January 21, 2016

Wipeouts are definitely the most underrated, undervalued part of surfing. If you take away the painful and alarming (or perhaps embarrassing) aspect of a wipeout, it’s actually pretty awesome. An onlooker usually thinks Ouuuuch, that’s kind of humiliating but only a true surfer can realize and appreciate a wipeout’s genuine worth. That downfall or dive is simply a reminder of surfing’s challenges and one’s ability to overcome those challenges. You learn from a wipeout; you become conscious of your mistakes and forever avoid those blunders, aware of the agonizing consequences. A wipeout doesn’t define a surfer as unskilled. In fact, it defines a surfer as probably more talented than the surfers who steadily ride every wave. These people aren’t learning. Those who wipeout are willing to push the limit and improve. It’s a rite of passage. Falling sheds light on one’s capability to recover, the most significant aspect of self-improvement. A fall is not a fail.

Wipeouts are rather artistic. They require elegance and grace, particularly on monstrous waves like those on the North Shore. The manner in which one falls in these towering and lethal bodies of water is a life or death situation. A surfer must be strategic. When it comes to the waves that the run-of-the-mill, for-the-love-of-it surfers ride, wipeouts are equally aesthetic. You can be the most gawky and awkward surfer, and somehow your fall can be remarkable when captured in a photo. For the legends of the 70’s, their wipeouts are just as artistic as their photographs of epic rides. The photos of the Lost and Found Collection that portray such wipeouts are genuinely and honestly beautiful. There is a kind of refinement and style in the way these surfers plummet and subsequently recover.

We often equate a crash with nonfulfillment or disaster. But, if you think about it, this comparison is born from societal definitions. Car crash, plane crash, etc. Obviously, these have exceedingly negative connotations. But, a wave crash is different: it’s a surfer’s muse. You either maintain balance or you, yourself, will crash. Wipeouts do have adverse consequences when one reaches Mavericks or Jaws, but the ocean is pretty merciful otherwise. Waves create a rhythmic heartbeat of the Earth, a free-flow of life. So, we should be thankful for wipeouts. We should appreciate the leniency and compassion of the sea and get back on our boards when we fall. After all, only from falling can we get back up again.

We often equate a crash with nonfulfillment or disaster. But, if you think about it, this comparison is born from societal definitions. Car crash, plane crash, etc. Obviously, these have exceedingly negative connotations. But, a wave crash is different: it’s a surfer’s muse. You either maintain balance or you, yourself, will crash. Wipeouts do have adverse consequences when one reaches Mavericks or Jaws, but the ocean is pretty merciful otherwise. Waves create a rhythmic heartbeat of the Earth, a free-flow of life. So, we should be thankful for wipeouts. We should appreciate the leniency and compassion of the sea and get back on our boards when we fall. After all, only from falling can we get back up again.




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