Finnegan on the sounds of surfing Pulitzer Prize winner William Finnegan speaks to Pitchfork about music and surfing
“The soundtrack for surfing, especially since shortboards in ’68, is rock n roll. That’s what it is.”
William Finnegan wrote one of our favorite books…maybe ever in Barbarian Days. In it, he bridged the gap. For everyone. Writing something that both captured the essence of the core surf and travel experience, while maintaining a dialogue anyone can understand and be fascinated and enchanted by. Finnegan also articulated our sentiment on surfing in the Olympics when he said: “Surf for love, not for gold.”
He recently sat down with indie music site Pitchfork to discuss the union between surfing and music. It’s a great little read. Check it out here.
He also has this pretty moment describing Dusty Payne’s most recent part from Honolua Bay that uses “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones, describing it like this:
To surf well, you want your board loose, to pump for speed. When you’re surfing well — and Dusty Payne is a transcendentally good surfer — it’s not a guitar solo exactly, but you’re just absolutely pushing it, and you’re trying to do something beautiful at the same time. So it’s this combination of aggression and control and finding a passage. I remember a big barrel that Dusty got. The sun was going down, and he makes it, and he comes out with his hands behind his back, kind of clasped, sort of a flex position, but also sort of a prayer position, his head dropped, his hands behind. There’s this moment where people come out of great barrels, where he just has this absolutely humbled look. There’s nothing I can say, there’s nothing I can do, I just have to acknowledge what that wave was. And that’s a bit of a rock ’n’ roll moment there. A pause. But it’s this combination of virtuosity and—not rage — but just blowing out the jams. The knowing when to go passive when you are now in a great riff. Just ride it out. Sometimes you think it’s so beautiful out here, it’s Bach, but when it comes to the surfing part, it’s rock ’n’ roll. It’s all rip, shred — all the words are transposed to hard rock to me.