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  1. #1
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    what happened to the idea of surfer as counterculturalist..as rebel? outsider?

    To be a surfer in the early years meant that you were branded an outsider and a rebel ala Miki Dora. Surfing was probably one of the earliest "countercultures".
    What has happened to make surfers some of the most docile (politically, socially, spiritually, environmentally) creatures on the planet? discuss if you wish...I just felt like asking a question to the moon here.

    Or am I maybe just experiencing a sub-set of surfer on this here forum that exemplifies all these things?

    have a great day yall!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by babybabygrand View Post
    To be a surfer in the early years meant that you were branded an outsider and a rebel ala Miki Dora. Surfing was probably one of the earliest "countercultures". <br />What has happened to make surfers some of the most docile (politically, socially, spiritually, environmentally) creatures on the planet? discuss if you wish...I just felt like asking a question to the moon here.<br /><br />Or am I maybe just experiencing a sub-set of surfer on this here forum that exemplifies all these things? <br /><br />have a great day yall!
    Not entirely true, Miki Dora as an icon and the idea of the surfer as a product of the counter-culture wasn't something that emerged into the American zeitgeist until the 60's. Dora's image as a bad boy was bought, packaged and sold quite successfully by Greg Noll surfboards. How counter culture can you really be when you're whoring out to sell mass produced surfboards to the inland masses? Until illegal drug use became more mainstream to society en masse i.e. when the white young, children of middle class Americans started doing them, most surfers weren't associated with the image of a drug addled beach bum. Hollowing out boards to smuggle drugs all over the world and dosing while dropping into 8-10' Sunset have to been seen as part of a larger societal context. Everybody was doing it, however prior to the sea-change in American culture that was the 60's, surfers weren't seen as anything other than normal people with a hobby that took them out into the water. Many of the early surfers who we regard as rebels were actually pretty straight laced business men when you get down to it. Greg Noll for one. The emergence of the counter culture scene in the 60's as part of surfing was something that disgusted him so much that it was one of the reasons he quit surfing. Dale Velzy, Reny Yater, Bing Copeland, Hobie Altar, Dewey Weber, Donald Takayama, Jack O'neill all ran surf companies that capitalized on bringing surfing to the masses. Hardly the acts of rebels. Tom Blake was a lifeguard for most of his life and a writer. Dempsey Holder was head life guard at IB and was lauded for keeping a balanced budget.
    I think that guys like Hynson and Dora really were the exception and not the rule and that the image of the surfer as a rebel has mostly been manufactured in order to sell more surfboards; but then again I know a couple of surfers who've bought some pretty nice houses right on the beach in some pretty expensive places and they didn't make their money working at no 9 to 5.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, well said... There are numerous films relating to this subject. Riding Giants kind of gets into that. The truth is, The North Shore became famous or infamous by the CA guys who all saw those waves on the front page one day. And they left the world as we know it behind. That was really the first wave of counter culture, I would assume. A bunch of perfectly normal, somewhat educated guys just pack up, leave, live somewhat off the land and surf all day. That was a concept that stumped people. That is where the "beach bum" tags started. Because many of the pioneers of that time were literally bumming it.

    They also show the scene in La Jolla and other places in CA back in the 60s and stuff. To me, that wasn't counter culture. That was a bunch of rich, privledged white kids running around and having fun. By the time they all grew up, I am sure they blended right into the white collar society in which they came from, cause if you can't bring home the bacon, you aint going to continue living and surfing in La Jolla...

    So, I would say, in retro spect, there really hasn't been a huge counter culture like ZaGaffer said. Most surfers all complain about surf exploitation, about blowing up spots, but when you look at our forefathers, they all wanted the same thing and did the came thing. They wanted to make surfing a part of their life in every way they could. So, they used capitalism to stay in the water. Whether its the mass production of boards in HI and CA, to all the guys flocking out to HI and telling the world all about it. All the names he mentioned above have one thing in common. They made a lot of MONEY off the industry. They actually created it....

    So, historically, there really haven't been a lot of radical anti-capitalism, counter culture kind of guys in the surfing world...

    And unfortunately, the spicoli image and label of drug use in surfing, for the most part is false as well.

    Sure, some surfers do drugs. I am not talking about Pot and Beer either. But in my experience, the ones who are really talented that get into that stuff turn out to be nothing but a flash in the pan.... One of the best surfers I have ever known, who taught me a lot and surfed with me a lot was sponsored all over San Diego. He could literrally find a barrel or a huge are on EVERY WAVE he road. Guy was amazing. Not gonna drop names, cause thats not fair but he used to tell me how he would eat mushrooms and surf giant sunset cliffs and blacks... I always thought it was strange, but he said it was some of the most amazing things he had ever done... He was like, you know how awesome it is to be in a barrel. Can you imagine navigating the tube, with the sights, sounds and feelings, on a hallucinogen. But then again, he never made the CT. Maybe cause of sh** like that. Other super talented guys I knew that were sponsored, won the NSSAs in their teen years, a few of them had a fast track to the CT and by the time they were 19, they were just local losers, couch surfing and doing hard drugs... Its a shame... Ive seen a lot of people just dissapear that way...

