The subject of respect in the lineup is what Joseph Krone tackles in this opinion piece, which is his entry into ‘Write to Surf‘ – our surf journo competition with some epic prizes up for grabs (see below for details).
WHEN MIDDLE AGED PEOPLE START SURFING – by Joseph Krone
Respect is there to protect you and others, but more importantly it is a vehicle of love. It opens up a direct unseen pathway for the reciprocation of love.
I would like to bring up the topic of respect because I think it’s something that affects every surfer and every frequented surf spot. Any situation or environment involving the interaction of humans or animals follows an age old code of respecting the hierarchy – the order in which things get done. It could almost be said that this is the fabric or thread that holds civilisation, society and the systems therein together. The issue I am bringing up is the universal concept of respect. How it affects localism and the unspoken rules of our sport, and most importantly, how it affects middle aged people who start surfing.
In the normal course of events in a surfer’s life, he starts surfing at a young age. For me, I was 5, while others start a bit older. As someone who started surfing as a kid, you tend to feel that you have earned your spot in the lineup – which you most probably have since the easiest and best time to cultivate a culture of respect is from an early age (and hopefully the locals at your spot have done a good job of this).
The problem comes in, and I am aware that this applies not just to surfing (the business world and the workplace is one which we all will have direct experience of), yes the problem comes in when a middle aged person starts surfing and frequenting your local surf spot and lo-and-behold they are getting good (though this is not a pre-requisite).
Now, because they are middle aged and have just started surfing this means that they have not gone through the hard knocks that you went through in order to learn – thus teaching you to show respect. This does not mean that they do not know how to show respect (hopefully, although we humans always have issues and all of us to a greater or lesser extent will struggle with the principle of respect), or that they themselves do not deserve respect.
Indeed some of them deserve way more respect than you realise. Some of them have saved lives, some have taken a life. Some are chopper pilots in the military, others are medical doctors. It is for the newcomer to realise that while he may have earned respect on the battlefield, the ocean is a whole different kettle of fish. He needs to humble himself and realise that he may need to take a back seat for a while. That may even be to someone who is younger than him, while he observes and asks questions in a respectful manner.
The local on the other hand also needs to be humble. To realise that the sea is not their own but for all to share. To recognise the position of power they are in and to be responsible with it by influencing his fellow brother and sister in a positive way. The knowledge he has to share, the stories to tell of great swells of years past. The joy of nurturing the youth and watching them flourish. Let us respect such a person and allow them their place in the lineup.
But let us also realise the joy in sharing. That you only keep what you have by giving it away. Let us focus on and realise the joy in letting a bomb slip past and watching a fellow brother or sister enjoy the wave of their life. Let us focus on this joy. Let us strive to make this joy, this healthy stoke that lasts, to make it more of a primary focus – whereby we may enjoy the fleeting stoke of riding a wave.
Views expressed in ‘Write To Surf’ entries don’t necessarily represent those of Zigzag.
Click here to check out all the entries so far >>
Send your stories to email@example.com. One submission will be selected every six weeks to appear in Zigzag magazine. The selected submission will also receive a hamper from Billabong. Zigzag retains the right to use any work submitted for the Zag Surf Journo competition on zigzag.co.za as outlined in the rules and terms of the competition. Zigzag reserves the right not to award a published winner in the magazine every six weeks, depending on the quality of entries. Zigzag is not obligated to run any and all entries submitted, either online or in print. Zigzag retains the right to edit all work submitted for brevity and / or clarity.
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