|When vagabondsurf.com first went live in March 2001 bodyboarding was a huge part of the wave-riding world. Action sports websites and television shows had bodyboarding features equal to coverage of standup surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding.
By 2005 bodyboarding has all but vanished from surfing radar.
The only observation I can offer is that it appears everybody went standup surfing. The various hype machines do not accept anything other than standard issue standup surfing. For years they mocked bodyboarding as "training wheels" or entry level wave-riding. Now new waveriders go directly to surf schools, surf camps, and of course surf shops...not to mention all the lineups near you!
Only a fool would look at modern 2005 lineups and think they are less crowded because of fewer bodyboarders. If anything, the bypass of bodyboarding has vastly increased the numbers of surfers competing for the limited resources. Certainly it has put new surf industry consumers deeper into the branding pens much earlier in their cycles.
Where is bodyboarding now? It's deep into the recreational underground. I'm sure things will cycle through and that we'll see bodyboarding in some competitive capacity again in future years, but right now it's either recreation or art. If you care about it at all you are hardcore and on the fringe of society, the modern brethern of the stnadup surfers of the 1950's.
For years I railed about bodyboarding being a part of surfing, not something seperate. I don't know any more. Everything has been so dissected and catagorized that it may not be true anymore. I can tell you unequivocally that cutting edge bodyboarding is still ahead of board surfing, for now. I can tell you that a quality bodyboard can put a surfer into some serious fun and mind-blowing places while others are driving around looking for someplace to paddle out. A bodyboard is a great session salvage instrument as well as a stand-alone vehicle.
I can tell you that pretty much nobody cares.
The concept of a "surfer" is now, more than ever, being defined by marketing forces. It's certainly out of my hands. It is quite possible that a surfer should no longer need to have a pair of fins and a bodyboard, but a waterman always will.
|Solomonson triplanes circa 1981.
Carry on, folks. You are now free to come and go as you please. Bow down to no person.
|Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.