Surfing Legend Laird Hamilton Praises Bondi Beach
Hawaiian surfer Laird Hamilton has over 30 years experience in the water, but it was only recently that he visited Bondi Beach for the first time.
The 50-year-old legend hit the sand at Bondi in May and, despite the decidedly flat surf when he was here, he saw the potential and natural beauty of Bondi straight away.
“This is in the top 10 beaches and cultures in the world, they don’t get much better than this,” he told local media.
While other visitors to this iconic surf spot might be less enthusiastic to find calm waters when they are here, Hamilton’s lifelong experience (he started surfing at three years of age) helped him see the assets Bondi always has to offer.
“You don’t get better water, better sand,” he says, “This is as good as it gets.”
Hamilton’s optimism in the face of placid conditions highlights his creative side. As well as being credited with introducing stand up boards to mainstream society, he has experience with almost every water sport and has developed a range of equipment and merchandise.
But Hamilton says the commercial and competitive side of traditional board surfing risks stifling this creativity and creates short-sightedness around the value of being at the beach.
“…The one thing I feel that hasn’t changed enough has been that there’s not enough creative parts of surfing,” he says.
“It seems that surfing has become less creative in its variety, than it was when I was a kid. Given the fact that we have equipment that has never been better and more people doing it, it seems like we have less variety than ever.”
While competition can lead to a narrowed perception of what is “good” surfing (or “good” surf conditions), Hamilton believes the creativity can be kept alive with innovations like stand up boards.
He also says considering the roots of surfing could lead to more creativity, freedom and appreciation of the surf.
“When I was a kid there was no business of surfing. Surfing was an activity that people did,” he says.
So perhaps bringing fun back into surfing is what it takes to see the value of a beach like Bondi, regardless of whether the surf is flat or rippling with waves.