Posted by: martinworster | July 10, 2006

18. SURF OC

Heart of the global surfing industry – right here 

The surfing industry is a multi-billion dollar global industry and I am living right in the epicentre of it. All of the major brands have their HQs here; Quicksilver, Hurley, Volcom, Billabong, ONeil etc are all based here. Okay maybe the goods are made in Asian sweat shots but the decisions being made as to where they are made are made here. If that made any sense.

Walking down Main Street Huntington Beach it’s not hard to be intoxicated by the whole surfer lifestyle. I’ve been trying to buy into it for years with attempts to look the part without actually getting wet. The shop windows feature six foot posters with these aquatic athlete conquering 25 foot waves against an azure Tropical backdrop. Next to this will be a square jawed headshot as the bronzed surfer looks mysteriously into the horizon, searching for that ephemeral perfect wave. With a prominent Billabong logo to the bottom right. It’s like a drug, the perfect wave can always be outdone by an even more perfect, bigger wave around the corner. Surfing is freedom and this is perfect marketing ammo for the big brands.

Like the millions of other muppets around the globe I bought into the image. This is easier, and judging from my last accident, safer. Surfing is actually really difficult. Unless you’re lucky enough to live near a good stretch of coast it’s also very exclusive and dependent on the weather. You can play out your dreams in grey, muddy North Sea puddles in an attempt to emulate your heroes conquering giants off the edge of a remote Pacific Atoll. It’s like rock music as the big stars live their dreams on the world stage. But every Jack White, there’s thousands of unknowns who play out their dreams in smoky backrooms of non-descript pubs and clubs.

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