Surfing in 2050: A Day in the Life of a Future Wave Rider

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Happy New Year — it’s 2050! The sun’s still rising, the waves are still breaking, but the game’s changed. Surfing, once a simple glide on the ocean, has morphed into something more… something curated, controlled, wired, and wild. Strap in and ride with me through this technocratic surf scene.

Morning Surf Check

The morning starts not with coffee but with data streaming straight into my brain. My neural implant, a silent whisperer of the digital age, spills the secrets of tides and waves before I even roll out of bed. Offshore breeze, shoulder-high runners. It’s a mix of old-school surf stoke and cutting-edge tech.

Ah, the humble surf check — a cocktail of tradition, neurochemicals, and transistors.

But before I choose my playground — ocean or wave pool — I get the lowdown on water quality. The seas aren’t what they used to be; we’ve got to dodge acidic currents and endless effluent. My implant does the dirty work, serving up the cold, hard facts of our human footprint. It’s salty out there today.

Despite cleanup efforts, the local desalination plant releases a cascade of brine that not only desecrates our local marine ecosystem but irritates eyes and skin. Who would’ve thought that creating clean drinking water would impact the surf experience? I guess it’s for the greater good.

Ocean vs. Wave Pool

The eternal surfer’s dilemma. Do I crave the unpredictable embrace of Mother Ocean, toxic brine suds and all, or the manicured perfection of the local wave pool? I have a choice. Free will. I ponder where decisions come from, how they emerge, and why I would select one option over the other. Despite the pollution, I feel the raw, untamed call of the sea. There’s still magic in the ocean’s madness.

I’ve never been a true pooler, even though I have earned the required credentials for entry. Pool access requires a level 7 Social Credit score or above — and such people tend to be a bit pretentious for my liking.

Dressing in Second Skin

Gone are the days of neoprene. I slip into my Second Skin, a sheath of nanotech that shields me from the harsh glare of the sun and insulates me from the cold. It clings like a lover and guards like a sentinel. Second Skin calibrates as it expands over my body and limbs, rippling in waves until it settles in place. A thin, protective film covers my face, protecting me from UVA and UVB. I heard about zinc oxide and other stuff humans used to plaster on themselves before going surfing. Nowadays, you get issued a Second Skin each year, and that’s all you need. It’s your fashion, your sports apparel, and your adaptive environmental shield. With a Social Credit score of 8, I get the penultimate model. It’s the SS 9.7 made from Graphene, Carbon Nanotubes, Shape Memory Alloys and Self Healing Photovoltaic Nanomaterials.

People used to wear “fast fashion” — a concept that astounds me. Different clothes — rags — for different occasions, manufactured by strangers suffering a world away. Now you need only a Second Skin, and you’re ready for life. I wonder where my SS is made, but only for a moment.

Adaptive Surfboard

My board, a sleek beast of morphing technology, tunes itself to the quality of the waves. It’s a shapeshifter, a chameleon of the sea, reading the ocean’s mood and adapting its form to match.

It’s super light and can shrink down to a 5’6” nugget or extend out to a 9’0” log — in real-time. It also boasts a silent jet propulsion system for a boost and magnetic traction for those wanting to get airborne.

Sometimes I’ll take off on a 7’2″ quad mini-mal that will morph into a high-performance thruster as I thread a barrel, then will turn into a wide-body longboard through the flats. It’s sick.

Augmented Reality Surfing

I paddle out with a virtual version of a legendary surfer streaming directly through my neural implant. Overlaid upon my reality, I see ghost lines showing where to paddle, take off, and aim. It’s a digital dance, a tangle of pixels and possibilities, inputs and outputs, and almost impossible to fail. Back foot pressure, it says, and I project off the lip like my Dad’s favorite surfer, John Florence, who is loaded into my sim.

I love the old-school guys who surfed without tech. Florence was so radical — and it was all organic wetware, practice, and passion.

OWG Monitoring

In this brave new world of 2050, where the waves continue to crash against a backdrop of controlled chaos, the One World Government (OWG) looms large, like a hawk circling its prey. It’s a strange dance of freedom and control, a paradox wrapped in the salty air.

Here, in the surf scene, the OWG’s iron fist is sheathed in a velvet glove of environmental stewardship and societal welfare. They’re the omnipresent overlords, the watchful guardians of our seas, sands, and souls. Every wave ridden, every moment spent under the sun, is tallied, monitored, and rationed with a precision that would make Big Brother blush.

“Surfing,” they say, “is your right, but remember that with rights come responsibility.” So, we ride these waves on borrowed time, in allotted slots doled out by algorithms that claim to know the rhythm of the tides better than Gaia herself.

But it’s not all Orwellian doom and gloom. There’s a method to this madness. The OWG, with their eyes in the sky and ears in the sea, use surfers as sensors, tapping into data feeds from our boards and suits, collecting information that will help with future environmental initiatives. We’re eco-warriors, in a way, going places normal folks dare not venture.

