Prologue – ’04

The author F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote that in the summer of 1920, just after the release of his first novel This Side Of Paradise (which made him an overnight sensation), he was in New York City, driving a convertible down Broadway on a hot summer night. He’d been drinking, and he began to cry because he suddenly realized that life would never be as sweet and good again.

This past year we’ve watched as surfing has bloomed. In 2004, new surf scenes popped up where you never would have guessed, from Canada to Oman.

In fashion, surfing’s taken a leading role. New Yorkers are showing up for parties at posh restaurants in flip-flops, and mainstream mags are replacing thousand-dollar-an-hour models with professional surfers for their style sections.

The mainstream media is practically stalking surfing-everything from Andy Irons on the cover of Men’s Health to moody portraits of surfing greats in New York Times Magazine, from TV shows like The North Shore to Cameron Diaz constantly holding a surfboard (that thing must be surgically attached to her armpit).

With all the attention come proper paychecks, too. In 2004, guys like Parko, Kelly, Andy, Taj, and Bruce have started to see NBA money. And you know what? They should!

The World Tour is incredible-great venues, the best surfers on Earth, a new dynasty is in the works, it’s on TV, and guys are getting winning scores for doing airs.

Admittedly, 2004 wasn’t the best year for everyone. Koby Abberton had a shocker. So did Mick Fanning, who spent most of it on crutches at the pub. Until France, Bruce couldn’t seem to place higher than equal seventeenth on the World Tour, and rumors began to circulate that he was over the ‘CT.

But when you take a look back at ’04, you realize surfing is at an all-time high, whether you’re talking about performance, personality, or accessibility. So the question is, do we mope around like F. Scott and spend the rest of our lives trying to recapture this moment? Or do we take a quick look back, reflect on the beauty of the past year, learn some lessons, and use it all as inspiration to make 2005 that much better?

Choose wisely. It’s your future.-Joel Patterson