Reflecting Upon the Open

The US Open of Surfing is now over, and what a week it was! Films premiered, waves pumped. Kolohe Andino impressed. Kelly Slater did too. Endless cocktails. Underage girls received their first spray paint tattoos. Love was made and love was lost. It was a week so grand that it has taken a further week to recover.

And now, feeling recovered and sitting in Portland, Oregon, where Peter Pans ride about on bicycles in the throes of perpetual youth, I can astutely assert that surf is it. Surf is the only thing that matters.

I was at the X-Games prior to the Open and it was weird. A motorsport aesthetic has taken over the extreme space, which is fine and good but also weird. X is Temecula. It is Riverside. And surf is no longer invited to that party, which is also fine and good, because surf throws its own.

More people come to Huntington Beach than to downtown Los Angeles. The gatherings are bigger. Everyone is happier. The girls and the boys wear better clothing and have better tans. It is great and it is grand. What a family we are!

Truly, even as the economy falters, surf is on the rise. Gold and surf, through the roof! And what is the cause of this renaissance? I will say, quite simply, surf is better than anything else. The activity itself is better. Sitting out in the ocean underneath a glowing sun, paddling into perfect fun. It is purely enjoyable. It feels like nothing else. A clean bottom turn, an open face, a full speed cutback. Offshore breezes. Sun. It feels like heaven. It is sexy. Surf is sexy.

And in this era of Michelle Bachmann, who doesn't want sexy? Who doesn't want perfect fun?

In the middle of it all Outside Magazine published yet another ham-fisted exposé on Andy Irons but nobody read it because everybody was too busy having a good time at the beach.

Outside is Santa Fe, New Mexico. Worse than either Temecula or Riverside. —Chas Smith