(This is an old piece from my minor in writing and rhetoric at Chapman University. Since most of my writing is pretty loose on here, I figured it would be cool to post something that had more structure. I wish I could find the prompt, alas I cannot. I also could not find the grade.)
As human beings, we tend to judge people by their cover like books. Whether you like to admit it or not, you’ve definitely made an assumption about someone purely based on what they look like, how they talk or act, or both. And on top of this, all the new media we have surrounding our lives makes it even easier to make a preconceived notion. We all have judged someone for a selfie they took on instagram, a tweet they posted weeks ago, and my favorite, the overly political Facebook post resulting in a comment battle between the person and one of their friends (in which we judge both of them for arguing over Facebook). For the most part, being a surfer usually didn’t ignite any of these preconceived notions and people didn’t expect you to be much different from them. All it said about you is that you like to spend free time in the ocean instead of the golf course, and maybe that you had a little be more of a mellow/hippie vibe to yourself. You were just a regular old guy or gal and no one went crazy at the fact you liked to float around in the ocean. This all ended around 10 years ago when a very local news video went viral…
You’ve definitely seen the video, and if you haven’t, you’ve been living under a rock. Especially since the setting is in southern California, specifically seal beach, just a half an hour away on the 22 freeway from Chapman. Here it is in all its “glory”:
We can look to see how porters 5 components of digital delivery to decompose how this video made its rounds and effected every singles surfer in existence. The body and identity of the video identifies the surf culture and paints the negative picture of your classic stoner surfer. We already had an association with this character with our good pal Spicolli, the super fried surfer from Fast times at Ridgemont High. These two representations of the surfer lifestyle are completely innacurate but are what a stereotypical “surfer” imagined as (I put surfer in quotes because aside from a few, most surfer that act like this tend to suck at the sport, there is one exception).
The distribution and access for this clip is what really helped solidify it as a worldwide viral video. Initially a news clip, it would be posted to YouTube, and this is when the snowball effect occurs. It would fit into a Facebook video, and Instagram post, and pretty much any other sharable content. Id be surprised if someone who surfed had never had this video DMed to them or posted on their Facebook profile at the height of its popularity.
As for how the video was interacted with, we saw remixes of it, it being posted on tosh.0, and even becoming a popular meme. Since it was a public clip and had no copyright, it was free range for those who dwell on the interwebs to do what they do best: make every possible joke/remix of the original clip. I swear I still find new renditions of the classic.
Once this video made it’s rounds, the jury had reached a verdict: every single surfers was as fried as this guy and just loved getting pitted. Lets rewind a second however and talk about how many rounds this video made. It has been made into memes, quoted all over the internet, viewed probably over a couple million times, and even has a remix of the audio (which I do recommend listening to). It even was featured on tosh.0.
Anyone from southern California or from a small surf town on the east or west coast related to this video. They remembered the one of out probably hundreds of surfers they met that was almost as fried as this guy. That person stuck out in their mind purely based on the fact of how idiotic they sounded in conversation. But if that person surfed, they would just laugh at this kook and move on not judging anyone, knowing this guy was the one in a million (well maybe thousand, because I have met a handful of surfers almost as fried as this guy).
Unfortunately, I feel like I suffer some of the most agony compared to others in dealing with this video going viral. I try not to openly talk about surfing too much, but if it comes up in conversation I will divulge my opinion and state that I surf quite frequently. If you happen to follow me on social media you can also get all the surfing you want up in your face. People see this and for a while before people would even say hi they would just come up and say “so pitted” or “wapow so barreled.” It was a lot more prevalent a year or two ago, yet to this day I still get some random ones thrown into conversation. At one point people who didn’t even know me would blurt it out upon meeting me when they learned I was a “surfer bro.”