I really should see myself as a traitor, like I’m selling surfing out to the masses and ruining it for the hardcore regulars.
Yeah, not so much.
It’s not like I’m American Express, or Hollister, or Matthew McConaughey. Oh, you didn’t see Surfer, Dude? No? You’re lucky.
I might feel bad if I didn’t put my background as a pro surfer and educator to work in building a curriculum that creates responsible little watermen. Yes, I used the word “curriculum” when talking about a surf camp.
People who want to surf are going to learn, with me or with another program, or on their own. On their own, now there’s a concept. There was no such thing as surf camps or foam logs when I was learning. It took me a year to be able to consistently catch and ride waves, but many of my campers are self-sufficient within a week. Kinda pisses me off.
My surf school, as I’ve indicated, won’t be affected by my experiment this year. I’ll still be at camp every morning this summer to see that the show is running smoothly. Sure, not surfing would be easier if I stayed away from the beach, but nothing easy is worth doing. And it’s boring.
Which brings me to my idea. I was racking my brain to come up with a productive use of my time away from surfing, something that could potentially make a difference. I’m not religious, and I firmly believe in the separation of church and surf, yet I’m driven to use my poverty of waves to help and enrich others. Like Arthur Ashe said, “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.”
Here’s the best I could come up with. There are lots of kids out there who want to surf but cannot afford the cost of camp. Plenty of them live within a few miles of the surf but never experience what the ocean has to offer. This summer, I will personally teach any of them, and I’ll do it for free. That’s right, free surf lessons. If a thousand kids want to surf, great. If no one takes me up on this, I’ll be forced to do something drastic, like water birding.
All I ask is that each student write a letter/email explaining why he or she wants to surf. I promise to resist my teacherly urge to correct their grammar. Or at least try.
I’ll need your help. Spread the word to any people in need of stoke but without the necessary means for a – necessary means for a higher education. Do you really want the water bird pulling up at your local spot?