WORDS & PHOTOS Marcus Bandy
I ride for my pleasure only: no thanks. Professionalism will be completely destructive to any control an individual has over the sport at present. The organizers will call the shots, collect the profits, while the waverider does all the labor and receives little. Also, since surfing’s alliance with the decadent big-business interests is designed only as a temporary damper to complete fiscal collapse, the completion of such a partnership will serve only to accelerate the art’s demise. A surfer should think carefully before selling his being to these “people”, since he’s signing his own death warrant as a personal entity. – Miki Dora
If you don’t know who Miki Dora is, well, he’s one of the most iconic Malibu surfers of the 1950’s and 1960s. He was a lone wolf, an innovator, and as you can imagine via the above quote, his rallying against the commercialization of surfing also made him a black sheep. I must mention that the dude was also a bigot, and although I believe the ideas expressed in the quote above are of contemporary interest in boardsports in general, and skateboarding in particular, by quoting him and discussing the quote I in no way align myself or Wheelbase Magazine with any bigotry, racism, or the like. Contrarily, I despise such things and am interested only in giving voice to skateboarders of all races, creeds, colors, styles, preferences, approaches, and inclinations. That’s wassup!
Anyway, the above quote is said to have been Dora’s response to a question asking if he’d enter a longboard surfing contest in return for a hefty wad of cash. Obviously, he was not down for that.
I’m specifically interested in the above indess in that they reflects a clear mistrust in the relationship between art and business—challenging this very real relationship which is alive and well today, and in skateboarding in particular. Although I don’t necessarily agree with Miki’s rigid sentiment of full abstinence regarding this relationship—because I still believe there is balance to be found—I do in fact know that the ongoing relationship between passionate riders and the industry continues to have serious affects on the community at large—be it skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, or the like. I pretty sure you could say as much for music or any other creative industry as well.
At this point in the game, I don’t believe I’ll ever give the industry a straight up “fuck you”—it’s just not my style—but I do have my concerns that too much manipulation from “Dark Men”, who’s motives are clearly profit first, pose a very real threat to the culture I love.
Similar to Miki, I ride for pleasure, but not just my pleasure—I think that’s why I understand him but don’t fully agree with his ideology. See, I ride and run this mag to inspire and give voice to others who share in the unabashed and passionate quest for adventure and exploration via the Magic Rolling Board. Through photography, videography, touring, events, writing, conversations, and giving voice to a wide swath of otherwise voiceless skaters via this magazine, I attempt to balance the scales between profit and passion. I do this not through taking a stand against, but rather taking action for—ACTION NOW to inspire and provide a positive reflection, as well as tangible manifestations, of true stoke and persiverence. The struggle is real and ongoing, but fire doesn’t quench fire—water does that.