I just got back from the MexiLogFest, one of the premier longboarding events in the world. As is to be expected, many people keep asking how the competition went. All I can answer is I don’t think of it like a contest. I think of it like a festival. It does say it in the name.
Though some people get better scores than others, money and a trophy, it is more an art festival, that celebrates the people that make up this subculture, than anything else. Each group has their own collective style and within those paradigms each individual has their own unique approach to surf and life.
- Hawaiians are low key on land keeping with their crew and family based culture they come from. Their surfing reflects the heritage they represent, each with skills that are at the forefront of possibility within the art.
- The Brazilians come in packs, bringing with them an organic zest for life and a natural knack for fun. They bring smiles to the lineup during the day and they bring people to the dance floor at night.
- The kali kids live in a time warp between now and some combination of the 60’s and 70’s. They dress the part and their surfing is adorned with hand punctuation and hip jive aplenty.
- The Texan’s are their own breed. They keep a truck down their so they can venture out and they always seem to be on the move, whether day trips to surf spots or staying up all night to surf and see meteor showers.
- There is an Englishman who is the people’s champ and there is a south African champion that is of the people and for the people.
- There’s are sea queens who never have a hand out of place and there are wild beach creatures whose feet never stop moving in perfect rhythm.
There are one hundred and forty-five competitors in total. Everyone there has their own quirks and idiosyncrasies that make them who they are. Those things are expressed in every wave they ride and to me that’s what makes this event so special to beat.
True, the contest part of it is amazing. Surfing with just three people out on a 500-yard-long left is a dream come true.
But it is the free surfs that I always remember best. After one of those exceptionally long waves you turn around and paddle back out and I’m willing to wager that paddle is the greatest show in all of logging history.
Each of those individual is an artist connecting kinetic comprehension and cognitive creative ability on a carefully crafted craft across an incredibly classic aquatic canvas. The surfing is mind bending, both the quality and the quantity.
This group is beautifully eclectic, each person truly different and representing that subtle imprint of the soul on each wave. Yet, we all have something in common.
Each is an eccentric, an oddity within surfing, drawn to dancing on water and an elegance that defies the aggressive intensity that other parts of surfing are lauded for. We each want to do OUR thing. For better or worse, winning or losing, this is a group that wants to be themselves in everything they do.
And with criteria like “be beautiful” (Israel Preciado- contest director) and “surf like yourself” (Jimmy Gamboa- head judge) I think that we all find an ephemeral home for our surfing during this week of festivities. It is a contest, and it is a festival, but it’s a bit more. Its celebration of the wild individuals that love this art and do it whether they are alone or everyone’s watching. It is an event that is about celebrating this culture’s truly Eclectic Eccentricity.
Words By John Angiulo
Photos by Sarah Lee