Boogieboarding Aint Alright.
By Laurie Clarence.
What the fuck is all this ” fun” and “boogieboarding” shit?
A bunch of former and current Pro’s who had to charge and claw and scrabble and fight to get to the top against each other and the cockheaded attitudes of footboarders telling the next generation that as long as you’re enjoying yourself than everything is fine?
Well it’s not fine. It was the pressure cooker of competing to out perform your peers, to surf the absolute best you could, to prove to the surfing world what bodyboarders could do that drove the never before seen standard of performance that peaked in the early 2000’s.
Like every other shmuck that had to stay home during the lockdown period, I watch the Michael Jordan series ” The Last Dance”.
Michael Jordan does not seem like he would have been a very fun man to have as a team mate.
Michael Jordan would have been a cunt to have as a team mate.
But Michael Jordan bent basketball games, indeed the basketball world, to his will by his sheer determination to win. He drove his teammates to be better because he held them to an almost unachievable standard and pushed them.
If you old enough to remember the sheer kamikaze recklessness Guilherme Tamega employed to win his first world title at absolutely maxing pipeline in 1994 you’ll recognize the same win or die trying mentality that was nessesary to reach the pinnicle and really excel at bodyboarding.
Tamega never lost that mentality and it netted him the most winniest record of any competitor in our sports history. GT didn’t surf fun, GT won.
Other World Champions like Ben Player and Damian King have talked about the need to treat their peers like mortal enemies in order to come out on top.
With all this chatter about making things all about fun, are we failing to hold up and coming riders to a standard? Are we doing a disservice to not only their development, but also to the future of the sport?
The very worst thing you could do when I was grommet was to do something unstyish, something clunky.
That shit was embarrassing.
Fuck, I didn’t go right for years because I didn’t want to look kooky with my lack of ability in that direction.
But if everything is fine and fun and enjoyable, then who cares if your not surfing well, if your shit looks clunky and kooky! Just enjoy yourself, it doesn’t really matter, it’s just about the experience right?
Well I care.
Let’s be honest, the standard of groms coming through in Australia isn’t anywhere near what it used to be. The guys that did learn their trade in that pressure cooker environment of the mid 90’s to early 2000’s are still the best riders in Oz despite all nearing or being middle aged.
To paraphrase Donnie Drumph ” Sad”.
The stand up surfing world has been swept by the “Brazilian Storm” over the last few years, a group headed by Gabrielle Medina, Felipe Toledo and Italo Ferreira.
The reason they’ve been so successful?
Hunger. Hunger and desire. Fighting and scraping and scrapping to be the best. Working and training and kicking arse to reach the top.
This shit isn’t fun, it’s a life and death struggle to be the absolute best and reach the top.
The parts of the world where bodyboarding does seem to be growing, or at least stronger right now, South Africa, Chile, Portugal feels like it’s full of riders with a similar mentality. The odds are stacked against them, there’s very little sponorship support, no real career path to follow, but they’re out there surfing as hard as they can because the only thing they care about is being the best.
If we settle for a culture of happy happy joy joy, lets all just enjoy going for a boogie board, fun fun, flop flop, the overall performance level of our sport is almost guaranteed to decline into the future.
So I say let’s not sugar coat it to the kids. Being a bodyboarder is going to be hard. You’re expected to charge crazy, scary slabs, you’re not going to get paid to do it, many surfers are going to be dickheads to you, there is no real cohesion or structure in the sport, never really has been, probably never will be.
None of that sounds particular “fun” does it? But if your going to be a bodyboarder, this is what you sign up for.
Everything else is just boogieboarding. And boogieboarding is lame as fuck.