Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The gallery of surfing

In following competitive surfing both at the CT and QS level I have noticed that marketing developement of an individual surfer can and does have an effect on how that person is scored in events. At first I viewed this as an unpleasant fact of life. It did not seem fair. Why should one person who is more heavily sponsored and promoted have an edge over his or her fellow competitor. It seemed unethical. But as I myself spend more time seeking out video parts on the net for surfers who are mentioned in articles and other media that function as cogs in the promotion machine I realized that the situation is a bit more complex than it looks at first gloss.

The judgement of a surf contest can seem quite arbitrary. Each surfer is stringing together moves in an effort to paint a line. At the end of the day it is about the preference of the judge as to what aestetic they think is more valuable. But in all fairness some lines are harder to understand than others.

Take art for example. Abstraction can look ugly at first glance. And personally I believe it is the perrogative of the viewer to dismiss what he or she chooses. But if the onlooker has a bit of education on the subject it may further ones ability to appreciate what at first glance is not immediately apparent.

So when a surfer is being promoted through publicity and the use of video sections yes on the one hand its just plain and simple spot lighting but on the other hand it can help judges enhance there sensibilities, advancing the mechanics of scoring by fostering a more complex understanding of the art they are viewing so to speak.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shifty mind

Riding the subway to work one day I saw a woman who was riding the express 5 train all the way uptown without leaning on or holding something for balance. It reminded of an old teacher I had. It also made me think of the difference between reef break and beach break. In particular the shifty sand bars most of us surf here.

A reef break is a study of experience over time as articulated through a breaking wave. So as different swell directions run through one learns about its behaviour. Where it bowls, what are the lines that can be drawn and this becomes the discipline.

Certain beach breaks seem to be about the absence of discipline. To embrace the spirit of this may hold some potential for drawing more workable lines in unpredictable conditions.

But this gets me thinking of the woman balancing on the subways of New York City. The train must shift in an irregular fashion. And to file the variations of each line at the different traveling speeds of the train would be impossible to index in the mind. But when falling into to a rhythm recognition must kick in.

It might do well in the line up to clear the mind and let memory recognize for itself.