why is knowing surf history/lore important?

Discussion in 'Surfing' started by cuda, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. Thomas Morra

    Thomas Morra Member

    Sep 2, 2019
    Rhode Island
    I think that depends on what we mean by ‘history.’ Knowing how a twin fin fish is going to perform and knowing what shape, size and type of wave it will perform best in could all be enhanced by knowing the history of who rode them where and how. The history of surfing to me is the amalgam of the people, equipment and conditions, not just names and dates, which on their own are not all that useful.

    jtsfla likes this.
  2. Sparky

    Sparky New Member

    Oct 9, 2019
    New Jersey
    For me I enjoy learning the history of the sport for two reasons. The first reason is to appreciate how good I have it compared to the pioneers. Very few people view surfing as a sport done by degenerates like it was pre-Gidget. I can surf through the winters thanks to Jack O'neil. Surf cams and better forecasting allows me to check the waves without driving 45 minutes to get to the beach. Learning the history of the guys who had to go through a lot more than me to surf lets me appreciate how good things are for me. Plus, its taught me to keep my head down and not act like a hot shot in the water. Nothing is more humbling that watching what guys were doing in the 60s on heavy logs.

    The second reason is it makes me feel more included. I enjoy talking to older guys who have been surfing for what seems like forever to hear their stories. Knowing the basics and a few fun facts gets respect from the OGs and I like that.
  3. Veterano

    Veterano Well-Known Member

    Aug 29, 2013
    IMO, the more you know about anything, the more you can enjoy that thing. Surf history is important to me because it's also my history. There.
  4. Planktom

    Planktom Active Member

    Dec 27, 2016
    Devon, UK
    Just reflecting on Cuda's original question and the fact he didn't mention the words 'sport' or 'culture', yet those words have been used in response. No judgment here, just as an observation and interesting to see differing points of view. Probably more straightforward to chronicle the history of the competition side, as it's more factual, I would suggest.
  5. Chilly Willy

    Chilly Willy Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2004
    USA New Jersey
    Solid point.

    Also, the amount of time that we actually spend riding waves is pretty small as compared to everything else in the greater overall ritual of surfing -- waxing your board, heading to the beach, checking the surf, paddling out, waiting in the lineup, enjoying the scenery, feeling up a new board on the racks, etc. With so much downtime, it's inevitable that talking story is going to be a part of how we extend our enjoyment of surfing.
    Makawaosurfer93 likes this.
  6. Bighouse

    Bighouse Active Member

    Feb 21, 2012
    East End, Long Island
    Surfing is ever evolving. If your part of the movement forward, you should know how you got there. I think that's Tudor's main gripe. (from 1st post)
    Sax-son likes this.
  7. Tenfooter

    Tenfooter Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2014
    USA Rhode Island
    I love surf history because knowledge is something that you carry wherever you go
    Whether is surf history, or a special skills you learned, it will differentiate you from the hoard of dummies that don’t know shit

    In my case it also makes me appreciate what we have today, and realize how spoiled we are.
    Think of 50 pound boards, no leash, no rails , flat, no fin box, very difficult to turn....etc
    Nowadays every man made board is an art piece, an evolution of the sport, and without all the bad features of the old boards
    pefa and Lackosense like this.
  8. Sax-son

    Sax-son Member

    Nov 23, 2019
    Three Rivers, CA
    For some of us who are old enough, we witnessed a huge jump in the evolution of surfboard design in a very short period of time, roughly 1966 through 1970 and beyond. A lot of the credit goes to the surfboard manufactures themselves and their test pilots. My first surfboard was from 1964, a 9'2" Con pig shape with a large fin that raked way past the tail block and over 35 lbs.. It was a horrible board to ride, but at that time I didn't know squat about what made a surfboard a good or bad one. I was young and had to make due with what I had. It's wasn't until I rode a friend's older Hobie that I truly realized what a good surfboard was. Up until then I thought it was my surfing abilities. From that point forward, the Con's days were numbered.

    In the fall of 1966, my dad sprung for new 9' 10" three stringer Jacobs that really helped improve my surfing skills. Around that time, manufactures were coming out with all kinds of new shaping ideas (mostly to stimulate sales I think). The Weber Performer, The Bing noseriders and lightweights, The Jacobs 422, The Yater Spoon, were just a few of models that came out in 1966 and 1967 and I was able to test pilot many of them from switching around with friends. 1968 was the year changed everything. My first encounter were the smaller pintails(under 9 foot) and then the 7'11" transitional V bottoms that were being surfed in Australia. From that point forward, longboards were pretty much "out". The short board revolution had begun. It was just about anything goes for a while.

    With all these innovations, all were built on what came before with an emphasis on creating a better and better surfboard. In the context of their timeframes, many of these innovations were groundbreaking and definitely a step forward. I have owned a lot of surfboards in my life, some were treasures and others were bonfire material, but all were unique. Every surfer I knew at the time were always excited to try out something that was new and to each individual surfer, it may have been a different experience than that of their colleagues. That is my own personal small piece of surfing history.
  9. DJR

    DJR Active Member

    Feb 1, 2018
    Carolina Beach NC
    It’s what we build on be it overall surf history, local, familial, etc and to me it’s fun- just make sure you’re not living with ghosts...the golden age is now no matter the time period
    Planktom, Sax-son and miscreant like this.
  10. SdSurferguy

    SdSurferguy Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2006
    I agree with Vet and others; the history and lore (again, primarily oral tradition) is the history of me, my family, my neighborhood, my city. Going and learning from others makes me feel like part of a community. I had a long chat recently with a shaper about his journey growing up in San Diego from the 1970s thru present day. When I hung up the phone I felt like it was one of the best conversations I'd had in a long time. It's fun to read responses from others too, because obviously my deep interest in San Diego is very different from someone else's interest. I'd assume it primarily boils down to your geographic location.

    I derive a lot of enjoyment from the "lore" aspect, as well as the "historical facts". When I know the "back story" (usually brought about via oral tradition) on a particular board I'm buying, trading, or inheriting, I get more joy from it. Knowing that it was owned by so and so, or ridden at a certain surf spot gives me a greater connection to the craft than if I bought it new off the rack. When I'm buying certain boards I'll try to probe for that kind of information.

    Is that info as important to others? Probably not. Does it bring monetary value? No, never. Does it improve my surfing? No, not likely. But the lore brings me joy, so I seek it out.

    I've been told I'm kinda weird tho, and I certainly get emotionally attached to objects.
    pefa, Tenfooter, Chilly Willy and 3 others like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice