Feature

The Archivist: The Aquatic Ape

On surf contests, consumerism, and global destruction, from TSJ 12.1.

Editorially, there was never a finer feather to shove in one’s cap than an original piece from Miki Dora. The reader appeal was instantaneous. Dora’s mojo crossed generational lines, and even the most blasé, casehardened surf geek raced to the opening spread when such a rara avis found its way to print.

 Ape wasn’t the first time that Dora waxed on the concept of “the ultimate surf contest,” but by 2003, when we published this piece, he’d faired out the bumps and trimmed the dags. Even now—when nerds, trolls, and failed jocks relentlessly hash out the best way to fix the World Surfing League in website comments sections—Dora’s proposal stands resolute, all but inarguable.

The grace note, to my mind, was his suggested grand prize for victory. Not a pearl white Tesla, not a six-figure purse, not a greased-up three nights in the boîtes of Montevideo…no, Dora merely offered the world’s fastest surfer “the esteem of the day.” —Scott Hulet


The Polynesian civilization lived in relative happiness for 2,000 years before the encroachment of Christianity and the values of the white Europeans. They lived a biodynamic life without the pitfalls of welfare, food stamps, pensions, paper money, plastic, or chemicals.

Even the most casual observer must admit the modern world is now coming to a crashing end. What will reemerge is still a mystery. A new, better world? I doubt it. Another Dark Age is more likely. Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or a politician.

Humanity is quickly breeding itself into a corner. Society could revert to the sort of conditions that prevailed in the Dark Ages with fundamentalist religions and local despots playing the greater role in human affairs.

The population bomb exists and it is ticking down toward a critical mass.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that nearly every modern surfer has nearly no knowledge of the history of the Hawaiian culture or anything else, and cares less, sad to say.

Fabricated surfing has degenerated into such a mockery of hypocrisy that it is almost impossible to recognize anything of merit. Now only the misled and misinformed determine social ostentation. The meridian that makes surfing stand alone from anything else on earth must be preserved, no matter how minute.

I wonder what the ancient Hawaiians would think of today’s world. This once prodigious, noble, Hawaiian enlightenment with its virtues, loyalty, and irrecoverable surfing skills, has in the end availed them nothing.

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The Hypothesis for Copyright of the Environmental Biodynamic Brainchild

This experience demands proficiency forthwith: the inventive skills and capabilities of the cerebrum and an individual’s fortitude.

Individual ingenuity is the solution to this enterprise. Non-sectarian, non-racial, non-sexist, open to the entire planet—if they dare try. When scrutinizing the significance of this non-compromising event, the ramifications are awe-inspiring.

Firstly, this engagement will take place at Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa, which is considered one of the fastest waves in the world. I will have total control over the menu and my decision will be final on all matters. I will make all decisions regarding time, place, wave size, conditions, etcetera.

Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or a politician.

There will be no counter-productive judges (whatsoever). The purpose of aim will be to get from point A to B. In other words, the one individual, like a bat out of hell, who at top speed covers the longest distance, wins the esteem of the day.

You may say it is interesting, but so what, what’s the big deal? Be patient, there’s more; read on, it gets better.

All serious devotees who plan to launch into this engagement must place a Reliability Bond of $200 to prove competence, good faith, and to help verify that they’re not biting off more than they can chew.

This bond is refundable after the conclusion of the exercise, that’s if the entrant engages throughout the whole test and actually rides a wave more than 200 yards. All entry monies will be matched by myself and used for the aesthetic beautification of the area chosen by replanting indigenous vegetation including planting trees in probable ground-soil erosion areas.

Equipment: Restrictions adherent to the apparatus used must be meticulously supported or disqualification will occur. All applicants must construct completely their own equipment from start to finish, taking written notations on the entire procedure. Also, video of the important steps in the production are required as a reference for authentication.

All equipment must be ozone friendly and biodegradable. Absolutely no petrochemical products may be used in any of the construction. No fluorocarbons or other harmful chemical processes. Nothing that might affect the physical condition and growth and development of natural organisms.

The ingenuity of the builder is paramount in this venture. Obviously, there are hundreds of possibilities and raw materials available, some thought of and some not. Just to bring to mind a scant few: balsa, the century plant family, veneers, natural glues, tree resins, pitch, tars, fibers, gum, rubber, fabrics, cloths, natural varnishes, wood dowels, chambering, rib construction, non-toxic gas injection, the hemp plant—it’s endless. If surfers can be pried away from the one-eyed brain sucker, they can do it!

The only restriction on board design is that the maximum length cannot exceed 9'6". The tail must square off at 10".

Single fin only.

No logos on the board, whatsoever. No endorsements. No artificial devices to help keep the rider from slipping. Wax only. No colors. A clean stick is essential. Otherwise, anything goes, anything is possible.

Remember, this is a down-the-line speed test and going for distance. Design is essential…

Incidentally, only natural fibers can be worn—cotton or wool. No labels can be visible, no wetsuits, boots, gloves, etcetera.

And to keep everybody honest and upright, no leg ropes.

All subsidies, aid, support, patronage, endowments, donations, or sponsorships must be privately obtained with written proof.

If any government monies are involved in any way—whether local, state, or federal—automatic disqualification. Otherwise, I don’t give a damn how you raise the money. Rob a bank for all I care.

No substance testing! Anything goes.

