Grassroot Comments –> IMAGE SCRIMMAGE

Sparky Scheufele and Paul Gebauer

Are you really where
it’s at?
Have you been there and
back, and know where
it’s at?
Have you seen yourself
standing in someone
else’s shoes?
Maybe you think you’re
on the same wave length,
because you ride his board.

by Sparky Scheufele

Well, look around you my friend. The masses of surfing are in sad shape. For the most part, we are following an image of some kind - another surfer or a board designer. Maybe you need the shortest board in your neighborhood, just to be IN. Some people don't even surf, but they carry boards on their cars to create an image. We won't go into that, because they aren't what's happening.

Surfing is much like anything else we do. To give you an idea, I had a vocal teacher that told me he could teach anyone in this world to sing if they had vocal cords. In the end, only a handful would be good enough to project to an audience. The same follows in surfing. If you are on an image trip, chances are you're missing the boat. Without a doubt. most of us are floundering in the ocean thinking we are there when we really aren't. I'd call it delusions of grandeur - like building castles in the sky and having sand foundations.

To keep up with today's tempo of surfing, board designs are important. But, you’re nowhere near the goal if you don't have soul. A surfboard is a very small tool of your real self. No matter what label your board has or what type it is, your real self will be portrayed in the surf. Most of us need new minds, not new boards. If you have to change your board once or twice a month, you might be a little lost. This, of course would be an entirely different situation if you were designing or testing boards. Some guys even ride red, white, and blue boards because their idol rides one like it. You're not fooling anyone with your super dooper competition surf trunks either.

The beat of today's surfing requires a lot of concentration, thought, and energy. You also need a love for the sea and the thing you're doing. Surfing equipment today didn't come from followers, but from leaders that are seeking more avenues to travel on. We the masses aren't even close to this "full on" journey that the boards were intended for. Wake up man! Like let's go from the unreal to the real.

I fully realize that a kook can get as pumped up as a "full on" surfer. The difference is that they are at different physical and mental levels in the water. I'm not saying that in order to feel like you've been reborn you have to be "super on." It would be nice though, if some of us weekend warriors with our out of sight latest boards and surf trunks with competition stripes and surf patches, would open our eyes and look In the mirror and say to ourselves, "Self. who am I kidding?"

You know, I used to surf at Waikiki a lot, because I really grooved on the waves there, but I haven't been to that area for quite awhile. The people there are so bad it blows my mind. I don't even like to drive through that area and look to the sea anymore. People take their hostilities and thoughts out to the water and end up blowing each other out by making a carnival out of surfing. It's like going to a concert, only to find that the band has been playing together for only two weeks, and they're all doing their' own thing. Each one thinking he's the best.

Almost every surfing spot has its share of problems. It's really scary. They're all locked in on some kind of image thing. One way or another, we're all cripples with different crutches, and the sooner we realize this, the sooner we can heal ourselves and guide ourselves and our egos to better things. To live for or with an image is bad for us. To have an ego is not bad, if you are the master of it.

I was on one of these trips sometime ago when the big boards were still in. I have since then gone through a lot of mental changes and have seen the light through the stilling of all outer activity of the mind and body, taking my real self out of my physical body and seeing the truth about how lost I was. I assure you, the rewards are endless when you make this transition.

I may not be the best at whatever I'm trying to do, but I can say that I do my own thing. I follow no one, and no one follows me. I am no longer learning the fundamentals of surfing or trying to follow someone else's thing. I'm looking for infinity or maybe halfway there. Just because you buy the best sitar in the world, doesn't mean you'll play It like the master himself. The same goes for boards. Ask yourself why you bought it. The answer is probably because you thought it was the latest, and you wanted to be in. That's fine, but you're only kidding yourself. It's all in the mind.

I'm a surfboard designer and builder, and I think I've contributed a few things to surfing equipment in the last few years, so I know what I'm talking about. I paddle out to a well known surfing spot, and there it is - the image scrimmage. A handful of guys on one kind of board and another group on another, rapping to each other about who's got the latest thing In the water. And you know what? Half of them can't even trim up into the curl. They're so worried about how they look to the next guy and are so far on the shoulder, it's sad. If we could concentrate all that wasted energy into the wave and what we want to do with it, we would all be doing ourselves a favor. A board, no matter what image is associated with it, is only as good as the man who rides it. It won't make magic rides for you unless you know how to express the use of it.

The masses for the most part are, in my opinion, looking sad in the surf these days. At least they made the wave more often before on the larger boards. We're riding such super machines today that it's like handling a 250-mph dragster. You've got to get behind it or you won't make it. So what if you've got the smallest board on your block. It's no good to you If you can't "get it on," because it sinks everytime you try to work it into, over, or under a wave.

Forget the images. Take off the red, white, and blue trunks. Don't imagine you're locked in when you’re pushing soup. We are our only hang ups. Find yourself through your mind. Find your happy medium and let it all hang out. Push the gas to the floor, get the revs up, leave your board in neutral, and put your mind in drive, then just hang on.

In fact. if you sing a song to yourself as you surf, you'll find that as you progress up or down into the heart of the wave, your singing will become silent. This silence will become music inside you, and this music will transform you into what should be happening. But before you start singing, find out what you are, where you're at, and where you're going, or you'll never be fully aware of what you are trying to do, and you'll never be fully satisfied with yourself. But then, who is ever fully satisfied. You'll never know until you find a place for yourself and shed the IMAGE SCRIMMAGE.

Sparky Interview

What do you think of the California surfers who do their winter surfing in Hawaii?

Sparky: Outside of a few cool people, most of them are really lame. But, then, we have our problems too.

How do you compare Hawaiian and California surfers, in both style and ability?

Sparky: I don't think there's really much difference in style or ability, except that I think we have better all-around surfers. I also think we have more "spazamoto's" and "AAA" kooks than California.

What do you think the attitude of the West Coast surfers is towards the Hawaiian surf and surfers?

Sparky: I really don't know what their attitude is tÖwards our surf, but some of them probably wouldn't mind being about fourteen feet tall so they could do some of us in.

What is your opinion of California surf? How does it compare with Hawaii?

Sparky: California small surf is good for the ego. A guy can do no wrong in that kind of surf. A couple of spots in San Diego blew my mind. As far as comparing it to Hawaiian surf all year long, forget it.

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