by The Deep Water Breaks


5 min Tea break :)

I thought this photo, from Cornwall, was interesting not just aesthetically, but for it’s caption “5 min Tea break :).” The phrase is at once intrinsically relates to the notion of surfer as not just at play, but completely outside of the work environment. In this photo and description, notions of time and relaxation are skewed. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a five minute surf sesh (as some might say where I’m from in California), and neither is surfing as effortless as a cup of tea. So how does surfing, from California to Cornwall, develop this mythology of ease?

Deleuze would probably associate this with surfing’s place as a new type of sport (new being his term, not mine), that places the surfer as a being that is carried by the wave, as opposed to the head-on collisions and defensive nature of other sports. The surfer represents a new type of sport (and again even a new type of capitalism, to Deleuze). 

But why don’t we associate these same ideas with cycling or skateboarding? Skateboard’s represent the same sort of motion, and cycling sets up this near limitless playground for sport. The reason is likely a surface issue. Consider that the skateboard is associated with the concrete jungle, urban exploration. It is the sport of trucks and bearings, grinding—fluid motion made possible by polycarbon on hard surfaces. In fact, the artistry of an aerial is made possible by rubber soles on sand-paper grip tape. As for the bicycle, the issue is endurance, and that a cyclist at his height is one who can climb the steepest slope the fastest, etc. This is not far from surfing, but the big difference is this: a cyclist’s hill does not move. There are winds, and rains, but on the scale of human time, the mountain is pretty much constant.

Surf breaks are readable. Pipeline, The Wedge, Cloud Break. These places are defined by the waves they produce. but these wedges, pipes and clouds shift and change, grow and shrink, explode. So why do we consider this tea time?

Because outside the competition, just outside the break, one has control over his efforts. The option to drift and to wait is vital to the surfing experience. And no matter what beach, in whatever part of the world, provided you can bear the water’s temperature, this option is always present.