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Where the f*ck is surf culture heading?

Are you happy with the current direction of surf culture? We've got the answer for your worries here!

Surf culture, once the bastion of rebellion, the epitome of counter-culture, where the lawless spirits found their calling amidst the waves, seems to be at a crossroads. Gone are the raw, unfiltered days of the 90s, when surfing was less about the gloss and more about the grit. Today, we stand at the precipice, peering into the future, wondering, “Where the f*ck is surf culture heading?”

From the Wild West 90’s

Back in the 90s, surf culture was a feral, untamed beast. It was punk rock on water, an escape for those who scoffed at the very idea of a 9-to-5. Surfers were the last cowboys, riding not horses but waves, in a relentless pursuit of freedom. The ocean was their domain, and respect was earned through daring feats and a profound connection with the sea. It was raw, it was real, and it was damn rebellious.

Fast forward to today, and the landscape has shifted dramatically. Surfing, once the underdog’s pastime, has been thrust into the limelight, sanitized and sold back to us as a lifestyle brand. With the advent of wave pools and including surfing in the Olympics, the sport has gained unprecedented exposure. This isn’t necessarily bad; more eyes on the sport mean more opportunity, more diversity, and, theoretically, more innovation. But with this newfound attention comes a dilution of the original spirit, a softening of the edges that made surf culture so alluring in the first place.

To the blander today

The commercialization of surfing has brought with it a wave of contradiction. On one hand, we celebrate the sport’s growth and the doors it opens for aspiring surfers worldwide. On the other, we lament the loss of its soul, the very essence that distinguished surfers as a unique breed. Surf shops now resemble high-end fashion boutiques more than the gritty hubs of community and craftsmanship they once were. Surf videos, once a montage of death-defying rides and behind-the-scenes camaraderie, have given way to polished, sponsor-laden productions that prioritize aesthetics over authenticity.

New Generation

Yet, amidst this sea of change, there’s a glimmer of hope. A new generation of surfers is emerging, one that recognizes the value of its roots while navigating the complexities of modernity. Thank f*ck for these guys! These are the eco-warriors, the activists, the creators who leverage the sport as a platform for positive change. They challenge the status quo, fighting against the environmental degradation that threatens the very waves they cherish. They are a reminder that the rebellious spirit of surf culture is not dead; it’s simply evolving.

90’s inspired art

Where does surfing’s soul lay?

Looking to the future, surf culture is at a tipping point. Will we continue down the path of commercialization, where the soul of surfing is traded for profit? Or will we find a way to honor our roots while embracing the possibilities of the present? The answer lies in balance. We must welcome the advancements that bring our sport to new audiences and new heights, but we must also fiercely protect the essence that made us fall in love with surfing in the first place.

We’re called not just to ride waves but to make them. To challenge the status quo, to stand up for our oceans, stick it to the man, and to keep the spirit of rebellion alive. The future of surf culture depends on our ability to blend respect for the past with optimism. It’s about recognizing that while the glossy sheen of modern surfing might attract more followers, it’s the grit, the passion, and the unwavering love for the ocean that will keep the true essence of surf culture alive.

Malta: a wild and hungry scene 

Locally, we’ve got a different set-up in Malta. This group of surfers is such a mix of different ages, nationalities and beliefs. It’s interesting, it’s raw, and since it’s here surf is less frequent than in other more established surfing locations; we’re stoked with when we can get good sessions in. This factor keeps us wild, it keeps us hungry, which is a nod to the earlier decades of surf culture. Are we the last ones standing in Europe? You gotta love it! That hunger makes us crave surf. The fact that we’re a tiny island means that we try to get along as much as possible, as the chances of random encounters are all too big and we all share the same few spots.

Surfing is a young sport in Malta. We’ve had the pioneers lead the way, but this new generation brings an explosive element to the spot. It’s fun. It’s parties, it’s get-togethers, it’s social and above all the surf quality is increasing too!

Movie night get together by BOMBA

You are surf culture…

So, where the f*ck is surf culture heading? It’s heading wherever we decide to take it. It’s a journey, not just across the waves, but into the depths of our values and beliefs. The future is not written; it’s ridden. And as long as there are those among us willing to paddle out and make a stand, surf culture will continue to evolve, challenge, and inspire. Let’s make sure it’s a ride worth remembering.

In the meantime, free surfing is dragging surf culture forward, but it’s almost like paddling out in massive waves. Messy. Sponsorship deals are costly, and the lifestyle depicted is idyllic, only reserved for a handful. Is it now the time for indi brands and film crews to do their own thing? Go live your moment, you are surf culture now – but for fuck’s sake, make it count and make it fun!

Free surfer

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Are you happy with the current direction of surf culture? We've got the answer for your worries here!