The world of surfing is moving forward at an alarming rate, and every now and again it is important to take some time out, to reconsider what it is all about, and what makes us stoked.
In essence, surfing is all about a person, a surfboard and a wave. In among those three variables there is already an infinite amount of computations that will make each and every act of riding a wave unique. People are unique, surfboards are very much distinctive, and each and every wave that breaks on the shoreline is matchless. We as surfers are some of the most fortunate humans on the planet to be part of this thing called surfing, one of the most crazy but inimitable activities on the planet.
We are a small tribe, relatively speaking, and we have our own language, our own culture, our very unique outlook on life and very own and very different individual and collective disposition that is governed by the movements of the ocean. It is pretty wild when you think about it. We call it a sport, and at a stretch we call it a lifestyle. But maybe it is even more than that?
For now however, the sport of surfing is going through some massive and fundamental changes. It is expanding in a myriad of different directions, and it is getting totally absorbed into the many different tech inventions and directions that are happening all over the world. Let’s examine a few.
The GoPro was one of the biggest game-changers in the sport of surfing and actually in the whole actions sports genre. To be able to capture yourself in the act of riding waves, snow, mountains and half-pipes from your own point of view opened up a world of new and fresh imagery to media, as well as to newbies. For those who had never been barreled before or ridden off-piste down a bank of the freshest powder, the GoPro opened up a new world of wonder, and sucked many people into the sports that they were curious about. Nowadays you can get your GoPro to track you surfing, and use your Apple Watch as the GPS tracker to make sure that it doesn't miss a single one of your waves. Incredible technology, but there go the jobs of the videographers and possibly the land-based surf photographers.
Talking of your watches, you can now talk to your friends or best mates while surfing, through your sim-activated Apple watches. This has massive repercussions, as your coach could tell you about an approaching set in a heat, or you could get a call about that compensation claim that's waiting for you for that accident you never had, which could easily distract and you and send you over-the-falls or worse. Some times technology isn’t always going to serve and help you.
The wave pools under construction and in the process of being opened have been dominating surf media for a while now. The wave pools elicit such a varied response from different people from different backgrounds and surfing sectors that it is hard to filter through it all. Purists hate it, but they are in the minority and will eventually become extinct. The groms and the beginner surfers absolutely love it, and the landlocked surfers who find themselves serendipitously near a wave-pool new-build are ecstatic. More waves are being ridden, more surfers are stoked, and possibly in a roundabout way, some pressure is being taken away from our very crowded resources – the ocean – by extracting a segment and getting them to surf inland.
The Wave in Bristol is open and doing a wonderful job of getting people up and riding https://www.thewave.com/ and for that we should all be stoked. There is also the wave-pool in Snowdonia, and that looks great as well and has already held a surf event - https://adventureparcsnowdonia.com/
Scotland is not going to be left out. Their wave-pool is coming soon, and it might be a very real alternative through the darkest throes of the Scottish winter https://www.wavegarden.scot/
The amount of new tech coming out right now is mindboggling, but don't forget that without a surfer, a surfboard and a wave, the sport doesn't exist. Everything else is superfluous.