Surfing,Media, and the Internet
Surfing is a passion. It is a culture, a life, a disease. With the help of movies such as Endless Summer, Gidget and Beach Party, and tunes like “Surfin’ Safari” and “Surfer Girl,” surfing became the fad of the early sixties, and has lasted. Being exposed to the Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon Beach Party movies brought surfing to my immediate attention. I love their cheesy plots and musical numbers, and of course, their portrayal of the surfing lifestyle. After watching Beach Blanket Bingo, I was hooked. Unfortunately, I live hours from a beach, and further from one with decent waves. So my time thus far has been spent discovering my passion through the media.
As it is not as popular as say, football or basketball, surfing is not often televised, and never as a competition sport. A few shows, such as California Dreams and The Real World: Hawaii have attempted to capture the lifestyle of the young surfer. When they were still televised, I watched them both religiously. California Dreams was a laid back version of Saved by the Bell, and was from the late 1980s. Surfing was hardly covered though, and usually it would be shown as two guys walking into a restaurant with surfboards in their arms. The Real World: Hawaii also disappointed, with the main purpose of the show being the cast, “seven strangers picked to live in a house ...” and not the sport which is such a part of Hawaiian culture. They did, however, work for a surf shop in Honolulu, and were thus connected to surfing without actually being in the waves. Bummer. Out of the handful of movies, which have been made about surfing, most of the more popular ones date back to the sixties. Endless Summer, Beach Party, and Gidget were a few of the most popular, with almost constant footage of the surfer in action. Today, almost the only way to find a selection of surfing movies is to find a surf magazine and wade through the ads in the back. Since these movies are not screened nationally, and not available for rental, they couldn’t possibly live up to Endless Summer.
Today, surfing’s main media venues are the print magazine and the internet. Surfers like Kahea Hart are using web sites as resumes, and even recording videos of them surfing for others to watch via the internet. This is really an incredible thing, especially for people like me, who live hours from a beach. I have recently gained a good deal of interest in surfing, facilitated by some outstanding and some not so great web sites. I searched the bookstore, but only found one book on surfing, and it had more to do with history than popular culture. I rented Endless Summer II, and I and I began craving more. Other than the few print magazines I bought, I could only satisfy my hunger for surfing literature, pictures, music, clothes on the mighty web. There was a lot of junk to sort through, and only a few truly decent publications, mainly Quiksilver’s...