Is Instagram ruining the (surf) world?

Words by Ben Mondy

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Now at first this little spat above might seem like just another online bitch fight between two well-known American surf photographers (Jimmy Wilson of Surfing Mag and Chris Burkard). Surf photographers, if you haven’t come across this subspecies of human, are a fairly odd collective. Often raised by wolves and/or foster parents, they are lovable mix of artistic temperament, commercial aspiration, aggressive possessiveness and social psychopathy. Of course we can’t complain; the result of that rocket fuel mix of unhinged DNA is that we get to look at endless stream of incredible surf shots.

And that, I think, is the point being made by these two esteemed lensmen. Instagram has provided an easily used and very addictive platform for everyone to share the moments they experienced only seconds ago.

(Warning: Name drop coming) Now last week Shane Dorian told me that after his epic big wave in Jaws last October, he paddled in, climbed the cliffs, got to his car and checked his phone. On his phone was a text from his wife, with the youtube link for his wave. That was less that 45 minutes since he actually took off, and already there was thousands of views, and it was piling up.

Now at least that was worthy, no one can say a 60 foot Jaws spitting tube is not worth sharing. When it’s a photo of someone’s castrated dog, a lineup shot of an uninspiring beachbreak or fucking sunset however, you have to question both the motivation of the “experience sharer" and the “experience receiver". Has it got to the point, where our own personal experience is no longer enough. We have to share it, to validate it. We are now incapable of simply enjoying the moment.

Now I don’t want to come across as one those, “It was all good in the old days," type of dudes. When the surf was always good and always empty, people wrote love letters with their bare hands and nubile nymphs cavorted about offering free beer, sex and house renovations. Nope I’m on record as saying social media has enriched my life, but I’m just saying maybe Instagram has reached a tipping point, where overuse and oversharing, has started to take away the very benefits of looking into other people’s lives.

The question is this; Is Instagram ruining the world?

Sterling's Instagram hasn't ruined the world... It's made it better, no?

Box Gap Official's Instagram probably hasn't ruined the world yet...

Julian's Instagram is borderline. Mostly girls professing their love/lust for him.

Stab have definitely 100% ruined everything... It's all their fault. But haven't they done it well!!!