Surf Wax America

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October 11, 2013

You take your car to work, I’ll take my board.

You can not, without straight up lying to my face, tell me you haven’t at some point in your life wished you could surf. There’s just something about the laid back personae of those who do, the cool surf-culture and its history rooted in Ancient Polynesia (Summer Heights High, anyone?). It’s a sport of beauty and danger where a force of nature can act either as your teammate or enemy. Surfing is athletic, rigorous, exhausting and yet the lucky ones who can call themselves true surfers seem to have a deeper level of peace. What is that? I want that.

After a few surfing lessons that didn’t necessarily go awry but certainly haven’t rendered me a Blush Crush just yet, let’s just say I’m not quitting my day job (sucks for you because my day job is writing at Man Repeller!). I’ve raised my white flag to the literal ocean and instead get my kicks from Endless Summer, Lords of Dogtown, lo-fi music and now — thank you, designer suggestion box — the Spring 2014 runway.

There were Polynesian prints at Marc Jacobs, Marni, Suno and MSGM. Separately, hip slung board shorts and flat sandals ran amuck on the runways, and jam band inspired hemp-jacket coats made the comeback that your friendly neighborhood college stoners never saw coming at Peter Som. We passed a wink to the Phish-concert wardrobe staple in our second NYFW round up, but didn’t expect that for the rest of the week, old-school Venice Beach would be having a redux of its own.

While two of the mentioned designers showed their collections in Milan, the rest of the trend found itself pretty firmly planted in America. Surfing is by all means an international sport — those who surf know the best waves are off the coasts of Australia, Japan, Fiji and other far-away places — but there’s something about the surfer as a personality that’s decidedly American, if not completely Californian.

Also American (though perhaps we don’t want to get too excited in our country’s claim on this one) is the tourist. Yes, every human who has ever traveled to a place that is not their own backyard has been one. But the word “tourist” conjures up such a specific image in my head that only exists — in extreme self-parodying, almost cartoon-like form — within the strict confines of a United States citizen embarking on some sort of walkable adventure.

Think Tevas, sneakers, sun protective visors, bright Hawaiian shirts or some other short sleeved button down in a Chevy Chase-friendly print. The tourist is ready to tackle a tour of old Prague thanks to his or her sensible shoes and pocket-filled cargo shorts, because where else does one keep their passport and traveler’s checks? But never before has the tourist’s wardrobe been so absolutely covetable as during September’s shows, where embarrassing dad gear actually became cool — maybe that’s because the motif is tethered to that of the superior surfer’s. Either way, I’m still looking for a fanny pack.

Here’s a song to get us in the spirit. Happy Friday!

  • Amatoria Clothing

    I do wish I could surf, but you won’t see me in a visor.

  • http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/ Newborn Fanatic

    Wow. Crystal studded visors.

    https://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/

  • Rebeka Osborne

    Most of all, I heart your Summer Heights High reference!

    • Amelia Diamond

      haha that was all leandra! i had totally forgotten about polynesian pathways. *puck you miss*

      • Rebeka Osborne

        Haha Jonah was always my favorite. I need to re-watch this series, in honor of TMR, of course!

  • fbcreations

    Amelia, I am seeing more of Japanese Geisha influence in the Marni collection than surfing and Hawaiian prints. Although, agree with visors and fanny packs and “tourists” image: who would have tought someone could make them look so chic and sophisticated? ( I confess I would get married in the last look … by the beach yes, so surfers welcome!).

    • Amelia Diamond

      I totally got Geisha from that collection too! (Geisha-tourist-Marni mind-blow.) It was so delicious.

  • Anon

    All of the surfers from Australia, Fiji, Japan etc are laughing right now at the idea that the ‘surfer personality’ is American

  • Greer Clarke

    SUMMER HEIGHTS HIGH

  • disqus_8MN6vZyhaf
  • Jen

    Loved the photo story today! Would love for you to check out my blog http://www.theboonreport.com!

  • http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr/ Mafalda

    I love the Kenzo and Suno sandals!

    Mafalda ❤
    http://www.mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr

  • Suzy_Q

    The surfer to me is as follows: caramel-tanned tan fit handsome bleached blond (because of all that time riding the waves) who grills shrimp on the barbie after killing some waves…it’s very Australian in my view. I mean, I’ve lived a significant amount of my 24 years in the great U S of A, but the California surfer dude/girl thing is very narrow definition. But I think that’s the interesting bit about the surfer persona – each place has their own indigenous stereotype of the surfer, that – dare I say this – it is almost inconceivable to think that surfers from anywhere else would stray from that specific idea. I think this idea applies to fashion too though….Discussion sub-topic LAUNCHED.

    • Amelia Diamond

      See for me — I grew up in California, so maybe I’m biased and that’s why I claimed the surfer persona for US/CA. Have you seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High though? Spicoli is THE epitome of surf brah to me. And I’m obsessed with Dogtown & Z-boys.

      But I also lived in Australia for a while! And there was obviously a huge surf culture there too with their own persona and style and lingo.

      And I love a good sub topic! Guys — run with this!

  • mekeesha

    why has no one commented on the weezer reference?? haha. <3
    :)

    • mekeesha

      annnd, i just noticed the video at the bottom is for that weezer song. not a subtle reference at all. i fail. this is what i get for overlooking videos. ;)

  • Rebecca

    I love lords of dogtown and theres many moments (even since childhood) where I wish I was a surfer

    http://www.yess-please.blogspot.co.uk

  • Pualani@TheRustedKey

    I’m a little disappointed that the only mention of Hawaii is to describe tacky shirts. Surfing was invented in Hawaii!! Coming from a Polynesian background, I wouldn’t describe these prints as Polynesian though I can see how you might think that because they are definitely something you’d see in Polynesia, and I can see some hints of Maori culture in the black/white and black/white/red Marc Jacobs pieces.

  • http://www.foxyoxiesupernova.blogspot.com/ Oksana Radionova

    In all honestly, the idea of physical activity less than thrills me, so I don’t think I’ve ever actually wanted to be a surfer, per se, just to be cool. XOXO

    http://www.foxyoxiesupernova.blogspot.com

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