Nov 19, 2019

Wave Pools Make Me Schizophrenic

Recently I was sitting in a small Portuguese cafe, sipping on another mediocre Galão, when a toddler starts to cry; irritating, but a commonly accepted occurrence of human life (even if my mother does insist that I never cried as a baby). The mother’s response to her child’s wails was not to gather him into her arms and mutter reassuring words, but to slide an iPad into the toddler’s eye line with the hope that the pretty dancing pictures will resolve the trauma. Of course, it worked and he was soon lulled into a hypnotic trance. This got me thinking a bit about nature, technology, and ultimately, fucking wave pools.

It’s in our nature, isn’t it? To disregard what is natural in the name of convenience. Got a headache? A couple of glasses of water and a lie down could do the trick, but why go to all that hassle when you can just as quickly neck a spoon of Calpol, three Paracetamols and sell your soul to the pharmaceutical industry? Now I’m no hippy. I believe in science, medicine, and technology just as much as the next guy, yet, I am consistently pulled towards the true power of the human mind and body, and how we allow this power to manifest. How can we possibly remain in contact with nature, calmly treading water, whilst humanity madly thrashes towards those jagged rocks on the shore?

What better example is there of mankind’s diminishing connection with nature than the wave pool? I read this quote recently from Surfland in Brazil: “People love to surf and, at places like Surfland Brasil, they can stay in their own apartment and enjoy guaranteed waves with their family and friends in a natural and safe environment”. What’s going on? I always had natural down as a challenging trek up Mount Kilimanjaro, not shopping around for some Calvin Klein briefs, followed by an ice-cold elderflower pressé and a quick dip in the manmade wave machine. Ah, maybe I’m just old fashioned.

Think of the convenience, Rich. Perfect waves, nobody dropping in, peeling lefts, glassy rights, barrel sections, steep sections – a surfer’s dream. Are you trying to tell these people that you wouldn’t jump at the opportunity of a one week all-inclusive at the Surf Ranch? Besides, you’d look great in a pair of those tighty whities too.

Surfing taught me a few things: To respect and appreciate nature, to expect the unexpected, to submit to the rhythm of mother earth, and to hate stand-up-paddle boarding. “A place where summer never ends” Is the slogan of choice for one new wave pool set to appear in Virginia Beach in 2020. If a never-ending summer is what you want then great! Let’s continue to spend millions developing mega surfing condos instead of protecting our ailing ecosystem.

Mmmm, kooks in the front, intermediates in the middle, and pros at the back. That’s what i like, a very clearly divided surfing class system. Keep Poo Stance Pete out of my way whilst I tear apart this dreamy wall. You want a bit more size, Rich? No worries, just crank up the size-o-meter a few notches. You’re fully in control.

Shit man, I don’t know. This really gets me up on my soapbox. The only thing is, I’ve got an angel in one ear and the devil in the other. The unpredictability of surfing is what keeps me hooked. I wake up in the morning guessing at how the waves are going to be that day. Sometimes my prayers are answered, sometimes not. A wave pool to me is just the same as handing that screaming child the iPad, convenient, just too easy.

I just checked the surf, there are no waves today… Shit, If only there was a place with perfect waves every day!