Surfing has changed a lot since the ’60s. In many places, those free-floating days of good waves and a few friends are gone, replaced by something a little meaner, and little darker, a little more rushed. It’s people surfing before work, intent on surfing as many waves as possible before punching that time card. It’s people who are only surfing to catch waves.
A big part of the reason that surfing has exploded in popularity, however, is that the lifestyle surrounding it–the same one that, ironically, has diminished with the influx of people attracted to it–involves so much more than simply riding a wave. Sure, that’s what’s at the heart of it, but those long, sunny days at the beach surrounded by good friends and good waves, those days where you surf until you’re surfed out, then wait until you’re not surfed out before surfing again… if the wave itself is the core, that’s the candy coating. When it comes to California, no one personifies that lifestyle more so than Miki Dora–although Dora himself didn’t exactly subscribe to it. He has, however, become a symbol for the way it used to be. People like Dora and places like Windansea Surf Club shaped surfing’s present mold.
There are still places, though, where that mentality is still alive and well. Kepa Acero, a man who spends the vast majority of his life traveling alone in search of not only waves but experiences, found one of those places in the tiny village of Burriana. “There is a utopic place in the Mediterranean Sea where surfing… it’s all about surf, fun, and love,” Acero says. “And I conclude that Dora still lives in Burrifornia.”