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Life’s Swell

Longform is running the (really great) original Susan Orlean article that spawned “Blue Crush,” which, along with Liz Gilbert’s “The Muse of the Coyote Ugly Saloon,” gives all of us hope we may someday meet a celebrity playing a composite character of our own creation:

To be a girl surfer is even cooler, wilder, and more modern than being a guy surfer: Surfing has always been such a male sport that for a man to do it doesn’t defy any received ideas; to be a girl surfer is to be all that surfing represents, plus the extra charge of being a girl in a tough guy’s domain. To be a surfer girl in a cool place like Hawaii is perhaps the apogee of all that is cool and wild and modern and sexy and defiant. The Hana girls, therefore, exist at that highest point—the point where being brave, tan, capable, and independent, and having a real reason to wear all those surf-inspired clothes that other girls wear for fashion, is what matters completely. It is, though, just a moment. It must be hard to imagine an ordinary future and something other than a lunar calendar to consider if you’ve grown up in a small town in Hawaii, surfing all day and night, spending half your time on sand, thinking in terms of point breaks and barrels and roundhouse cutbacks. Or maybe they don’t think about it at all. Maybe these girls are still young enough and in love enough with their lives that they have no special foreboding about their futures, no uneasy presentiment that the kind of life they are leading now might eventually have to end.

I saw Kate Bosworth at the Amish Market once, but she was wearing a ton of clothes and wasn’t surfing or kissing Orlando Bloom, so it was kind of a let-down.


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