Understanding The Culture Of Surfing

People are introduced to surfing in different ways. Some stumble into it nearly by accident, falling in love with the sport after their first experience. Others pursue it as a way of living, eschewing the typical stresses of life in favor of a more spiritual existence. Still others are attracted to the aggressiveness of competing with others. No matter how surfers find the sport, it becomes an almost-addictive hobby into which they immerse themselves. Below, we'll discuss the culture of surfing. We'll explore the ways in which surfing has transcended being a weekend activity into a way of life.

Recreation Vs. Spirituality

A lot of people surf for recreation. It's something they look forward to on the weekends when they're unshackled from their day jobs. For them, surfing is a way of leaving behind - even for a few hours - the stresses of their daily routine. For others, surfing means much more. They feel a connection with the waves. They experience a level of spirituality by communing with the raw force of nature. Riding the waves brings them a joy and contentedness they're unable to achieve elsewhere. For some, surfing is as close to religion as they're likely to experience.

Sport Vs. Lifestyle

Some surfers are drawn to the sport by competition and monetary gain. By competing with other surfers, they can attract the attention of corporate sponsors. The top-ranked surfers in the world can often command prize winnings that dwarf those of other sports. This rankles many surfers for whom surfing is a lifestyle. They oppose surfing as a sport driven by money. For them, surfing is a way of living in harmony with nature. They enjoy the sport for its purity and gravitate toward a philosophy born from the rhythmic waves.

Films, Television And Music

Surfing has penetrated popular culture by having a strong presence in films, TV shows and even music. Movies such as "The Endless Summer" depict a lifestyle of searching the globe for waves to ride. Television shows like "Baywatch" and "Hawaii Five-0" injected the sport into the mainstream consciousness. Surfing music became popular as bands like "The Beach Boys" and "The Surfaris" began to attract millions of fans. By appearing in movies, TV shows and popular music, contemporary surfing culture spread quickly throughout the 1950's and 1960's.

Surfing Fashion

Surfers have adopted a manner of dress that reflects their easygoing perspective. Predictably, many apparel companies have risen to meet the demand. Providing casual boardshorts, wetsuits and other accessories, Billabong, Quicksilver and Rip Curl became household brand names. They catered to surfers' desire for loose fitting clothing that emphasized comfort and flexibility. T-shirts, boardshorts and sandals became a popular fashion amongst surfers largely because they could be shed quickly in pursuit of a great wave.

The Elements Of Surfing Culture

Rarely has any sport penetrated so deeply into as many facets of our culture as surfing. By appearing in popular entertainment, it has slowly drawn millions of people into its fold. It has become a popular sporting event that attracts deep-pocketed sponsors. Surfing drives a billion-dollar clothing industry as both enthusiasts and new surfers adopt a casual style of dress. Some find religion in the waves. Others find recreation. Above it all, surfing culture appeals to our instinctive longing for a lifestyle based upon finding a connection with nature.