Wednesday, October 6, 2010
In surfing there’s a well established code of conduct that surfers live by in order to maintain some sense of sanity and safety in the lineup. Aside from the caveman-esque “meet me at the beach” ass whoopings by Chuey, it’s the only civilized way we surfers know to keep order in a world of crowded surf chaos. Also known as “surf etiquette”, it’s the surfers’ Ten Commandments of ethical and sportsman like behavior. While all of the rules within the surfers’ code of conduct are worth following, perhaps the most important one and concurrently most abused rule of them all would have to be the; “thou shall not drop in on or cut off thy surfer brother!” It’s amazing how a concept so blatantly simple and obvious in theory can be so misconstrued (or ignored) for personal gain! Alas, like the competing rhetoric of the devil and the angel on the shoulder routine, this rule seems destined to be broken time and time again. To add fuel to the fire; throw a little ego into the equation, perhaps a healthy dousing of localism and see what you get. Or maybe toss a bunch of surf starved surfers into a tight takeoff spot or into a long period swell scenario with agonizingly long lulls and inconsistent set waves and see how quickly the golden rule of surfing fades away. At one point or another (a.k.a. – nearly every session with a crowded lineup) the fragile equilibrium between surf etiquette and personal gain/greed will be breached. When this happens, the most typical reaction by surfers is actually no reaction at all but rather to denounce all responsibility of wrongdoing or act like the instance of dropping in on another surfer never even happened! This brings us to every surfer’s favorite rationalized self serving statement – “It was an accident bro, I didn’t see you!” Other honorable mentions include; “I didn’t think you’d make that section” or the rather worthless, after the fact apology – “sorry bro, I didn’t mean to cut you off” when the damage is already done. “Accidently Dropping In” by all accounts is at pandemic levels of contagiousness within the surfing community these days. Question Is – “Are you infected?” If so, it might be best to re-evaluate your stance on the issue. After all, paybacks a bitch when you’re screaming down the line on the set wave of the day only to be “accidently” dropped in on by yet another fellow member of the “it was an accident” drop in club! Irony at its finest!