Meeresruf (Call of the Sea)

Surfing always had a certain coolness and sexiness to it. Both the sun and sea call for light beachwear, even naked skin. This in turns calls for a “good body” (in a conventional sense). Surfing is a sport, so training and showing your body go hand in hand. Does this mean the coolness and sexiness of surfing are of a commercial, evaluative kind, restricted to the “cool kids”?

It surely looks like this on many photos, but I’m sure it’s not true. While my own experience is restricted (I do it a few times a year at most), I’ve seen mostly open-mindedness, respect, or a you-do-you kind of ignorance around looks and beach fashion. Sure, it’s probably different once you start battling for the best wave of the beach (and/or the queen or king riding it). But this seems like an edge case.

Altogether, I often feel the commercial aspect of surfing, “cool” brands, influencers, IKEA photos of beaches or self-made surfboard-benches is at best a meaningless aesthetic game (at worst a pile of bs) when compared to actually doing it. Actual surfing is more about sun burns, sore muscles, injuries, sleeping in a tent or van where it’s hot, sweaty, and full of insects, and a wild and free joy that doesn’t care about superficial status questions.

This also means: There’s nothing you have to do to “belong” but showing up at a beach. Often, you can even find someone renting a board, and they are entrepreneurs who love the sea, so they are happy and helpful to get you (and your money) coming back.

(“Meeresruf” means “Call of the Sea,” it’s another mashed-together word, this time from “Meer,” the Sea, and “Ruf,” call. I’m a bit lenient here, it’s not a usual word, and the literal translation “Ruf des Meeres” has even more poetic gravity. But it shows that you can just make up words in German that everyone understands and that are totally legal to use.)

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