Carve Magazine Issue 190
New issue is in stores this week and available on the app now for you iPad folk. For next time how about letting the postie take the strain and subscribe?!
UNSPOILT BY PROGRESS
You will surely agree that Kelly’s Californian water feature is a marvellous feat of engineering. An excellent example of taking a first world problem and applying a Damonesque “I’m going to have to science the shit out of this” work ethic to its solution.
No one will argue the fact that the Surf Ranch produces the most exceptional human-made wave is without a doubt. We’ve covered the rise of the machines in the pages of the magazine. These contraptions are newsworthy, fascinating and if you get the chance at a slide in a lake fun as hell. But are they the future? Are they the future we want? I couldn’t even bring myself to watch much of WSL Surf Ranch Pro. Witnessing minutes of my life steadily disappear while waiting for the machine to reset was painful. No surveying the horizon for sets, no wonder as to what curveballs nature would throw in the heat. Just painful predictability and repetitive surfing. The words ‘sterile’ and ‘boring’ kept flashing in my mind’s eye in giant neon letters. Surf comps work because they’re a gladiatorial battle. The person vs person dynamic is vital. The dance of randomness provided by an oceanic canvas keeps it interesting. There are no buzzer beaters, paddle battles or sporting drama in the pool. A four-day event is worse than flipping cricket. No sport needs to last four days of repetition, especially with waves literally at the press of a button. Surf comps aren’t fair. The ocean does not care what score anyone needs. It’s this capriciousness that keeps us on our toes. The pool’s only advantage is you can say the comp will start bang on the dot Saturday morning at 8:30. It’s a good time keeper, a level playing field. As long as you don’t need a scoring left. It doesn’t satisfy the building performance level of snowboard and skate jam style comps where the excitement is palpable either. Non-snowboarders get the halfpipe comp in the Olympics. It’s fast, frenetic and exciting. Not like watching paint dry. The WSL doesn’t need to make surfing more popular. It needs to excite the folks that do it already. Of course, surfing competition means not a jot to most of you. The bulk of you won’t have ever competed or have the slightest interest in it. I’ll wager a lot of you don’t even watch the world tour either, which is fine. We surf because it enriches our souls. It’s fun. Being out in the sea is beneficial for you in so many ways. The pools won’t ever replace the ocean. One day we might look back on this era as an expensive cul-de-sac in surfing’s rich history, the possible fork in the timeline when pro surfing competitions jumped the shark into irrelevance. The waves will keep on coming without mechanical assistance in the salty realm. We will continue to seek solace and spiritual connection to the good earth in their briny embrace. When they can reproduce Cloudbreak in a tank maybe then I’ll change my mind.