We live in a world of instant gratification, and at times, it seems like convenience outweighs everything.
Lonely? Open Bumble and start swiping right.
And that's OK. The world is changing and all we can do is embrace it. But in this issue, we're celebrating something more. The hard yards. Inconvenience. The path of most resistance.
In early October, photographer Jimmy "Jimmicane" Wilson, my longtime friend and SURFING's Photo Editor, saw Hurricane Matthew spin to life in the eastern Atlantic. He spent the next few days refreshing weather charts and studying NOAA's tropical updates, following a loose tip he'd received from a stranger in Florida nearly 15 years ago. When he eventually discerned it was worth the risk, Jimmy pulled the trigger on flights to an obscure Caribbean island and brought Dylan Graves and Dillon Perillo along with him. On his way out of the office we wished Jimmy luck, but honestly, we expected the worst. Hurricanes are a bitch to forecast, and as far as we could tell no professional surfer had ever followed a storm to this particular island. A skunk seemed likely.
Twenty-four hours after he left California I got a text from Jimmy. Attached was a photo he took off the back of his camera of a rifling 8-foot left that looked a lot like Nokandui in Indonesia, and like nothing anything I'd ever seen in the Caribbean. "Flat at 4 p.m. 8-feet on dark," he said. "Craziest thing ever." Turned out, however, that the conditions came together for only a few minutes before the sun went down and by morning the winds had wreaked havoc. A decade of a research for a fleeting glimpse. And if you ask him, he'll tell you it was worth it.
When SURFING posted a different photo of the same wave, Jimmy's phone lit up with texts from friends freaking out. They had to know where he was. (Like, now.)
Jimmy ignored them all.
"What's the point?" He told me when he got back home. "I spent more than a decade waiting for that swell to happen, and there's no reason to just give all of that research and information away."
Jimmy's isn't the only hard work represented in this issue. We spoke with John Florence 24 hours after his maiden world title, an accomplishment he's been dreaming about and working toward since he first set foot on a surfboard twenty years ago. We went to J-Bay with Jordy Smith, and interviewed him about where he came from, where he's going and how much work he's putting forth to get there. And we sat down with Ian Walsh in Seattle, Washington, where he spent months in post-production of his big-screen biopic, Distance Between Dreams, to chat about a movie that's nearly two years in the making.
Jimmy, John, Jordy and Ian have all accomplished -- or are on the verge of accomplishing -- something they've worked endless hours for. It wasn't easy. It didn't come by a fluke or a click or a swipe. And sure, convenience is a welcome part of our lives and there's nothing wrong with it, but it will never be as gratifying as putting in the hard work it takes to achieve a meaningful goal.
Even if it's just on Bumble.