Nothing is new, nothing is undiscovered
December 17 2007 | Jim's Blog,
This is a shirt for a surfbreak in San Diego.
It is a shirt for a break that isn't a stop on the pro tour.
It is a shirt for a break that isn't even what I'd consider a top three break in San Diego.
My point is that this is a shirt for a second-tier or third-tier break if ranked by popularity or media coverage... and yet you can get a shirt dedicated to it. Now, the kicker... this isn't put out by any major surf retail company. It's put out by a small ecommerce-only venture called Tacit. This isn't some one of one, DIY deal... this is a company (seemingly) dedicated to selling Ts based on... local surf breaks.
I'm not going to pass judgment on whether this is good, bad or indifferent (beyond the fact that a) they have a clean design sense b) they are highlighting breaks considered "local" and c) I wish they were using all organic cotton).
My point in blogging on this is the simple point that nothing is new, nothing is undiscovered.
I remember numerous conversations I've had with friends like Chris Ahrens about how different the world is now versus in the seventies. Yes. It's massively different. The difference have been written about ad nauseum... and yet we all still find ourselves pausing when we come across things like this because, I think, we can't believe the level of local specificity things can get to. We can't get our brains around massive customization , crowdsourcing and... our "local" spot having it's own Tshirt available online.
Lots of times I surf a break I call "Ramps". It's south of Swamis and north of Traps. Truth is that it's not that great of a break, it's no Swamis... and yet, even with the gob of people there most of the time, it feels "local". Truth is that it is not a local spot, it's not hidden away. North Garbage isn't local. Peahi isn't even local. Etc. (Sure, there may be local-related aspects to these... but these are spots that are known around the world and virtually anyone can check the conditions on these from a browser... oh, you can also get a shirt to suggest you're a local there).
My hope is that once we get past the above fact, that our little secret spot isn't really "ours" and it's also not "secret" we can transition towards a new way of looking at things. My hope is that we can get to a way where we truly understand we need to care for surf breaks all over the world, that if one break is lost then it's a loss for all of us and all that follow us. Or if a wave is saved or protected, we all gain. A way that mirrors applications like Kiva where people work together for betterment of niche areas/interests.
Yes, the toothpaste is out of the tube, the world is flat, (insert your own pithy statement regarding the world in early 2008)... that's a given.
The question in my mind is what are you (and me) going to do about it?
Check this network out. The people involved in Surfrider across the globe are amazing. They are bankers, bakers and candlestick makers... 'er surfboard shapers. Their demographics are irrelevant, they share one thing in common... our mission resonates with them.
You already know the most amazing thing in your local neighborhood. You have a name for your local break. There may even be a Tshirt for it... so what? What are you going to do beyond get huge amounts of joy from it?
Love it. Surf it. Protect it.