Honolulu Lite

Charles Memminger

School surf teams
will wipe out rebel
wave culture

The Association of Former High School Students Who Had to Cut out of School to Go Surfing hereby goes on the record as being against (heartily) the establishment of high school surfing teams.

As president and founder of the hastily founded AOFHSSWHTCOOSTGS (known as the AFHSSWHCOSGS for short), I can unequivocally state that we intended to show up to give testimony at the recent Board of Education hearing on making surfing a school team sport but, having cut out of school so much ourselves and missing several key classes on organization, scheduling is not our strong suit.

Our key argument against officially sanctioned school surfing teams is, What do these little punks think they're trying to pull?

Back in the old days, in order to go surfing during the school week, you had to first con your parents out of a car, coming up with some plausible reason why it was necessary for a 16-year-old, ostensibly going to class, to have in his possession a Vista Cruiser station wagon all day. This was no easy feat and, frankly, in retrospect I have no idea how we accomplished it, although I suspect there was a lot of whining involved.

After getting the car, you had to pick up your surfing buddies from school secretly so that other jerks wouldn't catch on to what you were doing and rat you out to your teachers. Then you had to make sure that you didn't crash the car on the way to the beach, because any news coverage of a station wagon burning on the side of the roadway with youngsters writhing in pain, with broken surfboards littering the shoulder, was sort of a giveaway that you hadn't actually gone to the library after all.

Then you had to make sure that you didn't get too sunburned while surfing because to say goodbye to the folks in the morning while pale as the inside of a cucumber, only to surface several hours later as red and burned as a Redondo hot dog, was not good.

Then came the nasty business of writing a fake note from your parent to the teacher explaining why you weren't in class. The note had to be a good one because teachers, boy, they just don't trust anyone and they have the instincts of forensic pathologists.

And if you were going to surf often during school days, you or someone in your surfing gang had to run this gantlet again and again.

BUT THIS IS what surfing is all about: independence, enterprise, self-gratification ... getting away with gross misdemeanors.

And these kids today want to try to convince the school board that surfing is a healthy physical activity? That as a competitive sport, surfing is as legitimate as football and golf? That students not only should be allowed to surf during the school week, but encouraged and given little team logo shirts and jackets, to boot?

It just doesn't seem right. And that isn't just jealousy talking. OK. There's some jealousy talking. Actually, it's jealousy whining and yelling at the top of its voice. But think of what we learned while cutting class to go surfing: creative thinking, innovative storytelling, good driving habits, epidermal biology, penmanship ... Man, we should have gotten extra credit.

Surfing will lose its historical cultural identity if it becomes a legit school sport. Just say no, dudes.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. E-mail


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