve always championed personal responsibility in guiding an individual’s actions to my family, but the ingrained desire to seek pleasure in the ocean is a siren song that proves difficult to resist.
If the worst-case scenario rolls around and Australia joins many other nations around the globe in placing a ban on surfing, which mistress do I obey?
It easy at the moment as I look outside in a grey day with onshore, northerly winds lashing the coastline to tell myself I’ll find other things to do scratch the itch.
But what of the offshore, sunny, board shorts only required magic days of Autumn with a solid swell bombarding the coast. How do I reconcile myself to missing that?
I’m lucky to live on probably the most uncrowded stretch of coastline left on the East Coast of Australia. I can all but guarantee a solo surf if I do choose to defy a hypothetical Government ban.
However, morally would that not place me in the same league as the gun lover who believes that their actions don’t need to be altered or restricted for the benefit of society at large?
Which way will I sway?
I honestly still don’t know. The metaphorical devil and angel still whispering in each of my ears.
I’ll get back to you after the first magic day of Autumn.