BODY AND SOUL
Congratulations to Curry Kirkpatrick for his excellent article on body surfing (The Closest Thing To Being Born, Feb. 22). His description of the outasight Wedge is enough to give the strong a weak heart and the sane a blown mind.
The techniques of body surfing are fundamentally easy to understand, and yet there is no way of describing what it is like to be locked in the green room of a wave with the spray doing staccatos on your face. Keep those articles coming.
I think you mislead the average person as to what body surfing is all about when you publicize the antics of a bunch of creeps at the Wedge. You lend glamour to a group of individuals who are so mean that they enjoy brutalizing other people who want to try the Wedge. Apparently the Wedge men are so depleted in self-esteem that they feel the need to try to destroy someone else in order to make themselves feel strong. There is too much of this activity in the world already and I, for one, believe that it should be condemned for what it is, not an act of bravery or courage but the act of a bully with a desolate soul.
IVAN P. COLBURN
Newport Beach, Calif.
Granted, love for the ocean, desire for adventure and better-than-average swimming skills are necessary to really enjoy this version of the sport, but one need not be a mental midget or a crazy Hell's Angel to qualify as a body surfer.
Most sports involve risks and the possibility of sustaining injury, and body surfing is no exception to the rule. But cutthroat annihilation of oneself and of one's fellow man, as described in Mr. Kirkpatrick's article, need not be part of this aquatic pastime.
MICHAEL E. KELLY
I was very amused by your article. Since I am a board surfer myself, I can appreciate the body surfer's love for the sea, but for them to say that board surfers are a "bunch of phony hangers-on" is ridiculous. Board surfers ride waves as big, if not bigger, than the Wedge. And we don't do any "head-hopping" or hurt people, either. So you tell those spacedoutidiotdrunkenegotrippers to go stick their heads in the sand—preferably at the Wedge.
Perhaps someday those head-hoppers will pull their heads out of the sand and wedge themselves into a society that has worthier values.
Having just read the article on archery and the new trend in mechanical releases (The Big Lit tie Gizmo Imbroglio, Feb. 15), it is my opinion that the releases should be outlawed. The bow is not a gun. Archery is a useful sport only if it embraces the psychological need for man to compete within the bounds of his own strength and discipline. Take away this element, and you've destroyed the sport.
SHIRLEY R. AXON
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Certainly there is no progress in a sport when equipment prevents human excellence from asserting itself. Give two vaulters the same pole, and the better will win, though the vaults of both will be higher if the pole is fiber glass rather than bamboo. But when a sport with a maximum possible score makes that score achievable by the also-rans as well as the best, the truly exceptional athlete becomes submerged among the merely proficient.
Minnesota City, Minn.
Archers should be allowed to use releases, but the size of the spot should be greatly reduced in order to lower scores.