A SOFT Purgatory

What is happening now probably has less to do with a wholesale renaissance in bodyboarding and more to do with surfers wanting to get as far as possible from what surfing has become: contrived, corporate, serious.

“Beneath the rubble they lay hiding. Hideously disfigured and battling chronic drag-induced psychosis, they roam the underground trenches of this dystopian deep web of horizontal (and vertical) wave debauchery. Gathering in secret. Dragging abandoned slabs to feed their obscure addiction, recruiting those rejected by the mindless control of hard society into their flaccid underworld commune. Not quite alive, not yet in the fiery pits where there’s weeping and gnashing of teeth, they lay in this soft purgatory, awake in anguish where the wages of Drag are surely death.”

Above is the description given online for “Rip 2: Fully Ripped”, an Australian bodyboard movie which opens, appropriately, to Limp Bizkit’s cover of the anthem for the terminally misunderstood: “Behind Blue Eyes”. The movie features guys on bodyboards doing what guys on bodyboards do—dropping into bone-dry reefs surfers won’t touch—but then it also features surfers. Surfers on bodyboards. Famously-talented surfers like Craig Anderson, Chippa Wilson and Creed McTaggart riding bodyboards…standing up. Then they’re surfing softboards, although it doesn’t much resemble surfing as we know it. The movie makes a comic statement, although it’s not clear exactly what that statement is. It captures the birth of a bizarre mash-up surfing culture, born from a post-apocalyptic bodyboard world and a fringe ensemble of disillusioned surfers.

If you wind back the clock 30 years, the

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