Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Concept Of Fredness Is Universal

Killer autonomous vehicles, rancorous community board meetings, stupid biplane-inspired handlebars...sometimes covering the bike beat can be depleting, soul-sucking work.  So it is at these times that, in search of respite, I find myself turning to news of other subcultures and reveling in the fact that their problems don't affect my life in any way whatsoever.  This is why I was delighted to read a story about how Rockaway Beach is being invaded by Surf Freds:
Ah yes, this was just the balm my aching spirit needed, especially since it sounds like surfing is analogous to cycling in so many ways.  For example, they have their fancy wetsuits:

Surfing Rockaway Beach in the bitter cold used to be a solitary affair, only for locals and the hard-core. But because of a boom in popularity of the sport, the gentrification of the neighborhood and advancements in wet-suit technology (a $600, five-millimeter- thick suit can keep you warm for two hours), the frigid city surf has gotten crowded, locals say.

And we have our Assos:


And our Rapha:


(Jesus suffering in style in his Rapha Gilet)

They have their strange rules that make absolutely no sense:

Surfers have many unwritten rules of etiquette. Changing at the beach is one of them. “If someone travels to the beach with their wet suit already on, they’re considered a bad surfer right there,” Mr. Mattison said.

And so do we*:



*[Actually the glasses-over-the-helmet-straps thing does make sense since if your helmet is properly adjusted the straps can squeeze your glasses, but frankly you can wear your glasses upside down and your helmet on your ass for all I care.]

By the way, why are you a bad surfer if you wear your wetsuit to the beach?  I mean sure, I guess I can see how it's dorky, like people who ride to the grocery store and shop with their helmets on, but does it also somehow affect your surfing performance?  Is there something about letting the ocean breeze caress your perineum as you change behind the door of your vintage Bronco that puts you in touch with surfing's ineffable zen-like quality in a way that stewing in your own crotchal juices on the A train does not?


Then of course you've got the wobbly noobs:

Later on that cold and cloudy February day, after his 90-minute subway journey through Manhattan and Brooklyn to Queens, Mr. Crowley stood with Mr. Mattison and looked out over the Atlantic. It was 8:30 a.m. and there were already 20 surfers in the water despite the dinky, one-foot-high swell. They watched two surfers nearly run into each other trying to catch the same wave.

“Only at Rockaway,” Mr. Mattison said.

I guess that's like when you ride over the George Washington Bridge on a weekend and have to wait behind 30 Freds and Tridorks who can't negotiate the switchback on the Manhattan side without clipping out of their pedals.

But of course the greatest part about all of this is the idea that a small group of surfers can claim ownership of something as vast as the sea because they happen to have been born nearby, or because know when and where to get dressed:



Also absurd is the notion that a stretch of beach that's easily accessible by subway and bicycle should somehow remain free of city-dwellers in search of beach fun and the businesses that cater to them:


Mr. Vasquez compared the Rockaway surfer scene to what’s happened to New York in general. “There’s a grittiness that you miss about the old New York. It’s the same with the beach. You felt like it was your special thing. Now everyone wants to be a surfer.”

Wow, wanting to surf at the beach, imagine that.  I mean it's only been a resort since the 19th century:


Though I hear they'd totally "spear" you if you arrived at the beach in your swimming costume instead of changing into it in one of those old-timey beach huts:



Granted, certainly when I was growing up nearby it was hard to believe Rockaway was ever a resort (though Rockaways' Playland was still open), but the fact remains that in the context of New York City history a non-touristy Rockaway is basically an aberration.  And of course as a cyclist (as well as someone who used to go to Rockaways' Playland) I certainly relate to the grousing about people who don't "get it," but you have to give people the time to figure out that there's something to be got.

The bottom line is that if there are two things people enjoy doing it's riding bikes and going to the beach, so if you don't like other people doing it too you're going to have a really hard time.

I guess what I'm saying is that we should all be more accepting and focus our derision on those damn kiteboarders.

48 comments:

PedalingPower said...

Just waiting for eSurfboards to get people riled up.

Or SUPers...

dnk said...

The Assos guy looks like he could use a surfboard.

ken e. said...

what they said... and foilboards.

Anonymous said...

for Lob's sake, give me a podium position.

Die free said...

On the up side maybe they will program the robots to fake a little concern or call an ambulance after running you over...

N/A said...

