Blowing up the Dam

You first see it on a webcast. Doesn’t matter what “it” is. Could be anything: a surfboard without a stringer, a new wave on tour, soccer-style theatrics in contests. Hmm, that’s interesting, you think. But it’s 1 A.M. and you’re awake because you want to see the no-loser round with Gabs, John and Kolohe. You watch the heat (oh, the competitive tension!) and then you sleep easy because your favorite surfer went straight to the quarters. You forget about whatever “it” was because, really, how often do these things actually stick? But then a month later you hear a friend talk about it. Then you see it on Instagram, on a blog, and so on and so forth until you remember that in 1980 “it” was the thruster, and maybe this thing is real.
The issue you hold in your hands is all about “it.” About everything that starts small and ends up being as much a part of your world as wax and “dude.” A lot of shit’s gone down in the past six months. Contests, world champs, hurricanes, fights, sponsor changes, technological advances, near-death experiences, movie projects and trends that can no longer be ignored. All of it has been steadily filling the surfing reservoir, threatening to spill over the dam and inundate us with it all. So this month we had a few beers, went up to the dam, strapped it with dynamite and lit a fuse. 3…2…1…BOOM. And the collective surf world spilled onto these pages. What a beautiful f--king mess. Is this really our job? We sifted through the bad, the good and the great. We clipped the bad and then looked long and hard at the good and the great. There was still so much. We stayed late. We lobbied. Can we print that? We drank a little and slept on couches. We argued. We hugged and made up and then we went surfing. We came back and looked again at the good and the great. Then we cut the good. Good’s for the Internet. The great is what remains. —Taylor Paul

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