The Invisible Wave Rider: do you consider yourself an unphotographed surfer | Photo: SurferToday

Once upon a time, in the picturesque seaside town of No Pics, there lived a surfer who, despite his aquatic prowess and enviable wave-riding skills, found himself adrift in a sea of frustration.

This surfer, whom we shall call the Invisible Wave Rider, was plagued by an unending series of missed moments, lost opportunities, and a peculiar absence of pictorial evidence.

While he could carve the waves with the best of them, the cruel winds of fate seemed to conspire against him, leaving him without so much as a grainy snapshot to document his passion.

As the tides ebbed and flowed, the Invisible Wave Rider would take to social media, only to be greeted by a veritable tsunami of jealousy-inducing images and videos.

It seemed that every other surfer in the world - regardless of their skill level - had a dedicated surf photographer or videographer capturing their every move.

From breathtaking aerial shots to thrilling underwater perspectives, there was no shortage of material for these fortunate souls to share with the world.

Each time our hero bore witness to such a post, a single thought would reverberate through his mind: "Who is always ready to film and photograph these guys who post their accomplishments on social media?"

Was there some secret society of surfside paparazzi lurking in the shadows and waiting for the perfect moment to immortalize their subjects?

Or perhaps these surfers had somehow struck a deal with the very elements themselves, enlisting the aid of sentient seagulls and tech-savvy dolphins to document their exploits.

Surfing: what's the best ever photo taken of you riding a wave? | Illustration: SurferToday

Social Inexistence

As the Invisible Wave Rider pondered these questions, a sense of melancholy descended upon him like a dense fog.

He wondered if he was cursed, doomed to ride the waves in obscurity, his accomplishments forever hidden from the prying eyes of the world.

With each passing day, the desire to have his own slice of surf stardom grew stronger, gnawing at him like a hungry shark.

He couldn't help but feel that his existence was somehow incomplete, his life's narrative woefully lacking in visual testimony.

"Why isn't there someone who cares about me and is willing to capture my best waves from the beach?" he lamented, his voice barely audible above the roar of the ocean.

This simple question echoed within him like the howl of a lonely sea wolf, its plaintive cry a haunting reminder of his unfulfilled desires.

Photography: how can average surfers get picture of themselves riding waves? | Illustration: SurferToday

A Zero-Sum

As he continued to grapple with these existential quandaries, the Invisible Wave Rider began to notice that his plight was not unique.

Countless other surfers, swimmers, and beach bums were also bereft of visual proof of their seaside adventures, their lives playing out like an unrecorded symphony.

He found consolation in this realization, taking comfort in the knowledge that he was not alone in his struggle.

And yet, the question remained: why were some individuals so richly documented while others were left to languish in the photographic purgatory of anonymity?

The answer, dear reader, lies in the very nature of the human experience.

For every person blessed with a camera-ready entourage, there are countless others who must navigate the choppy waters of life without the benefit of a visual record.

It is a universal truth that, try as we might, we cannot control the lens through which the world sees us - or, indeed, whether it sees us at all.

Our lives are a swirling kaleidoscope of fleeting moments, and to capture them all would be an impossible task.

Like the ephemeral beauty of a crashing wave, these instances are doomed to recede into the sands of time, leaving only our memories to bear witness to their existence.

In the face of this harsh reality, the Invisible Wave Rider was faced with a choice.

He could continue to dwell on his lack of photographic evidence, allowing his frustration to erode his passion for the sport he loved.

Or, he could embrace the ephemeral nature of his experiences, reveling in the knowledge that his wave-riding feats were his own private treasure, a secret shared only with the ocean and the ever-watchful seagulls.

Surf photography: only a few surfers get their best waves captured | Photo: SurferToday

Alone With Everybody

It was then that our hero decided to embark on a journey of self-discovery, seeking the wisdom of the ancient surf gurus who had long roamed the coastline.

In their sage presence, he learned that the true essence of surfing lay not in the accolades and adoration of others but in the pure, unadulterated joy of riding the waves.

It was a simple yet profound truth, one that resonated deep within his very soul.

As the Invisible Wave Rider returned to the water, a newfound sense of peace and contentment washed over him.

No longer burdened by the need for external validation, he felt a renewed connection with the ocean, his board, and himself.

He began to understand that life, much like the waves he so loved, was a transient and ever-changing entity and that to seek permanence in such a fluid world was a fool's errand.

And so, dear reader, let us take a moment to consider our own lives and the ways in which we strive to immortalize our experiences.

Are we, too, guilty of seeking validation through the lens of others, or can we find solace and satisfaction in the knowledge that our most cherished moments are ours to savor, with or without photographic authentication?

Perhaps, in the end, it is not the images we collect that define us but the memories we create and the stories we share.

Surfing: a highly photographic sport | Illustration: SurferToday

The Inner Validation Teaching

As for the Invisible Wave Rider, he now surfs the waves with a heart unburdened by the shackles of envy and frustration.

His newfound wisdom has taught him that the pursuit of external validation is as fickle as the ocean's tides and that true fulfillment comes from within.

He may not have a gallery of awe-inspiring photos or a collection of breathtaking videos to show his children, grandchildren, family, and friends, but the tales of his adventures will live on in their minds, a testament to the power of storytelling and the indomitable human spirit.

So let us raise our surfboards in salute to the Invisible Wave Rider and his fellow unsung heroes of the surf, who ride the waves not for the adoration of the masses but for the sheer joy of communing with the ocean.

In doing so, they remind us all of a fundamental truth: that life is a journey best measured not in likes, shares, or retweets but in the richness of our experiences and the depth of our connections with the world around us.

As the sun sets on another day, painting the sky in hues of gold and crimson, we can rest assured that the Invisible Wave Rider will continue to carve the waves with the same passion and fervor as before.

And though his exploits may never grace the pages of social media or the screens of our devices, they are no less significant or awe-inspiring.

For it is in these untold stories, these unrecorded moments, that the true essence of life can be found.

Like a hidden gem, nestled in the sands and waiting to be discovered, the Invisible Wave Rider's adventures will forever remain a testament to the power of perseverance, self-discovery, and the indomitable human spirit.

Photos: what's the best surfing picture you have of yourself? | Illustration: SurferToday

Surfing: A Magical Ephemeral Experience

In conclusion, the frustration of being a surfer without photos or videos of one's exploits may seem insurmountable at first.

However, as the tale of the Invisible Wave Rider teaches us, the pursuit of external validation is a fleeting and ultimately unfulfilling endeavor.

By embracing the ephemeral nature of our experiences and finding joy in the simple act of riding the waves, we can transcend the need for photographic proof and discover a deeper, more profound connection with ourselves and the world around us.

And so, as we stand on the shores of our own lives, gazing out at the vast and ever-changing ocean before us, let us remember the story of the Invisible Wave Rider and the wisdom he gained.

In doing so, we can learn to appreciate the beauty and the mystery of our own unrecorded moments and find solace in the knowledge that our greatest accomplishments need not be measured by the number of likes or shares they receive but by the indelible mark they leave on our hearts and souls.


Words by Anna Islington | Surfer and Author

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