The guys in black socks/sandals with the metal detectors are the beach versions of guys on recumbents with windshields.

Some guy from upstate said...

Great. Now I have the Ramones stuck in my head. Could be worse, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Well... all good points, and I'm pretty sure the locals aren't going out in wool swimsuits either. But, then how will you feel when your local trail system is wheel-to-wheel eBikes? Perhaps the very trails you helped build?

Pedaling power, motorized surfboards have been around for years and are just as slick these days as their bike counterparts, though unlike eBikes I never actually see anyone using one. Beyond the bellyaching you predict, the main concern is that it could allow somebody to get into situations beyond them, like paddling into double overhead closeouts when they should be in rollicking ankle-slappers. A similar comparison for disdain is stand-up paddle boarding or surf kayaks, even boogie boards get flack at some breaks. All easier ways to catch a wave than the shortboards most popular at most breaks.

Anonymous said...

We have Jerrys, Joeys, and SPORES (stupid people on rentals) on the slopes. They're all a bit more like triathletes with backwards helmets than Freds though.

HDEB said...

With the "Emergency Temporary" (temporary is relative) shoreline hardening that is being installed all over Lung Guyland's south shore, many formerly wide sandy beaches are turning into ten foot drop-off's straight into the ocean. The last few Nor'Easters have hit ocean beaches hard. Goodbye to public beach access in many locations : (

Oh...riding bikes is fun...

dancesonpedals said...

Coney Island? Arrivistes. My cross-dressing granny was hanging out at Brighton Beach in 1910.

Don't worry, after my Granpa snapped the picture, she ran back into the changing room behind her and changed into a woman's bathing suit.

JLRB said...

Thanks for the interesting old-timey photo links to the public library as well as the Playland retrospective

As for the surfer grumps - so typical of human nature seeking to exclude others, but when you have a beach next to a city of 8 million - get used to a crowd

Anonymous said...

Of course there will be esurfing- it's exercise to paddle out, and the fatties should have equal access to fun, therefore...

Chazu said...

SURF SNOB NYC

LX said...

Have you seen those Wave Wrecker body surfer suits? Hang twenty!

leroy said...

My dog woke me up to ride our bikes to the beach, surf, race back to our place, clean our bikes, organize our closets, and sort our sock drawer alphabetically by color.

I'm not sure what got into him, but I blame @fatcyclist.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Top Twenty? While Uber has suspended their testing of driverless cars, are they adding programming to the car so it can say "He just came out of nowhere, I never saw him!"

Billinrockhill said...

Great, thought provoking post, Snob. I was at the usual spot for the club Monday Night Ride just last night when an old guy (like me) showed up on a Huffy. He had read about the club on the web. He had no bike clothes. He had no helment. So what to do? One of us loaned him a helment (sorry, Snob, club rules require helments on club rides) and I stayed back to show him the route while everyone else motored off. We rode together and talked about riding for 8 miles, instead of the 20 I had planned. I explained to him that everyone he saw in lycra at the beginning of the ride had, like me, bought their first biking jersey after riding in t-shirts; that the bike clothes, though, yes stupid looking, were in fact practical; that we all had bought road bikes after learning that we liked riding, etc. etc. etc. then started clipping in, etc,etc. So maybe he will buy a bike and join us again. I don't know. But it felt good to treat someone nicely instead of laughing at him and leaving him behind. It was time well spent for me, as the twenty miles I gave up would have left me just as fat and slow as before.

Anonymous said...

Make Rockaway Great Again!

Anonymous said...

Are self-driving cars and EV's evil or just stupid? I believe that they are just marketing bait-and-switich vaporware. Both technologies are just cars, with all the same problems that go along with our addictive, diseased preoccupation with the automobile. Our capitalist overlords are laughing at us as we accelerate toward carmageddon.

Anonymous said...

Crabon fibre for the surf Freds

https://www.haydenshapes.com/2017/01/carbon-talk-hayden-cox/

DaveD said...

What mil neoprene ya runnin'?

Brent Shearer said...

More Fred Spread Phenomena – I like to ride my bike to the tennis courts here in Sodom-on-Hudson. For us tennis players, the Fred problem goes deeper than in biking or surfing, because the quality of our workout depends on identifying and avoiding Freds.

