Hunter S. Thompson once wrote about jackrabbits that would jump in front of cars at the last second for kicks. Now, this resulted in a lot of dead, thrill-seeking rabbits, but it also resulted in a really powerful adrenaline rush for the ones that made it. Hunter said that he’d observed enough jackrabbit behavior to know that most of them “led pretty dull lives: eat, fuck, sleep, hop around a bush now and then…,” leading him to realize that it’s really no wonder so many rabbits bored with existence got off on running in front of the tires of moving cars.
Then I got to thinking how similar this was to some people I knew. Surfers, skaters, musicians, artists, vagabonds, etc. Those guys. A bunch of kamikaze jackrabbits really. Hunter then drifts off into an explanation about how hard it is to explain things to people who just don’t understand and never will. In his case, he is talking about politics and the complex language in which everyone involved speaks — everything being so insider that it borders on being code. Which now that I think of it, isn’t so far off from how we operate either.
Without being one yourself, it would take a manic lunatic to unearth the subtle nuances that exist in someone who’s a surfer. What’s “eggy” mean, anyway? And damn it, I think that’s the point. If you’re reading this and still don’t understand what I’m talking about, and you don’t understand this issue and this magazine’s existence or place, it’s OK. There is nothing you’re meant to understand.
We tend to have our own language. And as cheesy as we’ve been portrayed in the mainstream, or as square as some of our industry leaders have become, we still like to think we do exist, providing the missing underbelly of a culture that’s sold itself for new golf shoes and shit. Or shares of stock. Or have become those dudes who make movies with slow-motion scenes of the kids riding wood in Indo and talking about how life-changing their million-dollar boat trip was. That means nothing to surf culture. That means nothing to us.
I’d like to remind everyone that most brands in our industry were conceived by renegades slinging T-shirts out of the back of broken cars in Bali. Die-hard surfers and shapers who more than likely had stacks of pornos on their toilets and wore resin boots as footwear. But no one is brave enough to let you know that. Which is why we feel the need to remind you and everyone you know what surfing represents outside your cutback. We used to be the thrill-seeking jackrabbits, taking risks, unafraid to be ourselves. We’d jump in front of monster trucks because that’s what made us tick. We are not the eat-sleep-fuck-die variety of jackrabbit, damn it. This is us. Surfing. Living. Traveling. On our terms. Only a surfer knows the feeling. Remember?
This issue is dedicated to the future of surfing and surf culture. And if you still don’t understand or don’t think we belong, then there’s a good chance we don’t want to be there anyway. —What Youth
What Youth Issue 4 is now available in the What Youth shop and at fine retailers across the land.