December 8, 2022


This is a guest post by a good friend of mine who has been involved in various extreme sports for many years, and now lives in Bali, where, among other things and hobbies, he is engaged in surfing. The main thing I want to say about him is that he is a truly and deeply thinking person. Looking at surfing from the inside, I completely agree with his theses, as well as with the conclusion.

So, his word is:

To be able to see the dark side of even the most positive phenomenon means to be able not to fall into the trap of illusions.

We are all well aware that a medal has at least two sides (if you do not take into account the edge), and a stick has at least two ends, although these points do not at all determine it as a useful tool for a person.

In fact, thoughtful people are able to see many more points of contact between objects or phenomena and reality. In general, there are an infinite number of these points, but in this article I will consider only one, but the opposite of the generally accepted opinion that surfing is wonderful and extremely useful from all sides.

I’ll start with the fact that almost everything in the modern world is ruled by the “invisible hand of the market” and its main tool – marketing, mercilessly smashing the enchanted or gaping consumer. In this game, everything that makes a profit is good, everything that absorbs it is not very good, but you can’t do without it either.

So surfing, the progenitor of all “board” sports, surprisingly one of the last to finally jump into the accelerating wagon of popularity among its younger relatives, did not escape the fate of being covered with gilding, behind which the original meaning of the action slightly fades. We ride because it’s cool and cool, because we ride, and who distributes and how to pay is not so important, life is on credit and that’s all.

The rainbow halo that surrounded surfing with endless advertising completely illuminated the negative aspects that you can only see by diving headlong into this culture and lifestyle. And when faced with them face to face, most often you are unpleasantly shocked and left with a painful feeling that you were treacherously deceived.


Firstly, surfing is one of the most selfish sports, cultivating and inflating the human ego to the maximum limits available to a particular individual. Yes, there are priority rules, in competitions they are regulated by judges who punish by deduction of points and disqualification, and this, of course, disciplines athletes.

But in ordinary life, these rules, alas, operate nominally. Most often, as in the animal world, whoever is stronger is right. In the case of surfing, it is not so much about physical strength, but about skill, experience and arrogance.

As a friend known for his merits in Russian surfing told me: “When I swim out to the lineup, I often forget that there are people around, I see only waves and brag about almost every one, as if it were the last one …”. It can be assumed that people who do not do well on land are the ones who sin the most: complexes from childhood, current troubles, “size matters” and other “dignities” that need to be compensated in order to raise self-esteem.

However, even more or less healthy adequate people do not always pass the test with water pipes, and, reaching a certain level of skill, they begin to spit on the needs of others, especially recruits. Hiding spots, localism, the Cold War for priority in the line-up and the wave on acceleration, eternal drops, intemperance, and sometimes open aggression towards not only strangers, but sometimes even close friends – this is not a complete list of our troubles.

On the lineup, in the process of skating, the worst human qualities often appear: every man for himself, whoever got up first and slippers, my wave is my rules, if I want, I will move or land on my head. But to the credit of surfers, those who drown or are carried away by the canal are usually rescued, thank the foam!


Secondly, during surfing, the load on the muscles and joints is unevenly distributed. Unlike classes in the gym or functional training, where we try to balance the system of exercises and loads, in the ocean, on the board, our torso is forced to obey and adapt to the laws of maximum possible acceleration, reducing friction and finding balance in an unnatural position relative to ordinary life.

From here all sorts of distortions, clamps, microtraumas appear, and as a result, discomfort, pain, anger, and this is almost a return to the first problem higher in the text. Also, depending on the climatic conditions you surf in (hehe), you regularly either overheat in the sun, or at least get long-term harmful effects of sunlight (hello skin cancer), or hypothermia despite greasy wetsuits that only save partially. The harm from such effects on the body can be reduced by special exercises before and after surfing, massages, creams, high-quality uniforms and a reasonable number of hours spent in the ocean, but alas, it will not be possible to completely avoid these problems anyway.


And all this obscurantism is completed by a fairly standard disease of most athletes, which is called “brain surfing”. At the critical stage of its manifestation, the interests of the surfer are reduced almost exclusively to skating, and the breadth of the perception of the world turns into the depth of perception of the object and its paraphernalia. The fact is that after a wheelchair, especially a successful one, there is often a feeling that on this particular day, you have already done something important in your life.

And this strange feeling, absolutely not justified at the level of common sense (physiologists can probably explain), allows you to relax and not to “flop” much more on this day, especially when the basic human needs for food and a roof over your head are already more or less satisfied . Even the instinct of reproduction can fade into the background, the situation is reminiscent of drug addiction.

While one of the main functions of a healthy and thinking person of the 21st century is to contribute to the development of mankind (scientific, creative, providing) or at least be useful to his neighbor, a surfer can lie down on the sofa after a wheelchair, watch videos, play a console, hang out with your own kind, endlessly discussing the same surfing in the same phrases, go skateboarding, even if he is over 30, and most importantly, all this with a full sense of accomplishment and self-importance, as if the surfer is the savior of the world only by one definition. It is important to sensibly assess the situation around, remember that if there is no development, degradation takes its place, and this is the law of nature.


All this, of course, is only the main problems lying on the surface, so to speak, the skeleton of the patient. Everything else, in my opinion, is not so significant and is most often the result of the voiced ailments.

Good news

But! Let’s not forget that everything in life has its price, and for radical pleasures – at an inflated rate, besides, the trick with a coin is beautiful because it can be done an infinite number of times, the main thing is not to forget to turn it over. Surfing has the same, almost endless, number of analogies and parallels with life that you can imagine.

Its uniqueness as a sport lies in the fact that in it one can see a reflection (psychological picture) of not only a specific character, his relationship with the elements, but also the social realities of the human community at the moment. And there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this. Unlike most sports activities, where a person deals with a static surface, in the case of surfing, we move on a substance that is slipping from under our feet, and success lies in finding the optimal ratio of our own actions and the reality that changes around us. Doesn’t it remind you of anything?

Of course, surfing is beautiful and thoughtful, and each of us was convinced of this more than once by our own example or as an observer. And if you approach the issue with a cold mind and an open heart, clearly understand the goals and objectives, respect your fellow tribesmen, set priorities correctly and take care of yourself first of all, then everything will turn out not so sad, but even quite harmonious. Flip more coins!

Aloha, have fun and brains for everyone!