Friday, May 02, 2008

the festival of books: surf culture

I wasn't sure what this panel would entail, but I really enjoyed Kem Nunn's Pomona Queen as well as Antoine Wilson's The Interloper. Plus, surf literature didn't make much of an appearance in my dissertation and I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something important. The panel itself was more focused on surfing than books, however. I was most interested in Steven Kotler's thoughts on how surfing activates more pleasure transmitters in the brain than almost any other activity. Although Antoine Wilson might give surfing a run for its money...

The panelists (from left to right above: Steve Hawk, Steven Kotler, Kem Nunn, David Rensin) discussed what surf culture is, subculture separateness, surf language in transition, Yanni, tossing away your parents' words, Miki Dora: asshole or embodiment of the rebel art of surfing, John from Cincinatti, The Wild One, Gidget, the California dream, commodification of the sport, going to pot, finding waves to yourself, surfing as metonym for freedom, toxic runoff, surfer as environmentalist, Patagonia, surfing as disrespectful bastard child, neurochemical reactions of openness, curling, the surfing dream state, little kids chasing thrills, checking account ads, surfing and writing, Orange County surf magazines, David Milch, the Internet, reportage, West of Jesus: Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief, surf noir, Dog Soldiers, Huntington Beach, Gidget again, Tapping the Source, The Beach Boys, Mike Doyle, never having a job as David Rensin's greatest accomplishment, oral history, Edie: American Girl, Studs Turkel, adrenaline and meditation responses, and the brain's gateway into mystical experience.