March is a special time of the year: spring begins, and with the blooming of the flowers also comes the blooming of facial hair in the form of the most masculine symbol in the history of the world — the mustache. There are naysayers (there always are when you are doing something great), but these are usually women who will sadly never understand the joy of owning one of these bristly artifacts which became popularized circa 1972. Times have changed since then, and with things such as asexual jeans seeping further into male culture, its important for us to have something to hold on to.
The mustache has always been a friend of the surfer, with the pipeline master himself Gerry Lopez using his mustache hairs like little antenna to feel his way through countless barrels. During his time in the limelight, being a surfer and being mustache-clad were guaranteed by each other, probably more so than in any other sport besides NASCAR.
Now the surf scene has changed, and most surfers no longer look like they are moonlighting as adult film stars. Perhaps this is a good thing, with professional surfers looking more professional and appearing to be much better role models than the mustache-wearing, cocaine-snorting pro surfers of the 1980s. Still, the mustache has lain dormant for quite some time now, only emerging in the professional surf scene in the form of Donavon Frankenreiter’s walrus-like broom. The slow and painful demise of this relic is sad, with the once-sterling reputation of upper lip fuzz being tainted every time we turn on the TV and find everyone on the America’s Most Wanted list donning some type of ‘stache. Has the mustache become menacing? Maybe even perverse? In short, yes, it most certainly has. Gerry’s is long gone, fallen victim to the sharpened justice of a Schick Quattro. My dad even shaved his mustache last year after shredding waves and looking questionable for nearly 40 years.
Now the last refuge for the mustache is the month of March, and for these 31 days we can get away with facial hair murder. We’ve all surfed Campus Point on crowded days with soft-top jockeys dropping right in on you whether you are Kelly Slater or Joe Blow. However, when you throw a mustache into the mix, you create an entirely different situation at the top of the point. Would anyone dare to drop in on Burt Reynolds? How about Charles Bronson? Absolutely not, as the hyper-masculinity of their facial hair would quickly discourage any kind of shenanigans.
The mustache has had plenty of fine ambassadors from Freddie Mercury to Gandhi, but these great mustache-wearers are always overshadowed by those that hold the mustache back in the world. The mustache’s good name has been tainted, and now when you show your face with a line of hair above your lip there is always the risk that someone will assume you drive an ice cream truck around the local middle school in your free time.
I think it is time that the surfing community unites and proves that the mustache still holds a positive place in society. I’m not just talking about for the month of March, but for the entire calendar year. Let’s show people that a mustache can mean that you get off on getting barreled and not on dreams of having your own Neverland Ranch. Call me a dreamer, but I think that it’s possible. For now let’s just see how March goes, and take baby steps toward a more mustachio’d future: a future where our children can aspire to grow mustaches of their own. That’s the world that I want to live in.