The American Conundrum

Is a cultural lack of motivation destroying the next generation of American surfers?

© Ryan Miller

America. It's the land of the free. The home of the brave. The capitalistic super nation where you work for what you get and get whatever it is you work for. It's liberty, really, and it's also where the surf industry calls home — sunny Southern California.

Most of surfing's biggest brands are based that region. And, as a result, the nation has produced some of the best surfers of all time. Tom Curren and Kelly Slater might ring a bell. America was once the superpower of surf. The brightest star in the US would inherently go on to conquer the world. It was dynasty. Then something happened.

Surfing, especially in America, regressed into an era of apathy. Suddenly, it was about not trying. Guys who worked hard, guys who were actually motivated, weren't cool. Cigarettes and one afternoon surf per day, however, were. And sloppy surfboard art was totally in. It was a shame.

The era of apathy had tangible effects on the American surf scene. Modern talent was wasted, young talent was wasted. Maybe it was fun, but was it worth it? ASP World Titles don't think so.

But, like all horrible American trends (see: parachute pants), the era of apathy is ending. American surfing is on the come up. Guys like Kolohe Andino are surfing three times a day and getting a workout in at night. He's hungry, Kolohe, and boy is he influential.

It's only a matter of time before Kolohe finds success on the WCT. He's simply too talented, too hard-working not to. The results will come, and the next generation of American surfers will emulate Kolohe. They'll surf four times a day and work out twice. It'll usher in a new era of red white and blue powerhouses and Southern California, and the mega brands that call her home, will be so very proud. And the cold hard truth is that when American surfing slash surfers are thriving, the surf industry benefits. Could we be on the cusp of another golden generation in the States, a return to the Taylor-Steele-Momentum-gen success?

Here's to hoping...