July 01, 2021 3 min read
The majority of surfers take to the ocean to ride waves as a way to unplug from their daily responsibilities, stresses or burdens. We’d argue that you won’t find a healthier, more immersive way to unwind and simply reconnect with nature, than bobbing out there in the lineup and sliding some waves no matter the quality of the conditions.
Others are essentially doing the same with yoga, jogging, cycling, skiing, etc., but at the risk of sounding biased, we still think surfing can’t be beat. We struggle to think of any other endeavor where you can be more connected to our natural environment than being submerged in the ocean and stroking into a wave that has travelled thousands of miles.
Ball sports such as baseball, football, soccer, and basketball can of course offer an escape from life’s chaos as well. From a distance they may appear to be less spiritual than surfing, but these types of traditional sports can still allow you to enter a state of flow, just maybe not as often or easily. Being in a state of flow provides the highest sense of escape. Meaning, you're so engrossed in what you're doing that you detach from (and lose) all sense of time—you are just completely living in that moment and for that brief time in your day have no worries at all. The result of entering a state of flow for seconds, minutes or hours is what creates that buzz or the high that we all get from a great day of surfing—or any activity for that matter that allows you to enter that frame of mind and being.
Ian Gottron aka Gato Son mid trim. Photo by @jasonwrodriguez
So we’ve established that for many, surfing offers a tremendous reset physically and mentally. In addition to this, some surfers, like those on the Katin team gravitated to surfing over other athletic endeavors because it also offers a profound sense of self-expression.
Surfing has often been labelled as a sport. We even have the World Surfing League, the official organization for professional competitive surfing, and when watching one of their live events it feels like you are watching a classic ball sport by the way it’s presented. However, one of surfing’s most outspoken voices of the '60s, '70s and 80s, Nat Young, has always contended that surfing is not a sport, it's a performance art. And we couldn’t agree more.
Whilst Katin has supported competitive surfers since the 1960s and famously put on the Katin Team Challenge for many years, we are passionate in supporting surfers that express themselves through the art of surfing. And when you get right down to it, each surfer has his or her own way of expressing themselves. That expression and how we view it in its physical form is what surfers understand and describe as someone's “style." Style is a distinctive form or characteristic mode of execution in any art or body of work. And style is what creates a significant point of difference from the ball sports and other pursuits mentioned previously.
Saxon Wilson perched on the nose in trim. Photo by @seanstermonsterr
A surfer’s style can be traced all the way back to The Beach Boys of Waikiki and the surfers at Malibu. Surfers like Rabbit Kekai (Hawaii) and Matt Kivlin (California) set the standards. Miki Dora (California) himself points to Kivlin as “The Godfather of California surf style”, and credits his own approach to how smooth and effortless Kivlin made his surfing appear. While Paul Strauch (Hawaii) will point to surfers like Rabbit who set the bar for good style in Hawaii.
The idea of style can be interpreted in many ways, but most of the time it is understood that a surfer with “good style” adds beauty to the ride, and thus is very pleasing to watch. As pleasing as listening to good music or sitting down and appreciating really good art. Style is what you feel when you are surfing yourself, but it’s also something we all feel when we see it in the water. You just know it when you see it.
Style is what excites us at Katin, and we look forward to continuing to celebrate the individuals who we believe exude it. Since our very first pair of trunks, Katin has always believed that style matters, we’ve just referred to it as “Good Looks”.
Zack Flores executing a stylish bottom turn. Oh and that's Zack going switch foot! Photo by @laserwolf.laserwolf