Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Surf Like MP

All those weird hulls and single fins you see at the shops: this is how you're supposed to ride them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Grammar of Surfing

Good stormy morning everyone! I had to cancel a lesson today due to an unruly sea. So instead I am wrapping my head around Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations and Stanley Cavell's comments thereof. Every time I pick the book up it makes me think about surfing and how I am always explaining to my students that learning surfing is learning a new language. In Wittgensteinian terms surfing is a language, or surfing has a grammar all of its own. I want to share this quote from Cavell's Excursus on Wittgenstein's Vision of Language with you all because I think it clearly represents what I am up to in the way that I 'initiate' people into the grammar of surfing:

"Instead, then, of saying either that we tell beginners what words mean, or that we teach them what objects are, I will say: We initiate them, into the relevant forms of life held in language and gathered around the objects and persons of our world. For that to be possible, we must make ourselves exemplary and take responsibility for that assumption of authority; and the initiate must be able to follow us, in however rudimentary a way, naturally (look where our finger points, laugh at what we laugh at, comfort what we comfort, notice what we notice, find alike or remarkable or ordinary what we find alike or remarkable or ordinary, feel pain at what we feel pain at, enjoy the weather or the notion we enjoy, make the sounds we make); and he/she must want to follow us (care about our approval, like a smile better than a frown, a croon better than a croak, a pat better than a slap). "Teaching" here would mean something like "showing them what we say and do", and "accepting what they say and do as what we say and do", etc.; and this will be more than we know, or can say."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

2 Week Forecast

Here's Surfline's 14-day LOLA forecast for Long Island. As you can see, Sunday and Monday look the biggest for the Hurricane Leslie swell. Then we have a drop next week on into next weekend. And then it picks back up the following week. Those days when it's reading 1-2 and 3-4 are the best for those of you new to the sport of kings. I surfed yesterday at Rockaway and while it was not anywhere near life-threatening it was still way too much juice and bump for a beginner to handle. Even the whitewater was a bit out of control. That was on a buoy reading of 7ft at 14secs. Also, I've received a few more lesson requests. Just want all to know that scheduling becomes difficult this time of year due to the increase in swell and my graduate student schedule. I am still instructing throughout the fall, but am sticking to weekends, and primarily Saturdays, only. My weekdays are now consumed by writing, reading, prepping for the class I teach, running a student journal, and surfing for myself when the swell is up. This last thing, I am sure you will understand, is very important in the development and nurturing of my own surfing skills and mental stability. I will, however, respond to each of you in turn and will try my best to schedule as many lessons as philosophy and the hurricane season allows.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What Is Wrong With Surfer Magazine's Style Post

Once again surfers say that style is "not doing too much" when the exact opposite is true. Sure it looks like you're not doing too much, but even that is a learned behavior. You're actually doing quite a lot: paddling efficiently to get into waves at the right moment, positioning your hands, looking in the direction you want to head, reading the wave, and feeling out the whole ride. Furthermore, people like Craig Anderson and myself, who have been surfing for most of our lives, have had exemplars we look up to and whom we have imitated in order to achieve effortless-looking surfing. And as Anderson's style shows and proves, one of the key aspects to good style in surfing is an ability to fold in one's back knee. If the back knee cannot or does not drop deeper than the front what you get is a twofold knock against your surfing: less power and a poo stance (because if the back knee doesn't fold then you're bending at the waist and therefore sticking out your bum). Next to back knee foldage, hand placement is also crucial. There are a number of ways to hold one's hands in surfing and how you do will solidify what kind of style you have. Some surfers know for "creepy fingers" are Bruce Irons, Rob Machado, Joel Tudor, Alex Knost, and Ando himself. Gerry Lopez had/has some of the best hand placement in the game. So yeah not looking like you're doing much is key, but so is intentional imitation of past style masters and attention to key physiological truisms.