Colonial Surfer - The ReSearch is a project about the contemporary globalized world and power structures within the surf industry and its realm. Surfing is not just a sport but also culture, producer and distributor. In current discussions you hear about the post-colonial but the situation today is better described as neo-colonial. Surfers do travel a lot and sometimes to places unknown to other tourists. The way surfers behave and represent themselves in the adventures search of perfect waves has a lot in common with ancient colonizers and their roles. To surf maintain and conserve already existing structures. History.

Editor: Kristoffer Svenberg

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


The picture to the left is from Nairobi Kenya and was posted on instagram by the user asplundj. It brought up an immense amount of reactions on twitter a few days ago. This was because people considered it as a racist act and photo. The two white guys in the picture are from Sweden. Johan Asplund, which is to the right in the picture, is wearing a t-shirt with the text: BEVARA NEGERBOLLEN. Translated into English it means literally: SAVE THE NIGGER BALL. And the word negerboll (nigger ball/negro ball) has earlier been used as the common name for a Swedish dessert and sweet that is balls made on cacao as one of the ingredients. These guys demonstrate through the t-shirt in the picture that they are fighting for the right to be allowed to "continue" to say, and name this dessert, negro/nigger balls.
But why do they fight for such a thing? What does it really benefit the world if those two privileged guys are allowed (which they already are in a way) to express themselves with words that by others can be perceived as insulting, offensive and racist. Chocolate ball (chokladboll) is a more appropriate name and common in Sweden today.

In the picture to the right two professional surfers, Taylor Knox and Conner Coffin, are posing along with two women. The women in the picture are present without any names. And these women do not act independent in the picture as strong and free individual identities. The key reason for these women's presence in the image is that they carry heavy water on their heads and that they look exotic. These women do not get their own space for maneuver in identity by the picture. The surf company on the other hand, that is behind the Instagram profile, and the two surfers, do benefit. Cause on a level about identity they are somehow consuming these two women and the surrounding environment. The company and the surfers are strengthening their roles as free traveling nomads, while the ladies are depicted as exotic stereotypes. To read from the guy faces there is something humorous about the picture. But what does that humor relate to?

The problems with all these images are the same. They are part of a racist structure where hierarchies come into play and organize the world into power positions and already fixed roles. These problematic structures are abundantly present in our contemporary world and take part in how stories are being told. This is something important to break for a more equal world order. And it is about changing the history, or at least the future, since this is something that relates all the way back to ancient colonialism.