A Guide to the South Bay Surf and Action Sports Scene
Reminiscing about not-so-smart phones
There was a point before the advent of the smartphone—a time when men were men, women were women and phones were just mildly intelligent—that I actually used to “call in” to check the surf report. Yes, I actually used to listen to another living, breathing person read off the details on the latest surf report. No computerized avatar—just another human being talking on a crappy line that was full of static. They’d usually utter plenty of ambiguous observations, too (“Um… yeah, it kinda looks good, if ya got nothing better to do, come on down.”). But that was OK. And you know what the best part was? It was free.
And yes, I was born after the Berlin Wall fell, so, no, I’m not that old. Although, time really doesn’t seem to be on my side—I need at least one cup of coffee just to survive a workday without taking a nap. Where has all my jubilant, youthful energy gone to? Oh, yeah, I forgot: It took a hike at right around the same time I started paying taxes and thinking about getting a 401K. Getting old hurts.
Anyway, yes, there was a time when I use to call another person (usually a lifeguard down at Zuma) to find out what the surf was like. Technically, I can still do that now, but my phone has a nifty app that tells me everything I’d ever need to know: wave quality, swell direction, tide info, wind direction, what board to bring, what kind of mood I’m in, my astrological sign and so on—all in less than several seconds.
Is the digital age killing the sense of camaraderie that we surfers used to embody back in the pre-smartphone days? Are we losing our surfing souls to ever-changing nano tech? Well, in my personal opinion, I’d say no: the ease of information should only encourage more surfers to get out in the water. Sure, our interpersonal skills might suffer a bit in the end since we’re cutting off one more form of verbal communication from our lives, but what’s the worst that could happen? Aside from all our computers gaining self-awareness and judging mankind for being weak since we rely on them so much (which would ultimately lead to some sort of Skynet-style takeover). But I mean, that’s totally unrealistic… right?