Eden Saul is the entrepreneurial owner of Dead Kooks surfboards, a celebrated log rider, lifeguard and representative of a new breed of surfer who is instrumental in changing the way we view surfing. The Papa caught up with Eden at the Fish Fry and posed the question as to why the professional surf body, propped up by the Saltwater Reichstag, had not yet adopted or embraced the many alternative surf sleds into its competitive arena. His off the record views mirrored what the Papa had suspected all along, "an ostrich mentality founded on commercialism and the perpetuation of profits had undermined the progression of the art".
The Thruster, long-time time choice of the profession's elite serves its master well. It homogenises the competitive circuit, creating comfort and familiarity and lashes thousands of aspiring young surfers to the wheel of conformity which in turn can be controlled by those at the top of the ziggurat. For the Pro Circuit judge, it places all competitors inside the box so that scores can be formalised and the expressions of individualism suppressed.
Thankfully however there is an alternative. Innovation in surfing is now the domain of the backyard shaper, the garage visionary who is re-thinking what can be achieved by different shapes and construction techniques, and so the Papa says, celebrate the different and embrace the new, challenge constantly and encourage the odd, in odd we should trust! As a postscript to this dialogue my son who was listening to this conversation, added as we walked away, "Y'know Dad it sounds a lot like Jay Adams at Del Mar", and in that one sentence he had summed up the entire affair. Jay turned up to the competition circuit from his backyard (Dogtown) and processed to destroy every convention the judging system had, the commentator couldn't even describe what was taking place, in that one moment things were never the same. We need more Jay Adams's, more Alva's, more Nat Young's and more Bob Simmons's and what's more when they come along we need to embrace what we see and dance gladly to the new piper.
This forum is an opportunity for me to shoot shit on my favourite topics, namely surfing, board design, WWII military stuff, beachcombing and grass shack living and lets not forget vintage clothing and lots of other off beat and interesting stuff.
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