We're grateful the NFL has brought so much light to this argument. Minus the politics, it's one the surf world has been having since the age of time. Or, at least, since hydrodyna-magician George Greenough's prowess on both knees was proclaimed to the world in "Crystal Voyager" set to the tunes of Pink Floyd's "Echoes" in 1973.
Surfers, kneeboarders and, with only the most loving affection, "spongers" (AKA bodyboarders) have been at philosophical and territorial odds over the knee conundrum, arguing over physical ability--or, lack thereof--merits of skill and wave qualifications. The issue has been such a heated one that fights have ensued, bicycle tires flattened and car windshields waxed over the differing viewpoints of how best to experience wave riding.
Standing on a board enables the rider to engage the strength and extension of their full bodies to generate speed or manipulate the path of the board. Kneeling on a board eliminates one crucial step in the stand-up process, giving kneeboarders the edge on timing to catch faster waves or get into deeper barrels that would normally pitch the standing surfer before he/she ever got to their feet. Surfboards for standing surfers typically have greater volume, enabling the rider to get into waves earlier than a kneeboarder. Lower center of gravity, however, reduces the risk of imbalance while increasing the sense of speed being so much closer to the face of the wave. Some distinct differences yet, equally, distinct opportunities either way, no?
Standing, kneeling or dragging your d*ck, we're all after the same thing: that wave. That long ride all the way into the sand. That deep pit, surrounded by blue-green water rushing all around. That backlit spray from a solid hack off the lip. And, isn't one of the core principles of surfing the scientific fact that every wave and every ride is different? Save the KSWaveCo. comments. Let's illuminate our common ground and respect our differences for they create opportunities for fresh perspective and new experiences that are usually pretty rad. Except, maybe, when it's 1' and blown out.
By the way, Crystal Voyager earned Greenough and producer/director David Elfick the Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival that year, and is widely considered to be one of Australia's greatest surf movies in history. Just sayin'.
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