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Volume 2, Issue 2 – Anne Barjolin-Smith – Surfing through music: Sharing the surf lifestyle on a reggae frequency

In this article, I look at the ways in which surfers from Cocoa Beach, while acknowledging the historical heritage of surf music, have developed a taste for a style of music that reflects their laid-back approach to surfing and allows them to collectively define their local community in a global surf culture. Reggae is not the only music surfers listen to but it seems to be the common denominator among Cocoa Beach surfers. Through concerts and radio programs, reggae has enabled surfers to share their culture with their beach community, “getting everybody on that frequency.” In my research, interviews with local surfers highlight the ways in which a sense of social identity is built, articulated, and shared through musicking, a concept borrowed from Small (1998) for whom “To music is to take part, in any capacity, in a musical performance, whether by performing, by listening, by rehearsing or practicing, by providing material for performance (what is called composing), or by dancing” (p. 9). This piece reflects the experiences of various Floridian surfers, among whom are two DJs: Lance-O, a specialist of reggae music, and Bart Kelly, the anchor of a local surf radio station called Endless Summer Radio.

Anne Barjolin-Smith3

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