PLASTIC WAVE – editor Song Min

The history of human civilization is divided with regards to the tool they used in respective ages: stone, bronze and iron. Then it is only fair if we call this epoch ‘plastic age’. The convenience of plastics needs no explanation. They’re cheap, made in simple processes and easy to produce in scale; consumers can expect diverse products in uniform quality at a bargain. They brought in a new age, just like the industrial revolution did.

150 years into the age of plastics, we’re now used to getting things we want within days, if not hours. New innovative products are being made ever more faster, and it’s getting more convenient and faster every minute. Nobody, however, could have guessed how harmful the plastics could be when they were first discovered, just as we were ignorant of the dangers of radioactivity when we first discovered the use of atomic energy. As we grow more and more reliant on plastics, tremendous amount of them are being trashed. Their existence can never be natural. The man-made chemical compound is taking its toll on the earth, devastating it.

Surfing is like a gift from the nature: it is only possible through countless natural phenomena working in harmony. The very fact that we, surfers, should rely on the nature allowed us to learn how to wait, a rare feat for our time. We’re living in a fast and convenient plastic world. Waiting can be long and tedious.

I keep hearing the news of a new wave pool here and there. It can give you waves you’ve been dreaming of. As a fellow surfer, I, too, was excited to ride such waves and forget about waiting whatsoever.

Around this time last year, I had an opportunity to go surfing on a wave pool with my close friends. It was located in the mountains of Gangwon-do. Driving to the pool gave me strange feelings. Going surfing, on a mountain? You’re getting closer to the waves by literally going higher up. I don’t know how to explain how I felt at the time. Waters were warm and you could ride the waves any time. I had such a great time there, one that I’ll remember a lot.

I think the wave pools will suit the needs of the surfers of our time, who are living busy exhausting work life. In the near future, we might be able to go surfing with friends anytime anywhere. But it worries me at the same time. The waves of the ocean keep us waiting, but doesn’t it make them all the more beautiful? As much as surfing is about riding the waves on a surfboard, it’s also about trying to communicate with and accept nature as it is. Surfing on the artificial waves may satisfy our desire for surfing, but I am concerned we might start to care less about the essence of surfing we all love.

Waiting for something is a way to tell how much you miss it. You wait for it because you miss them so much; the longer you wait, the sincerer your sentiment becomes. When there’s a wave pool in my neighborhood, I’ll be among the first one to go running there. But I also want you to think about it, how your love of surfing is shown by how you wait and miss for the waves. I want to be ready before we actually find out there’s something harmful about it.