Part Three of a three-piece article published by SURFER in November, 1969. John Scott, a Santa Cruz surfer and photographer, wrote in opposition to professional surfing. And threw in a protest poem for good measure. See also “Pro Surfing is White!” by Fred Hemmings, and “Pro Surfing is Gray!” by Jock Sutherland.

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By now, what was described in “Bad Karma” [a recently-published SURFER article on the 1969 United States Surfing Championships] should have been painfully obvious and well manifested in all free surfers’ hearts, but I doubt it. What is worse yet, it seems only the silent ones know and are fearful of this dangerous trend.

From our colder and allegedly more sober (straighter) land of the north, we have watched many of our brothers and sisters make life out to be little more than a merry ride for status and an intense search for the holy dollar sign. The great peace potential lies “in state” within us all. Without vision, we pay for everything; we pay with money, and with days and hours of our lives. Occasionally northern surfers (the distinction is hazy) have been surfing and living this way. “Me too, me too, I want to be considered hot like Jocky Nudoylynch.” Why? Because their set of values are like stunted plants that never mature on infertile soil.

  1. Contests are not held of the surfers’ will, or by the surfers’ skill, or for the surfers’ benefit. And other than token benefits of security to a few, all that is guaranteed is a show.
  2. Contests are an outlet for the self-perpetuating goals of the industry balanced upon the “sport.” It is a sport to those who gain monetarily from the free association with other sports involved in the syndicated imagery, the stereotyped American traditions. Surfing is an art to the free man, the artist. The citizen of the world.
  3. Contests are producing plastic personalities and imitation persons; add water, you’ll see. They are insensitive to the liberating qualities surfing offers man in these times when every move he is permitted to make is called a freedom. It is almost inevitable that within the system there is a plan to stifle man in the raw! Every man lies dead or dying within the functioning of his robot shell when he is devoured by organization outside his control, and  every move he makes is either authorized, or unauthorized, automated or prohibited.
  4. By supporting surf clubs and contests, we are prostituting our souls and not even being paid for the use of our pure involvement during the putrification process. We are submitting our selves, our “name,” to the mercy of a bigoted clique of overly fed, non-surfers who, by a prejudicial system of placement, rates us. Although most have surfed, they are all business now, and value preserving the system more than the art of being free. Witness drag , racing and what organization has : done to eliminate all non-teams. We exchange our wild freedom for wave limits, time limits, area, age, sex and limit limits. Then we are greeted by someone holding out his hand. We all need surf, we need new surfing areas, new and unlimited realization of each and all of us as brothers, fellow combatants and competitors in everyday surf and everyday life. Don’t forget, even Number One is just another number in a system of too many numbers.

Last fall at Steamer Lane, a fiasco happened. It was sooper-dooper bad karma. Our own Monster from the Valley was there to show us all the power he has acquired over us. Contest organizer Doc Scott (no relation) moved in and established himself as head dictator for three days, and ordered local surfers out of the water on contest day. Well, there being good surf, and I being very stoked, did not let this stop me. I went out, with 4,000 lifeless but lifelike dummies standing in ecstasy (or agony) on the cliff. Every last one paying dutiful worship to the system! had not surfed for a week and was not going to pay to do so now. I had fun while 4,000 presumably free men stayed enslaved to their system of prejudicial placement. Since when do local surfers pay to surf? Since we allowed ourselves to be deceived into believing that rating was any better than that red, purple or gold star we got on our report card in kindergarten 20 years ago. I was also more than slightly aware that sans commercial attachments and a Western Surfing Association rating, I had no rights, and, also quite apparently, the organization doesn’t recognize free minds. But free minds are required to honor organizations of slaves. Where do you and I stand? Where? All the time I surfed was mine, no one else’s, and I didn’t care and don’t care where Doctor Scott placed me in each heat, first or last!

In the future, other locals and I will probably surf as usual, not heeding Big Brother. See you in the water.

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Classy, svelte contest pigs, you fornicate with our mother the Sea.

Ignore her in your arrogant self pursuits, gather by the thousands to display, and contest, the rape.

You disgrace the saline in your own veins, when you realize you haven’t won, or lost anything of value, only wasted time.

Do not tell me of your professed love. We all have seen your voyeurisms arid conceit.

Without your contest system you would feel lacking in identity, lost in the hostile cosmos —cultivating a “self” for display purposes is the problem we all face unknowingly.

Contests arenot part of the mind of peace, they are useless and petty.

Contests only display the hostile commercial polarity. A great martyr has said, “If you are not part of the solution, man, you are part of the problem.”

  • Alan Baldock

    John’s heart was in the right place… It’s just progress that. Passd him..by…..
    He looks after the Kids of Lennoxhead . Back in the. 70s. They gave him. Blanks n glass. N he made their boards for. Free… Just to see them enjoy. ? surfing… Free surfing….. Legend.

  • freerider

    Wow Matt, some heavy stuff. Don’t think Dirk Ziff or Paul Speaker would jive with Mr Scott. Oh that’s right–we think Mr. Speaker may of got ‘let go’–‘fired?’–for a lack of attracting mainline advertisers. Would like to these 3 guys locked in a room together for awhile….

    • freerider

      “The Surf Industry is not surfing–my brief forays into the dark–sickly heart of the matter–have reminded me of this” L. S.

      • freerider

        “These few Wall Street Flesh Merchant–seek to unify surfing–only to extract the wealth”. Da Cat Well–with Quick filing for chapter 11 and the Billabong CEO scandal and other various Surf companies struggling and going under–maybe Mr. Scott got it right…Not surfin for Pepsi–not surfing for Coke-a-cola–this wave’s for you ….