No waves? Not a problem.
More and more surfers, who for generations have sought ways to mimic the sensation of riding waves when the ocean goes flat, are discovering the fine art of tarp surfing.
By skating on longboards and using other people to creatively unfurl billowing tarps in a manner that closely resembles breaking waves, they’re able to tuck beneath a spinning curtain and get barreled in what’s becoming — thanks to the video age — an artsy board sport unto its own.
Skateboarding was invented by surfers, who, nearly 50 years ago, needed ways to keep the thrill going when the waves were flat. It was called sidewalk surfing early on, but as the sport evolved they began riding in empty pools and on concrete banks to simulate the moves they were making in waves.
Tarp surfing is taking skateboarding’s surfing roots to the next level by simulating the surfer’s cherished feeling of a tube ride, riding through a spinning cavern of liquid. Santa Cruz surfer Homer Henard has given the new hobby a giant shot in the arm by spoofing of a former 90s pro returning to the spotlight in this creative clip that demonstrates the thrill. The video has been viewed by nearly two million people after it was posted on YouTube last month.
Surfers across the country are now emptying tarps from the hardware store shelves, and tarp-surfing sessions are popping up all over the Web. Henard and his crew say it’s developing into a full-blown craze.
They’ve even developed a full quiver of boards made specifically for riding atop tarps spread out like a blue ocean, and to make turns as the tarps are pulled upward and over their heads.
For tarp surfers, the perfect wave is never far from reach. All that’s missing are water and, of course, crowds.