Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Understanding your place in the "local crew"

Each day I see or speak to many of the same people. Whether it's at my
home in NJ or my house in Puerto Rico.  We generally find ourselves
at  the same places, checking to waves, letting our dogs run on the
beach, or simply hanging out and talking for a bit.  I know I'm not unique.
I have my crew you have yours.

Having some good friends is an important part of our surfing culture
and lifestyle. It is an essential ingredient for a happy life as well.
Sure we have our close friends or mates, you know the ones around
the same age or stages of life, the ones you share the ups and downs of
your life with .  Yet we also have another group- those who
regularly surf at the same break,  the "local crew".  There is no particular
age to determine who is part of that local crew and each has a unique role
yet, we all are an integral part of each and every break.  All part of the surf

Every break has a group of "old guys".  They have long surf histories,
have travelled, and are still pretty competent wave riders.  They might
not be riding  latest equipment  or busting airs, often preferring retro or
longboards but their love of, and commitment to surfing is clearly there.
When it is big they are charging! They see surfing as a lifestyle, a way of
being. Surprisingly they are often connected to luminaries
in the world of surf.

Next there are the more "middle aged" folks.  They have to split there
time between and amongst families with young kids, budding and
maturing careers, and responsibilities around the houses they own.
They might not get in the water as much as they once did but they
still make he most of the sessions they get.

The "20 something rippers" are there as well.  They ride the latest
equipment, generally surf really well, often aren't on career tracks yet.
They are the ones heading off for an extended trip to Indo or Bali.
Time and adventure are major foci in their surfing lives.

The groms also are there at every local break and are part of the crew
as well.  They are the surf stoked early to late teens,  They are the ones
wearing the latest hats, the boards with lots of colorful art.  They only
ride short  boards and all seem to weigh right around 100 lbs.  This group
hangs together in a tight knot band.  Once one of them gets a car or
license they are off to explore new breaks, new possibilities  They are the
ones competing in the contests and learning about things like upwelling,
surf forecasting, and board dynamics.
Their smart phones are filled with the latest surfing related apps, their fashion
is the latest.

Surfing culture has a place for everyone young or old, male or female.
The lesson each of  us should learn is where do we fit in to a bigger
demographic. Where do we fit in to the world as a whole.  Like life,
spending too much  time in a society made up exclusively of peers
distorts our vision and our world view.  Don't prejudge, discover your place,
respect and learn from others, and leave your ego out of it. You'll enjoy
things more.