Nothing is simple. Reduce anything to its base components and you may find the illusion of simplicity, but invariably, the devil is in the details.
Consider the oft-espoused mantra: "Grab a board, ride a wave". If you ask me that statement is only true during a very brief window of your surf life, beginning right after you've graduated from kookdom and ending the first time you start questioning the dimensions of your surfboard. From there you're one bad turn away from an eternity of tinkering with your fin setup and one good barrel away from devoting your life to following wearther patterns. It's during this brief interlude that surfing is indeed a simple pursuit. It's just you, your board, and the waves on that particular day or maybe thats just the way I remember it.
Do you remember when you went not knowing what the swell would be? No forcasts, no cams. No variety of equipment cause of no cash or it just wasnt available yet. You owned one board and rode it in any kind of conditions and it worked fine. Had a great time didnt you. Yea i'm showing my age here but i think the man was right. Simple is better.
it's still that simple. i reduced my quiver considerably in the last year, (mainly because i have a go-to board that i really like and when there's waves, i know it's going to deliver), and if there is surf (or the hint thereof), i grab it and go. a board, a little wax, and a bicycle to get to the beach. same as it ever was.
edit: and btw, when you stack surfing up against everything else in this complex modern life (career, relationships, kids, bills, family, mortgage etc etc), it's almost wonderfully primitive in it's simplicity.
Ahhh the telephone surf report. If it was strangely late of not updated at all = there must be waves, go surf. Thanks to modern phones I only have 5 phone numbers memorized parents, grandparents, wife, work and the WRV surf report (both of them) which I haven't called in a decade or more. Come to think of it I probably would have been better off just going to the beach to check the surf since it took so long to get through to the number. I must've called that number thousands of times in my youth.