A commentary and history of SLSA and the SL surfing community, by Flynn Sheridan
I have witnessed a lot different interactions and relationships in my time, when I was actively participating or watching over Cierra’s shoulders over the past six years. I’ve gotten involved in some heated discussions and conflicts, which eventually made me decide to bail out because it made me that unhappy. But there are two things I have learned over the years. One is from a lifetime of experience, the other is from Cierra guiding me with her own wisdom.
The first is that if I have a conflict with another person, that conflict is between me and them. I do not involve other people, because I believe it is our problem not anyone else’s. My closest friends can decide on their own their thoughts, feelings, and ultimately relationships with that person I might be in conflict with and it is not fair for me to get them to side with me. I would not appreciate being pressured into taking sides with a person I like between two “friends”.
The other took me a while to learn and has helped me be a better person… I am still learning it too. That wisdom is when I am mad about something (and I am an Irish redhead) I can say some really angry things. Cierra has taught me to write it out and wait a day, cool down and if I feel the same way… OK send it out. Otherwise, I think about what I really wanted to say and rewrite things from a calmer perspective.
There has always been conflict and anger between people in our surfing community since I’ve been around. That is real and no different from RL, and I’ve been around from almost the beginning of our community. When SLSA was first formed and just before the first comp even began, there was a very real and angry discussion about how things should be done. And it destroyed at least two relationships. I regret that today.
At the end of the comp I walked away from SLSA, which was far from fair, and another thing I regret. Because SLSA needed me and I needed it and the community. But that is spilled milk. I see and feel a lot of anger that can be resolved. I do not think most people in our community do or say things to hurt others. I just believe that we need to think about what we say and do, discuss what we individually think with the right person and allow ourselves to cool down before we say angry things we will regret later.
Like any family and community, it takes all kinds. And we may not always agree, but we all have the same goal. Love of the waves and surfing them the best we can, and sharing that stoke with each other.