One downside to being a young surfer is you constantly have to answer to the criticism of the older generation.

“You should do something productive with your time instead of hanging out at the beach all weekend long.”

“Whatever you say, grandma.”

Why is it that, just because I surf, people assume I’m a burden on society? Too many times, to too many complete strangers, I’ve tried to explain myself only to leave the conversation feeling more misunderstood than when it began.

Truth is, the world would blow without surfers. We do more for the rest of the world than you probably realize. For one thing, surfing is the main form of exercise for at least half the population of Isla Vista. So without surfing, there would be a bunch of fat, unattractive people walking around with nothing to do. Think about watching people in bathing suits ride their bikes down DP the next time you start bitching about how surfers never do anything productive.

Without surfing, the word “dude” would still refer to “a man much too concerned with his clothes and appearance” or “a city fellow or tourist who is vacationing on a ranch.” Thanks to us, there is now one word that can mean “Hey, I haven’t seen you in a while,” “That was really messed up,” “That guy/girl is really hot,” “I totally agree with you,” “That wave was awesome” or even “Fill me up again, barkeep.”

Some surfers have stepped up their contribution to society even further. The Surfrider Foundation has chapters worldwide that work to preserve and protect the oceans and beaches. That’s right, lazy unproductive surfers keeping the water clean for the rest of you working people. Take that.

Another group of lazy surfers, SurfAid International, provides money and resources to the inhabitants of third-world regions that are blessed with perfect surf – think Fiji, Indonesia and even areas of Africa. SurfAid has been a leader in the relief effort to help tsunami victims.

Most importantly, without surfing there would be a lot of people in the world with nothing to do. Think about it; the beaches would be too crowded to lay a towel down, the bars would be full of drunks at 1 in the afternoon, the line at Freebirds would be an hour long and, worst of all, people might even go to class.