(Aug. 16, 2019) “Baseball is a game. Football is a sport. Surfing is a disease.” – Annonymous
If you’ve been afflicted, effected, or touched in any way by surfing you probably have some idea what this anonymous quote is referring to. As humorous as it is, there’s a lot of truth to it.
Most people seem to at least have some notion of surfing or at least of riding waves.
Body surfing is probably the purest form of wave riding.
Body boards are another vehicle to ride waves with and are generally ridden in a prone position.
There are even longer body boards that are a sort of hybrid; a prone/stand-up board that has enjoyed recent popularity.
But when the activity of surfing is referred to, it’s generally in the stand-up mode.
Board sports in general seem to stem from surfing and are more or less offshoots as in skateboarding, or sidewalk surfing, and snowboarding, or surfing on the snow.
Granted, each has developed their own identity, progression and evolution, but initially the parallel was surfing and in many cases still is.
Surfing has even entered into our language, our lexicon, as in “surf the internet.” It refers, obviously, to perusing the computer internet for whatever information is desired.
Surfing is scheduled to be in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games next year in Japan. This is sure to increase the awareness of surfing even more, this time on a world stage.
But what of this notion that surfing is like a disease? This idea seems a bit far flung and even pompous in a way.
In my opinion, there are two main reasons.
First, not everyone has reasonably easy access to quality breaking waves. A good surfable wave is a precious natural resource.
A lot of factors have to come together for this resource to occur.
Secondly, even at shorelines where good waves happen, these good waves come and go and are dependent upon the variables of season, winds and even changeable sea bottom contours.
So for a lot of people, the “playing field “ is not easily accessible and even if it is, it’s not always there.
For those that become committed to this game, sport, art, and yes even disease that surfing is, it becomes a never-ending quest.
It’s part of the attraction and part of the frustration all at the same time. It keeps the surfer coming back, again and again, time after time, if only to be aware of what’s going on in an attempt to keep a finger on the pulse.
For many, it has become a life-changing entity, one that has affected every aspect of their lives, even to the point of it being likened to a disease.
– Dave Dalkiewicz is the owner of Ocean Atlantic Surf Shop in Ocean City.