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Surfing is all about the slide
Them French sorts call the sliding sports like surfing, snowboarding and skating the ‘glisse’ sports.
Which is one of those onomatopoeia words. One that makes the noise of what it represents, the imitation of a sound. It’s the sound of water coming off your rail. Of powder whizzing under your skis.
This is surfing distilled to its essence as it has been since the days of wooden olos and alaia boards. A rider propelled at speed. It’s the same thrill of rollercoasters and jumping off stuff. Dicking about with gravity is fun. Goosing the inner ear balance sensors. Acceleration and speed do good things to our grey matter. It releases the happy juice.
Flying down the line of a fine walled up wave is a thrill. From the first fumbling shoreward tootle in the whitewater where you managed to stand up coherently for more than a second in some semblance of non-windmilling control to stylishly hooning down an overhead wall years down the line with a big grin on your face the rush is the same. It’s what keeps us coming back. The need, the craving, the urge for the glisse.
This is where the ‘sport’ of surfing ain’t a sport. If you’re blazing down a shimmering, Indonesian salty canvas at dawn there’s no sport. It’s pure self expression. Turn. Don’t do a turn. No one’s judging. No one’s scoring. If you want to trim the whole way holding your line through the power without swoops, turns or stunts then you’re surfing as much as the next guy loading and unloading his energy with bottom and top turns.
Just going fast is fun. Soul arching is called that for a reason. As soon as you start judging surfing you remove the fun. And surfing is all about fun. Never forget that.
In this issue we talk to a bunch of folk that appreciate the glide more than most: Britain’s current crop of world-class longboarders. To a man they advocate riding whatever board suits the waves on offer. Be it an old-school log, twinny or hand plane. Getting your glisse on whatever the weather is key.
So dive into this issue, enjoy the wisdom and stunning imagery contained within. Get inspired then go get your sliding fix.