Get a Job Beach Bum

Living in California we all know or have known at some point someone who surfs. The fact that we live so close to the Pacific ocean allows a lot of us to explore the freedoms of the oceans’ playgrounds. Here in San Diego a lot of people surf since we live so close to the beach, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone who lives near the beach loves to surf. If you’ve ever been abroad or even somewhere just out of the state, you may have been asked the question, “Oh you live in California, you must surf a lot?”  It seems as if the stereotype can be surfaced and pushed upon someone for any number of not obvious reasons. Stereotypes dealing with the California lifestyle almost make it interesting for any blond hair, blue-eyed person who occasionally enjoys the comfortability of a pair of some trunks and sandals. Although some of the characteristics of a surfer have changed over the years, some of the embedded stereotypes have stuck. For instance surfers have been for years seen as unmotivated individuals who simply have nothing better to do than dream and search for surf. These stereotypes can be seen in movies where the surfer character has no job and just wants to surf all day; some stereotypes going as far as the character living out of his car or “surf van.” Another stereotype surfers have would be the idea that all surfers do or use some sort of drugs. Often times in movies or on TV, surfers can be depicted as stoners or smuggling drugs across foreign boarders. I personally can attest to this stereotype and have had to deal with police officers hassling me and being pulled over for some routine situation and was identified with long blonde hair and surfboards in the car and was immediately asked if  I had and drugs or paraphernalia. Surfers have also been known to be linked with being very earthy and environmentally conscious and somewhat a hippy type. This stereotype can label surfers as being  very spiritually connected to the earth while being detached from society and only caring about the ocean and their zen. Unfortunately these labels are cast among this group of people who all share a passion with the sport of surfing and not the labels that are cast upon us. Surfing is a sport were you can express yourself while experiencing a part of nature that not everyone gets to participate in. Breaking stereotypes and creating our own identities is what makes us individual and allows us to take our sports to new levels and put our own style into our passion.

This entry was posted in Stereotypes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Get a Job Beach Bum

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    You do a good job of bringing up some of the common stereotypes around surfers, and recognizing their affects on your life. I also like how you recognize the surfer as a key part of the California imaginary. This is worth exploring more. Could you also give some more specific examples? And what do you see as the subject positions attached to these stereotypes? Are these stereotypes also gendered, racialized, given a class locality? Is there an implicit sexuality?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s