At least the intensity of your bike race or Central Park ride or surf session isn’t determined by who you're playing. In tennis, it is. That’s why early id and avoidance of Freds is more important for us tennis players. Hint: avoid anybody with only 1 racquet and it’s in the black vinyl bag that comes with the stick.

Also worrisome, the conversational opener, what tension you got the racquet strung at (in pounds, not psi)? And like the other reply-er says, sometimes you should be merciful and engage with the Fred, ideally after you got a decent workout w/ somebody else. (oh, wait, engaging with the Fred did crimp that guy’s workout) Well, I’m sure there’s a point to be made here even if I’ve lost track of what it is.

Die free said...

Oh here we go. Uber engineer says... Well read for yourself.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/20/17144090/uber-car-accident-arizona-safety-anthony-levandowski-waymo

Comment deleted said...

Ten years I've been waiting for Snob to realize that glasses belong under helment straps.

It's a sign of intelligence to be able to change one's mind.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

Canarsie born and bred for the win!

Anonymous said...

What ruined surfing is plastic surfboards. Real surfers ride redwood longboards.

Sean Lynch said...

Good to see a disembodied hand once again. Life in the post-fixpocalypse is so lacking without them.

G Cajala said...

Here in my hometown "Locals Only" was an actual song by a local punk band. My hometown sits right in between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles here in Sunny So Cal and its unique in that our beaches aren't inundated with tourist and the local military base somehow keeps the gentrifiers away. It can be a tough town, and Ive had surfer friends who've been shot at on their way to their favorite spot.This rough around the edges kinda demeaner can make for a lot of local pride. I dig it and will hold on to this pride until all the farmland by the beach in my area gets developed!

Hee Haw the Barista said...

2 things;

1. HOMEDRESSERS!!!1!!1

2. "Shitty surfers have invaded our shitty surf scene dude."

BikeSnobNYC said...

Brent Shearer,

Confused by how the intensity of a bike race isn't determined by who you're racing against.

Comment deleted,

That was a typo. Glasses *over* helmet straps makes sense because if you put them under the straps might squeeze them. But as I said, at this point in my life, I don't care where people put them.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

Ventura native here too. Surf Punks, right on. Had it on vinyl. :)

Dooth said...

I'm no surf snob, but those waves look less menacing than the open fire hydrants I used to get pummeled by as a kid.

Bogusboy said...

Just what every sport needs - yet more curmudgeons who think they invented it.

jellyfishsalad71 said...

You cant really travel to the beach in your wetsuit because its too damn hot to wear a 5mm wetty anywhere but in cold water.

Camembert teuton said...

E surfing already exists...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y80o39bry-w

E-Scaper Jones said...

Happy little clouds!

Persia said...

Watch out for them autonomous surfboards, they'll go straight through yer.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Dooth,

Open fire hydrants don't have an undertow. That surf can be pretty dangerous!

--Wildcat Etc.

Skidmark said...

Beware the undertoad.

McFly said...

Is a surf Fred a Johnny Utah?

Asking for a Fred.

Fredder said...

One of the pleasures of living in the big city is finding a spot or an activity or a time of day where you can be alone (or near alone). Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge in a snow storm, riding in Prospect Part in the rain, going to The Cloisters on an off day, are bits of solitude I cherish. It does not mean that I don't enjoy walking the bridge or riding in the park other times but it is a special pleasure to have those magnificent places to myself; there is an extra fillip of pleasure to having a place that sometimes is crowded to yourself. I can understand how the surfers feel, they are indeed losing something.

BODY G-LUV (w/ special sauce inside) said...

Could I hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach with my wetsuit on and holding my board?

bad boy of the south said...

A flurry kinda day in central NC.local trails are soaken wet(read-closed).frigit,I'm takin' up surfin'.

bad boy of the south said...

...or that frigate?

Anonymous said...

No post Wednesday. What the hell am I paying you for?

Fourhourerection said...

Wednesday weed? No? Nuttin’? *sigh* I gotta get a life...

NourskSiklist said...

Too many people in the world, that's the problem here. Perhaps the concerted , world wide rebellion of millions of robotic cars sometime in the future, will cut our numbers down so surfing beaches can be Fred free once more. I also foresee the launch of indoor-surfing app "Zwurf" in the near future. No need to hit the beach; VR glasses and electronic surfboard with 3D servo-assisted movements will serve up the thrills and save the spills. There could also be televised competitions.