Welcome to the New Age.
By Dallas Singer.
In 2013 Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for 3 Billion dollars. The early development of Snapchat was humble, developer Evan Spiegel was aiming to do something no one was offering, Facebook was already around but Evan could see how it may become stale over time and knew a growing global audience of young millennials may want something faster, instant and more thrilling (mainly disposable nudes).
Fast forward to Facebooks time of offer, Snapchat boosted millions of daily users and seemly was on course for global domination.
Snapchat rejected Facebooks offer and decided they didn’t need 3 Bills. Facebook’s retaliation was to basically build snapchats functionality into all of its apps, just the same but with a stronger way more robust platform.
This worked a tee, flattened out SnapChat’s growth and kept its investors happy.
It was a rained out morning in a cheap hotel room on the pebbled coastline of Los Palmas, Canary Islands. I’d typically go the economical approach to contest travel in Europe, pack in half the round of 32 into a self contain apartment and hope someone doesn’t block the toilet over the course of the following week.
Our day of competition was called off and one of the boys had a ripped copy of a standup film on their laptop that was getting plenty of praise from an inner circle of competitive bodyboarders – this was almost unheard of, before then I may have been able to rattle off 2 or 3 all time surf films with ironic catch names like SaboTAJ and Occumentary. We huddled around the 17 inch glowing rectangle for a group screening.
What followed the next hour I can still clearly remember.
The film Modern Collective flawed me. My entire youth was spent protesting to my Dad (a staunch stand up surfer since the early 70s) that surfing was boring. Turns didn’t interest me, the boards were big and awkward and the hellman bravado turned me off completely.
As apposed to bodyboarding in the mid nineties, where guys were punting airs into the flats, spins in the pit and I could surf local reefs that at a time surfers didn’t even know where there. This was exciting, this was was exploring, and seemingly had no limits.
Modern Collective was the first time I thought “Shit, Stand Up Surfing is cool”.
These guys were clearly looking to land full rotations, a term bodyboarders had been using since the turn of the century. Pretty much doing what bodyboarders were doing but on their feet.
This was an attack on my belief system that bodyboarding was in of its self a completely different way to ride waves.
Modern Collective introduced some young guys that had no interest in contest and were blowing my mind with airs. I mean I’d seen surfers do forward airs before but this was near every wave in every section.
These guys had just ruined my career and possibly aspirations for bodyboarding making a long awaited jump back into the public spotlight, it was right there in front of me wrapped in dance tracks and a superb lack of slow mo.
This came at a time where the IBA was about to kick off in the next few months. Talk of energy drink deals and new beginnings were common.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a super exciting time to be boogie on the sponsor dollar but Modern Collective was always in the back of my mind. If we don’t reinvent ourselves as bodyboarders the end may be near.
Again doing the same stuff. But on their feet.
The Modern Collective run didn’t stop there and still hasn’t in a way. Heck I’ve been trying to do an air rev on my 5’9 for the past 3 years, it really isn’t as easy as it looks.
Bodyboarding has sure slowed in progression and adoption of the young. This could be drawn from a lot of different factors, poor management at the contest level, constant price gouging on boards, lack of money for the top end.
But those things are external and certainly didn’t play a part in my decision to start bodyboarding when my Dad was pleading me to ride one of his flogged out McCoy creations.
Stand Up surfing now offers the same thing, but on a bigger better platform.
However, bodyboarding has got one thing that it still holds, and that’s community and a lot of people that know what it offers.
Bodyboarding founded some of the scariest waves on the planet and bodyboarders proved they can be tamed, they are still hitting sections that no else would think about and now moving to inverse rotations (something that I think is beyond what we were really doing in the 00’s and early 10s).
My point is bodyboarding still seems to be at the coal face of wave riding while continuing to do it for a nickel.
That’s what it has always offered, and that what it will likely continue to do.
Today, Snapchat is still around, it still offers what it did in 2012, but continually offers its community of users new functionality that Facebook persists to replicate.
Perhaps to be considered truly successful, you don’t have to be the biggest, just the first.