Some people are better surfers than others, and therefore believe they are for some reason entitled to a greater share of waves. This is a spurious notion. Since they can better read the waves and keep themselves in the correct position for riding them, they tend to charge on every arriving peak, regardless of how many waves they've already ridden and how long every other salty soul has been waiting. Plus, they tend to drag themselves past the other people inching toward the peak and put themselves at the front (this is called snaking) instead of displaying a modicum of self-respect and putting themselves at the back, there to wait their turn. Without honor, without patience, without generosity, the act of surfing degenerates into an ego-boosting pissing contest that frequently ends in vocal or physical violence, externalized aggression, and general sadness (for everyone but the snake). Outside of an official competition, there is no justification for stealing others' sea-time by jumping to the front of a line of surfers, every time. Just as today's consumption-oriented capitalistic system encourages the individual to grab as much shit as he can without regard for and often at the expense of the rights and desires of the people around him, consumption-oriented surfing – that is, paddling out just to shred as many waves as possible in the shortest amount of time without giving a floating fuck about the others guys out there too – taints the majesty of the shared experience called surfing, reducing it to something akin to masturbating in public.
There are few conditions as pitiable as greed, few traits as undesirable as blind self service. Without a healthy respect for community and the notion that we're all in this together and none of us is getting out of here alive, a person tends to get wrapped up in what is going on inside his head-space, believe what his ego is telling him, and lose his connection to the less tangible things in life – honor, giving, sharing, and joy. The sea is always a dangerous place, rain or shine, and a person knocked unconscious has but a few score seconds to live. Here, in Bali, there are not many lifeguards; a surfer must rely on the other people bobbing in the brine to save his ass if things turn south. Hence, it helps to make and keep as many friends as possible out there, to display poise and self restraint, and to conduct oneself in a manner respectful of everyone else's time and right to exist. For many people, happiness means the absence of suffering; if everyone were to follow a few simple surfing rules (wait your turn, keep hold of your board, don't snake, don't paddle into a breaking face if others are trying to jump on it), the beautiful justice of anarchy could truly work, at least out at sea, everyone going home having happily ridden a few. In one model of the Universe, the person who gives the most receives the most; give way, give thanks, and receive the ultimate gift – love.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