    So, point is. In the modern age, surfers are athletes first and foremost. Especially the ones that you read about and see all over the mags... Im not going to throw assumptions out there, bu do I think Jamie Obrien and his boys pass around spliffs after a day of north shore antics? Probably. But I also don't think they are smoking meth....

    For the most part, surfers are athletes. And athletes as a whole have NEVER been associated with counter culture...

    Although we all consider surfing as a "lifestyle"... It really isn't its just something we all do when we dont have to work and there are waves out. It would be a lifestyle, if you build you entire life around it. If you don't work when there is swell. It you travel to the waves and put them at the top of the priority over ALL else in the world, then yeah, you make it a lifestyle. There was a time in my life, where I would consider my whole life revolving around it, yes... But in the real world, none of us can do that for ever. I envy the guys that do sacrifice everything and do that kind of thing. But I would take my family, my daughter and my life over a selfish wave crazy lifestyle for the rest of my life...

    There aren't too many people left that will do that kind of thing, especially if they aint gonna get paid for it.

  4. #4
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    surfers, are for the most part, cuhnts. Its a social phenomenon, pretending to be what your not, but that's why companies like hollister are rich.
    Last edited by DaMook; Apr 18, 2014 at 02:46 PM.

  5. #5
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    I really didn't mean to name check Dora...that was lazy on my part. I do understand the image creation thing with him somewhat, and I prob should read more on him. So basically a bad job with the set up on my part. Let's go way back, to like when the authorities didn't ALLOW HI's to surf . The people that brought surfing back surely were considered rebellious no?

  6. #6
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    I surf, therefor I am a surfer. F--k any other BS that's supposed to go with it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by zach619 View Post
    Yeah, well said... There are numerous films relating to this subject. Riding Giants kind of gets into that. The truth is, The North Shore became famous or infamous by the CA guys who all saw those waves on the front page one day. And they left the world as we know it behind. That was really the first wave of counter culture, I would assume. A bunch of perfectly normal, somewhat educated guys just pack up, leave, live somewhat off the land and surf all day. That was a concept that stumped people. That is where the "beach bum" tags started. Because many of the pioneers of that time were literally bumming it.

    They also show the scene in La Jolla and other places in CA back in the 60s and stuff. To me, that wasn't counter culture. That was a bunch of rich, privledged white kids running around and having fun. By the time they all grew up, I am sure they blended right into the white collar society in which they came from, cause if you can't bring home the bacon, you aint going to continue living and surfing in La Jolla...

    So, I would say, in retro spect, there really hasn't been a huge counter culture like ZaGaffer said. Most surfers all complain about surf exploitation, about blowing up spots, but when you look at our forefathers, they all wanted the same thing and did the came thing. They wanted to make surfing a part of their life in every way they could. So, they used capitalism to stay in the water. Whether its the mass production of boards in HI and CA, to all the guys flocking out to HI and telling the world all about it. All the names he mentioned above have one thing in common. They made a lot of MONEY off the industry. They actually created it....

    So, historically, there really haven't been a lot of radical anti-capitalism, counter culture kind of guys in the surfing world...

    And unfortunately, the spicoli image and label of drug use in surfing, for the most part is false as well.

    Sure, some surfers do drugs. I am not talking about Pot and Beer either. But in my experience, the ones who are really talented that get into that stuff turn out to be nothing but a flash in the pan.... One of the best surfers I have ever known, who taught me a lot and surfed with me a lot was sponsored all over San Diego. He could literrally find a barrel or a huge are on EVERY WAVE he road. Guy was amazing. Not gonna drop names, cause thats not fair but he used to tell me how he would eat mushrooms and surf giant sunset cliffs and blacks... I always thought it was strange, but he said it was some of the most amazing things he had ever done... He was like, you know how awesome it is to be in a barrel. Can you imagine navigating the tube, with the sights, sounds and feelings, on a hallucinogen. But then again, he never made the CT. Maybe cause of sh** like that. Other super talented guys I knew that were sponsored, won the NSSAs in their teen years, a few of them had a fast track to the CT and by the time they were 19, they were just local losers, couch surfing and doing hard drugs... Its a shame... Ive seen a lot of people just dissapear that way...

    So, point is. In the modern age, surfers are athletes first and foremost. Especially the ones that you read about and see all over the mags... Im not going to throw assumptions out there, bu do I think Jamie Obrien and his boys pass around spliffs after a day of north shore antics? Probably. But I also don't think they are smoking meth....

    For the most part, surfers are athletes. And athletes as a whole have NEVER been associated with counter culture...

