Tuesday, February 27, 2007


~art by Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin describing aspects and powers of the tube in art, life and surfing:
GRIFFIN: The tube. That was really a good vehicle for changing gears in a story. Even before I realized it, how pure it was, I intuitively knew the tube is kind of like a mystery spot. When I first started surfing, I thought the object was to stand on a plank, and ride the foam in toward the shore. When I was told the object was to angle down the beach and remain in the unbroken part of the wave, and that you could actually ride inside the curl of the wave, I didn't even believe it. I said, "No, that's not possible," and was told, "Yeah, you can ride in there, and if it's a small wave you have to crouch down, and if it's a big enough wave you can stand up inside there, and actually be totally surrounded by a tunnel of moving water, and not be knocked down by it, and actually come back out of it." I really doubted that, because I always thought of a wave as a force that crashed and roared its way up to the beach. But actually what it is, the water is not the wave, the wave is the energy moving through the water, the energy lifts the water up, as the energy rolls up on the shore, and as the energy begins to sound the bottom, it's forced upwards and it pulls the water up with it, and the gravity begins to pull the water off the energy, it topples forward -- but because it has this forward momentum, it pitches out and creates a tubing curling action. The whole object of surfing is to try to get in the tube. That's the whole point to surfing, to get tubed. It's like bullfighting or any type of sport where it's one man contending with the forces of nature, whether they be in another animal -- like bullfighting -- or like skiing. Skiing can be parallel to it, but somehow surfing is really pure, because it's water, man. What needs to be said about water? Water is water, energy is energy and a wave is a combination of the two. It has inertia and momentum, and the object is to blend with it as much as you can and still retain your identity, because the tube is constantly collapsing and if you get too far back in there, it collapses and you collapse with it. You get wiped out. If you get too far out in front of it, you're out on the shoulder of the wave, and it's slower out there. You don't get that real excitement. So the tube, like I said, is always a mystery spot, and I used it to transport my character into these different realms.


Mick said...

I had the Surfer issue that had that bit of Griffin magic. I was 14 or 15 and would sit and just gaze at it. (And try and figure it out)
The number of times I tried to emulate those waves in my schoolbooks I couldn't count.

Jgirl said...

I read this post last night after a few tiny puffs and I had an epiphany....
Wish I would have written it down because I cant remember what it was now.....
his morning my 8 year old asked me "mom, have you ever been 'spinded'?"....eventually fig'd out she meant barreled, she wanted to know all about it and what it felt like to be in there and if I thought it would ever happen to her. Basically the first interest she has ever shown in surfing. It really is all about that barrel.