The motivation of surf travel has shifted. Blame the modern age. In today’s world of selfie madness and Go Pro mugging, with most of a surfer’s day taken up by personal social media management, the travel experience has become something seen and not felt. These days a surfer has to get back to his phone to actually see where he was. Post it or it never existed. All website surf footage these days is just an exercise in advertising. We only see sponsored video shorts. With the touch of a delete button, Surf stars today are disposable.
Mini-careers are built on running around with a cameraman obtaining snippets and clips. Desert Island surfing has all but disappeared and with it a certain element of adventure that once drove the sport. The age of discovery has been deleted. Replaced by the age of capers and gags. And there is a danger in this.
The danger of bringing about the end of wonder. To obtain knowledge or sight of what was previously unknown, this is the definition of the word discovery. And surfers used to feel it all the time. And be richer for the experience. The way a wave you found in a far off country would find its way into your consciousness. Could become a part of you. Unshot, unfilmed, uncaptured. Something wild in your life. A visitation. Something chasing you as you chased it. And this is made even more so by finding these waves alone. Sizing them up. The possibilities. Your real motivation tested. Paddling out alone. Edging closer and closer to the beast. Pulling back on a few and then finally catching the first one, riding it and kicking out. Realizing it was all possible. Your adventure complete.
The photos on these pages are a reminder of this brand of wonder. Imagine the feeling of exploring alone and coming across this wild place. Raked by the Scirroco winds Lanzarote, part of the Spanish archipelago of Canary, sits 125 kilometers off the coast of North Africa and about 1000 kilometers south of the Iberian Peninsula. In other words, way off the map. A UNESCO biosphere, Lanzarote is an island of over 300 volcanic cones that gets regularly punished by the fury of the North Atlantic.
It is home to camels, rare falcons, the spitting gallotia lizard and bizarre blind crabs. It is also known for its wild local government corruption, the site of a Stone Roses Video and the worlds only underwater art museum. Something that has to be seen to be believed. All of which you would never have cared about unless you had actually put down your phone and lived the place. So yes, as you look at these powerful, unridden waves, consider the possibilities beyond the photogenic. Imagine being there and sizing the place up. Imagine just you and your board and these waves. Unwitnessed, unfilmed. Would you do it? Could you do it?
We cannot go back in history to a simpler time.
But we can bring a simpler time with us into the future. Give it try next time. And don’t let us know how it went.