    Although we all consider surfing as a "lifestyle"... It really isn't its just something we all do when we dont have to work and there are waves out. It would be a lifestyle, if you build you entire life around it. If you don't work when there is swell. It you travel to the waves and put them at the top of the priority over ALL else in the world, then yeah, you make it a lifestyle. There was a time in my life, where I would consider my whole life revolving around it, yes... But in the real world, none of us can do that for ever. I envy the guys that do sacrifice everything and do that kind of thing. But I would take my family, my daughter and my life over a selfish wave crazy lifestyle for the rest of my life...

    There aren't too many people left that will do that kind of thing, especially if they aint gonna get paid for it.
    man, all of that..all of that Sunset Cliffs story is amazing, thnx for sharing

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by babybabygrand View Post
    I really didn't mean to name check Dora...that was lazy on my part. I do understand the image creation thing with him somewhat, and I prob should read more on him. So basically a bad job with the set up on my part. Let's go way back, to like when the authorities didn't ALLOW HI's to surf . The people that brought surfing back surely were considered rebellious no?
    Princess Ka'iulani was definitely a rebel, hottie too.

    Last edited by zaGaffer; Apr 18, 2014 at 03:00 PM.

  9. #9
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    FROM extremehorizon.com - surfing history...

    It wasn't until 1779 that the Western world heard of surfing, when the writings of Lieutenant James King, assigned to a British expedition led by Captain James Cook, published his accounts of the Hawaiian islands and the exotic ocean pastime and beach lifestyle enjoyed by the locals. The Europeans soon began to use Hawaii as a Pacific crossroads and trading post, so it wasn't too long after in 1821 that Calvinist missionaries arrived from Britain to impose their religion and repressed ideologies on a population which they viewed as frivolous. As surfing was often a pre-cursor to couples getting it on, the missionaries decided that it wasn't at all right or proper, so dealt a heavy blow by banning surfing which almost wiped the pastime out completely. This almost led to the extinction of traditional Hawaiian culture for the remainder of the 19th Century and if it hadn't been for a few native inhabitants and some curious tourists like Mark Twain (who wrote about "surf bathing" in his 1872 book "Roughing it"), surfing may have disappeared altogether.


    Duke Kahanamoku
    The resurrection of surfing culture was brought about almost singlehandedly by two men, George Freeth and Duke Kahanamoku. George Freeth was one of the original Waikiki beach boys, a group who still practiced the then rare sport of surfing. Freeth was introduced in 1907 in Honolulu, to an American writer called Jack London who became fascinated with the sport and subsequently wrote a magazine article which was published on the US mainland and made Freeth a minor celebrity. George Freeth then moved to California and demonstrated his surf skills at Venice beach and later at Redonodo beach where he was billed as "The man who can walk on Water". Freeth was certainly attributed to bringing surfing to the consciousness of the United States mainland, but it was nothing compared to Duke Kahanamoku's influence who's reach became worldwide. Duke Kahanamoku was also a Waikiki beach boy who by 1905 was breaking swimming world records and in 1912 he represented the US Olympic swimming team in Stockholm winning multiple gold medals which secured his place as a Hawaiian ambassador. Duke travelled the world spreading the Aloha spirit and introducing surfing to countries like Australia and New Zealand who quickly took the sport into their hearts. In 1917 Duke rode a now legendary big wave over the deep water reefs off Oahu's Wakiki beach on a 126 pound 16ft solid red wood plank which he was able to ride for over a mile! One of Dukes companions was Californian surf pioneer Tom Blake, who was the first man to ride Malibu in 1926 and who organised the first surf Pacific coast surf riding championships, which he also won on a hollow surfboard he made himself.



    A part they briefly mention in here, is about "surfing leading to getting it on"... That is because back in the day, natives were surfing naked. Mark Twain mentioned seeing adult men and women, surf-bathing naked... So there could be some morality issues that the missionaries saw...

    If the missionaries had just brought them some swim trunks, it would have been all good. They just didn't like seeing naked adults playing around together. It must have looked a bit strange to them. What with all the rules a regulations of the church.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by babybabygrand View Post
    I really didn't mean to name check Dora...that was lazy on my part. I do understand the image creation thing with him somewhat, and I prob should read more on him. So basically a bad job with the set up on my part. Let's go way back, to like when the authorities didn't ALLOW HI's to surf . The people that brought surfing back surely were considered rebellious no?
    I supposed you could say that about Duke and George... But that's a tough one, because more than anything they resurrected their own culture and their own past. I guess you could call it standing up to Western Religion or whatever, but yeah, they were they guys that stood up , literally, and made sure that the culture didn't die. Then they spread it all over the world... But as I mentioned before, if people werent naked, it would have never been an issue. By the time Duke and those guys were surfing, they at least had clothing wrapped around their waists. But none of us were there in that time, and I haven't really read about what the culture was like when they started surfing again. I don't know if surfing was just forgotten about, or if the ban was so old that no one cared anymore. Who knows... It would be interesting if anyone does know that.

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