Thursday, May 10, 2018

Guest Columnist - STEVE SWITZER

To give you the background.  Recently Surf Ranch, Lemore CA, south of Fresno, in Central California debuted a machine-driven surf machine.  A 70-ton hydrofoil on a track creates  700 yard long "perfect" waves in a former pond.

Steve Comments: (and he is not one to hide his feelings)

"So this is what the sport of my youth has come to?  Perfect conditions, perfect wave shape, perfect water temp, yet ... total artificiality, total banality, total predictability, total boredom, totally unexciting.  Every move perfectly choreographed, scripted, planned in advance - probably written out the night before like a menu in a restaurant, a roster of food to be cooked by a group of competing chefs.  No bothersome GWSs or Tiger Sharks to worry about, no jelly fish stings to put calamine lotion on later, no porpoises to share waves with, no pelicans to dive bomb next to you and scare the crap out of you.

No, this is just the latest cultural tragedy to befall us Old Guys who had the great good fortune to know surfing in the 40's, 50's and early 60's when boards were made of wood and real surfers didn't wear wetsuits; when the line-up between the Manhattan Pier and El Porto on a warm spring morning had maybe 30 surfers in it; when the surf report was two woodies full of guys and boards stopped in the middle of PCH, one pointing north and one pointed south, exchanging information.

We gave our girlfriends St. Christopher medallions and they dutifully sat on the beach and watched their bronzed Adonis' walk the nose and do reverse kick-outs.  We had it so good then that we wouldn't know how good we had it till the advent of short board thrashers, leashes and hollow boards made in China and sold at Costco.  

I surfed when surfing was great fun.  I enjoyed the sport when most didn't consider it a sport, but a lifestyle and a bad one at that - a rebellion.  But I - we - knew that wasn't so.  It wasn't a rebellion.  It was just the free-est, most exciting thing we could do.  I surely never thought about it then, but if I had, I never would have believed that technology could ever take that - a boy, a board and a wave - and dump it in a contest in the middle of cow country.   

Tempus fugit.  Time flees.  It marches on and the farther it goes, the farther behind I fall, not so much unable as unwilling to keep up.  I come from a far better place than the place time wants to take me."  

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