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Attack of the homophobic surf Nazis

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
July 26, 2007


Over the last few weeks the city of Encinitas has been sullied by a vocal minority of ignorant hate mongers, raising ruckus over a piece of public art they deem gay, faggy, effeminate, an embarrassment, fraud, child porn and pro-pedophile. The statue of a novice surfer has also been named Fairy Mary.REPLACE -- yank and put the following

In my humble opinion, the surf sculpture is not an embarrassment, its detractors are.

The homophobes deriding the sculpture as being gay or effeminate, clearly lack critical thinking skills. Works of art are inanimate objects, therefore they have no gender or gender orientation, sex or sexuality. Can a wave be gay? A wet suit? A surfboard? Of course not. Those sexualizing 14 year old boys have issues, and should seek help, as opposed to declaring their narrow minded bigotry by denouncing art.

Only individuals looking for child porn in the Cardiff surf statue will see it. Wishful thinking is a terrible thing to waste.

Well executed, by skilled artist Matthew Antichevich, this gift of public art was made possible by the Cardiff Botanical Society, with money raised through private donations. Bronze on stone, "Magic Carpet Ride", is family friendly sculpture, nothing more nothing less. Present at it's unveiling, I found the piece to be rather benign, and hardly controversial.

At issue is the sculpture's depiction of a 14 year old boy learning to surf. In surf lingo, a young inexperienced surfer is known as a Grommet, Grom, Gremmie, Grem, Hodad, or Kook. Rare is the surfer, male or female, who doesn't go through a kook phase when learning to surf., be they grom or adult. Form and finesse come with time and experience. Every surfer was a beginner at one point, very few become legendary professionals.

So why the hate?

According to the Cardiff Botanical Society, "Magic Carpet Ride" was never meant to be an idealized representation of a epic surf stud ripping the face of idealized wave. The surf sculpture was always meant to represent the magic associated with learning to surf. Hence the name, right?

Had the Cardiff Botanical Society wanted to commission a sculpture of a surf legend they could have easily enrolled superstar Rob Machado, or surf pioneer Don Hansen to serve as model and muse. If other members of the community prefer images of bronze surfers to be more masculine, they should fund their own public art installation, just as the Cardiff Botanical Society did.

Art and the unmeasurable variable of individual art appreciation is not the lesson to take away from this incident. More important is the harsh reality represented by the unabashed homophobia festering in Encinitas, and its surfing subculture. Such a sad truth.

If only these surf bigots spent half as much energy complaining about surf overcrowding, water quality and ocean health, and coastal pollution in all its forms. Bitching about surf sculptures when surfers are being exposed to toxic pollutants while in the ocean, seems reactionary, misguided, and completely out of touch.

Pity the fools.

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