Hace tiempo que sigo The Endless Bumber, blog de Nueva York, en el que se ofrecen contenidos retros y un surf desenfrenado lejos del prototipo que en ocasiones tan empalagoso resulta. Contacté con Toddy Stewart quien se ofreció a participar con nosotros de buena gana. Resulta curioso escuchar a un aficionado de un lugar más lejos al que solemos conocer. En este caso puede apreciarse como hay conceptos comunes a los nuestros a la vez que me ha llamado la atención cómo entiende el Surf en una ciudad de las dimensiones de Nueva York. En definitiva, vale la pena pararse a leer a Toddy Stewart.
How long have you been surfing in your life?
I started lusting after surfing, in true land-locked wannabe fashion when I was around 14. I grew up the child of a ski-patrolman, so until that moment my life revolved around skiing and snowboarding. I got my first taste of "waves" when I was 16 and started flailing in the water consistently when I was 18. I am still flailing now, 20 years later.
How is the oldest memory on a board?
I don't know if it's the oldest, but I remember the day Geoff Akins, Jon Thollander and I paddled out at what, at the time, I thought was "massive" Oxnard beach break. It took me eons to get out and when I did, I just paddled past the lineup and laid on my board for fifteen minutes, trying to catch my breath and get my confidence back. It was probably chest high.
What’s your opinion about the actual system of ASP World Tour?
I am pretty agnostic about professional "points" surfing. Intellectually, I don't get it from an aesthetic point of view. Big maneuver, stop and pop, slash and burn. It seems silly and somehow inappropriate. Then again, I have this guilty pleasure of watching the online live feeds of the heats at the major events, so I guess I must like it on some guttural, emotional level.
What are your preferences when you take your car for go surfing? Do you prefer looking for quality waves or a calm site where there aren’t many people?
One of the odd joys of surfing before the internet age was the lack of surf report. The radio fishing report or the call-in number or word of mouth was all we had. I got into surfing right before the full advent of the internet, so I had a handful of years there where all we could do was drive and look and drive and look. I don't want to be pegged as a "the good old days were better" sort of curmudgeon, but I really liked that uncertainty and maybe even the continual disappointment. Nowadays I tend to pull up, get out and if there is some semblance of something ridable and a thin crowd, I'll surf without checking anywhere else. I don't want to hassle with finding the perfect spot. It feels good enough to get into some uncrowded water.
What’s your opinion about the “boom” in surfing world in the last 15 years?
It's a little funny, a little sad, a bit of "c'est la vie."
What about the education in the water? It’s appropiate in your area?
Anytime there is water involved, education is really important. It's just too dangerous not to understand it, even if it seems placid and manageable. People in the water are generally as smart or stupid as they are on land. That's one of the great things about surfing: you get to know someone's value system, who they really are, by watching how they act in the lineup.
What’s your favourite spot? Tell us about the possibilities there.
I miss the point breaks in California. I miss them so much. I miss San Onofre and I miss Swami's and I miss all those little points in Santa Barbara. I recently bought a house in Mastic Beach on Long Island so I could spend more time right next to the ocean. I reckon whether there's surf or not, that's my favorite spot right now.
Your favourite quiver?
I have a couple longboards and a Vaquero and a Takayama speed egg and an old 70s single fin and some other beaters stored in a basement in California. I'd love to get a little fish or a Casper, that would probably fill things out appropriately. But really, if I had to just choose one board I'd have to use that Vaquero. It's just such a direct feeling. Plus, if it were the only thing to ride, it would force me to move somewhere with more point breaks.
Where would you spend one mounth?
I'd like to spend a month in Australia, driving around, surfing, seeing friends. I'd also like to spend a month on a boat in the Adriatic sea in the middle of the hot summer, drinking wine, smoking cigarettes and seeing friends. I'd also love to spend a month in West Africa, making new friends.
What do you think of epoxy?
It's sorta harder to repair right? Or is it easier? I don't know.
And finally, could you tell us about the surfing in your country?
We'll, I guess that would be New York. New York is sorta it's own country. Surfing in NY is a pain in the ass. Mostly because NY is a pain in the ass. And NY is a pain in the ass because to live in NY you've gotta pay these pain-in-the-ass bills and work a ton and there's all this creative energy that drives you to work that much even if you didn't have to pay all those bills and really all this NY stuff makes it difficult to find time to make the long trek out to the beach to surf some junky waves. And then, when the waves get good, you're outta shape and your confidence is really low because you haven't spent enough time in the water, and when you do get out there you make a fool of yourself. Or you just get snaked by some flirts time kook out for a trendy joy ride. So yeah, it's pretty lame. I wouldn't trade it for anything at the moment.