“Is Surfing Hip?” was last week’s History of Surfing chapter, and while people of good faith may disagree, but emphatic reply is NO, surfing is not hip, and hasn’t been since (choose one):
• The Tom Curren ad for Bucci with the giant shark fin
• The Tom Curren ad for Op where Tom’s wearing rolled-up weight-lifting pants
• The 1981 NSSA National Team portrait with everyone, including Curren, in matching sateen tracksuits.
Do I care that surfing is just slightly hipper than Facebook and less hip than men in beards drinking craft beer? A little, yes. Probably more than I want to admit. But nah, not really, not that much. Gerry Lopez (longevity is its own form of hip) once wrote an article about the new-still pro surfing world tour, and if you plug "hipness" where he wrote “contests,” the closing statement reads as follows: "It could be anyone’s guess as to who will be on top this winter. But then again, is hipness an indication of anything? Go surfing.”
In other words: surfing isn’t hip or unhip, it is post-hip.
Here is a long-overdue clip of Mike Doyle, and what a treat it was to spool through all his footage. Doyle was so amazingly talented, and so much the guy you’d want sitting next to you at dinner. A man of towering decency, thoughtful and empathetic, but ready at all times to joke on the sport, on his friends, on himself. Doyle is one of those people who, just by association—just by the fact that he loves the same thing you love—will forever make you feel good about surfing. Here’s a long interview with Doyle from 1969. And here’s one I did a few years back, in which Mike fesses up to a home burglary and makes you like him all the more for it.
Thanks, everyone, and see you next week.
[Doyle photo by Brad Barrett]