Like I stated before, no judges! There will only be a few official referee-estimators. Similar to a broad jump. Flagging the sand at the end of the ride. The furthest flag down-the-line wins the day. Clear cut, no disputes, one victor.

The entire progression will methodically take place on a minimum size of 8'.

There will be no tents, food stalls, rock music, T-shirts, judging stands, bullhorns, fat hanger’s on, groupies, pretenders, or any other commercial rip-offs.

All equipment must be ozone friendly and biodegradable. Absolutely no petrochemical products may be used in any of the construction. The ingenuity of the builder is paramount in this venture.

Every entrant is entirely responsible for his own entity. The prize monies will be more than satisfactory to make up for any adversities. Self-reliance is the key to good fortune and conquest.

Obviously, this encounter is not for the two-bit pretender who won some Mickey Mouse one-foot, blown-out contest and struts around like a peahen, calling himself World Champion and all the fools believe him.

Oxbow spent $300,000 on an indescribable spectacle, a World Longboard contest; the only thing that was lacking, clearly the most essential ingredient, didn’t make an appearance: the waves, of course! That doesn’t seem to matter anymore. The best poser wins. It was just another exercise in futility.

If you have trouble understanding the Oxbow scenario like myself, it’s as clear as mud.

Let’s move ahead and examine some self-evident truths.

It is certainly true that too many humans have taken too many resources over too many years and left in their wake too much waste. Anyone willing to look can hardly help but notice the changes that are taking place.

To be specific, if current logging practices aren’t changed, the big trees will vanish forever. It takes a hundred years to grow a big tree. At the current rate of logging, the world’s forests will be cut down by the year 2015.

Many of the plants and animals in the ecosystem will not survive in the future. The environment is undergoing unprecedented change. Years of overplanting, over-fertilizing, and the non-rotation of crops have resulted in the devastating destruction of topsoil.

Farmers have lost their heart through land erosion, water shortages, and chemical overload. Worldwide, about 25 billion tons of soil is being washed away into rivers and oceans each year, and because of persisting poverty in the Third World and the craven need for even more food, the destruction of the world’s soil is likely to continue unabated. Erosion by modern farm practices over the century has destroyed an estimated five billion acres of land.

*

Climate Change or Holocaust

The greenhouse effect: the process whereby the release of carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere traps the sun’s heat thereby raising the world’s temperatures.

You’d better give it consideration. The sky isn’t falling, it’s cracking. N.A.S.A. scientists have determined that there is indeed a breakup in the atmosphere’s ozone layer, the protective shield that blocks much of the sun’s dangerous radiation from reaching the planet’s floor. Ever notice that by the time you realize you are close to the point of no return, you have already passed the point of no return? There are limits to everything. There are limits to how many cows you can husband in a pasture. There are limits to how much oil you can pump from a well. There are limits to how much silver you can extract from a mine. Overall, there are limits to the resources, renewable and non-renewable, that we can drag from this finite planet we call Earth.

Since the industrial revolution, man, spurred by ambition and greed, has been avariciously harvesting the resources of the earth as though it were a limitless bounty. Mankind will eventually enter a genuine age of scarcity in which the accessible supplies of many key minerals will be near depletion. Shortages will be felt in America as well as the rest of the world.

This experiment will confirm, one way or another, my darkest fears that surfing has died in a sea of imbeciles. I hope my analysis of this plight is mistakenly inaccurate, unjustified, and faulty.

Can whole generations of people now wake up in time? I can’t see how! Like pyromaniacs, the northern hemisphere over the last 25 years has been burning the world’s natural resources up at both ends.

A mainliner addict has a better chance of kicking the habit. The masses love their high!

Hucked on or better yet trapped with bank mortgages, junk food, traffic jams, pollution, and their shitty-indebtment little lives, jobs, and children. Out of this decadent and self-induced, suicidal system, am I the only rational thinking person left not intent on self-destruction?

This experiment will confirm, one way or another, my darkest fears that surfing has died in a sea of imbeciles. I hope my analysis of this plight is mistakenly inaccurate, unjustified, and faulty. (“But it is not.”)

There is only one thing that can prove me wrong: a mind, a body that will defy the pressures of a coercive society by throwing down the gauntlet with contempt, declaring we have had enough of this brainless, inept world. In either case, whether he’s rich or poor, it does not matter. It’s the idea!

He must be an innovator, a craftsman, with superior wave knowledge, judgment, and timing. (Try getting out at 8' J Bay without a leg rope if you dare; you’ve got it half made.) Some knowledge of hydrodynamics, physics, biology, their properties, laws, and processes I should recommend. But I’m not.

Surpassing all other factors needed is the self-confidence that his is truly the unequaled paragon of wave riding in the history of surfing.

I have shown you a conception, which I don’t think you will ignore, or even that you can afford to ignore, and, at the very least, the rest of the facts are in a long list of crimes in moral turpitude.

Just try to think of all the toxic chemicals used in constructing one surfboard. In the initial stages of shaping, the first cut of the outer layers releases locked-in harmful gas, not including the resins, acetone, cobalts used in lamination and final glass coats.

You would think the millions of people who say they love and enjoy all the pleasures of the oceans would have some sort of conscience and should know better.

This achievement is the last chance to retrieve the lost soul of surfing. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if out of this experiment someone created a biodegradable board that would set a precedent, that would jar the conscience of the world and awaken them from their long, deep sleep?

Today is the consequence of yesterday.