And yet, I feel a strange longing for the days when the ocean was wild and free and surfing was an unregulated lifestyle. My friend and I were talking (virtually, of course) about “the search” for unsurfed, remote waves. My dad had a pile of dogeared surf mags from the 90’s and 00’s which I pored over vociferously as a kid. Thoughts of Quiksilver’s Young Guns and Rip Curl’s search have always given me butterflies. My friend and I agreed that we should go on an adventure someday. Strangely, after that conversation, I never heard from him again. His user profile dimmed out three weeks ago. People get reassigned to new sectors all the time under the OWG. I’m sure he’s doing great.

In the shadow of this benevolent government (my friend called it “tyranny” in our last chat), we ride the waves, a tribe of digitally connected yet physically disconnected surfers chasing the ghost of a subculture that once represented rebellion and adventure.

My dad said that in his day, surfers descended on places like Bali and Fiji in droves, dropping down in planes that dumped plastic plates and disposable cutlery into landfills before surfing perfect waves — all with no AR assistance. I can’t imagine it. Sunburn, party nights, reef cuts, boat trips, holiday romance, petrol fumes, sharks, tropical fish, coconut water from coconuts, Barbarian Days. He told me all about it when I was a kid.

My dad gave me my first board, an old hexa fin Firewire (non-adaptive) with single jet thrust. We surfed together through my teens, then I moved to the city and didn’t realize it would mean goodbye. Even after he died, I couldn’t get a pass to leave the city — safety first, because there was another pandemic raging out there.

My Post-Surf Refuel

My every breath, every heartbeat, is streamed to the cloud, traded for a ticket to nourishment. After my surf, a warning flashes up on my inner display. I’m low on essential nutrients and slightly dehydrated. A map directs me to the nearest takeout — an upmarket juice bar for those with a Social Credit score of 7 and above. It’ll be nice. When it comes to food, I’m stoked to have a high Social Credit score. You don’t wanna be at the bottom of the nutrient pile, or so I’m told.

The juice bar knows what my body craves, a tailor-made elixir to soothe the fire in my muscles. I sip the thick brown fluid and relax for a moment, summoning a video recording of my earlier surf session on my inner display. A nanodrone filmed the whole session in holographic 256K. My air was rad, especially the landing, which I stuck with precision.

I feel a rush of dopamine as I replay the maneuver and then share it with my followers.

A Chance Encounter on a Train

On the train, amidst a sea of souls with the blank stare of neural implants, she stands out. A spark in the digital fog. It seems she noticed me, too. Our implants fire up in the ether, setting up a virtual rendezvous. Romance rebooted for the digital age. We may never meet in person, but the AR realm allows for some fiery albeit closely monitored bedroom action. If all goes well, maybe we’ll meet for real someday. That’s the OWG promise — that everyone will find a soul mate (Social Credit score 6 and above).

What is a soul? I searched that once and was told it’s an essence; a blueprint that makes each of us unique. The ancient meditators apparently found it, and so did psychedelic explorers. My dad told me all about that stuff. Now I can just fire up an Augmented Reality DMT simulation and seek out insights amongst the patterns, on demand.

It’s cool but ultimately unfulfilling, prescribed, and contrived. What I’d give for a magic mushroom IRL. My dad told me it’d transform my life.

Returning to My Cube

Home is a state-assigned cube, a literal box amidst the high-rise urban sprawl. I await my dinner, delivered by unseen robot hands, a perfect algorithmic match to my culinary desires and bodily needs. I drink the brown liquid and chew the crunchy greens. They’re high protein replicas of old school veggies, designed to build my muscles, guaranteed organic from the local ‘hopper farm. My dad didn’t like the idea of eating insects but I don’t mind. Those with a Social Credit score of 9 and 10 get to eat cows. I’m doing my best to get there.

Anyway, this is surfing in 2050 – a blend of flesh and circuits, waves and wires. The heart of surfing beats on, but it’s wrapped in a new skin pulsing with sensors. I wonder if, in the wild, beyond the boundaries of our walled city, the primitives still go surfing. I have no idea what goes on out there. I chose OWG, but there are places where OWG doesn’t rule.

The wild zones sound dangerous and sickly — but free from the incessant nagging of… of I’m not sure. I ask for information about the wilderness via neural search, asking, “Where do the primitives still exist? How do they live? Are they suffering?”

The search results appear for a moment, then glitch, and I’m shown the nauseating wait wheel. It spins incessantly, indicating connection latency or that I’ve transgressed in some way. I’m paralyzed with fear, hoping that my Social Credit score won’t be compromised. The search session closes, and my social feed pops up. Seems my surfing exploits are getting some love. 45 likes and counting! A message pops up from the train girl.

What a relief. Life’s better when you keep busy. There’s no point thinking outside of the box (or cube). I own nothing except for my Social Credit score, which enables me to use things, eat food, and go to (some) places. I think I am happy.