We were proud that we’d taken the buy button off our website and encouraged customers to patronize their local stores. It felt like we were staying core. We liked that.
In fact we liked it so much that we sent a nice little marketing pack to all the stores to help them spread the word around the launch. Most were enthusiastic. Encouraged! Appreciative! It made us feel like we were doing something important, making moves in the surf world.
Then we got this email, from Arthur Rashkovan, owner of Klinika Surf Shop in Israel.
Tel Aviv is under attack from the sky and on the streets. I didn’t leave home during the last two days. I’m sorry but I can’t do anything today…*
I hope you understand.
Our requests suddenly felt embarrassing. Our marketing kit, silly. And the irony that we describe our surf bags as “bomb proof?” F--k. Almost too tone deaf to stomach.
Arthur — who’s also an organizer for Surfing 4 Peace, a non-profit that (among other things) takes kids from Israel and Gaza surfing together — is anaquaintence from a previous life, so I reached out to him with a few questions about his experience over the past couple of weeks. Here’s what he wrote me, edited for clarity and length:
ARTHUR: Growing up in Israel, we’ve gotten used to a state of emergency such as this one, but this time it's a different ball game for me, personally, being a father of three. What do I tell my kids? Why do we need to run to the shelter in the middle of the night? What do I tell my 6 year old son why someone is shooting rockets at us?
I have friends in Gaza and in the Arab community here in Israel, and around the world. I myself believe in coexistence as I know they have nowhere to go, and neither do we.
There are rockets shooting right into Tel Aviv. Gaza is only 60km away. Imagine, it's like Huntington Beach shooting rockets to L.A..
My friend, a stoked surfer, was driving home on the first day they started shooting and had a rocket explode 100 yards from him. He got hit by shrapnel and went into surgery. He is fine but truly shocked.
There is another weird fact that I feel I should tell you, which is that the surf always pumps when the rockets are shooting above. It’s a known statistic!
A similar, albeit more natural, phenomena happens when there are fires in California. I rarely surf in all that smoke. But I had to ask him: Do you paddle out when there are rockets flying overhead?
“Oh yes sir we do!” he wrote back. “Every time...Little pulse coming tomorrow.”
*In the end Arthur did end up walking to his shop to get some pictures for his IG stories.