Change happens from the fringes. We often mention our friend Sam Coniffe’s Book ‘Be More Pirate’ which discusses the ultimate fringe group - Pirates. Before we go into the benefits of these fringe groups, it’s worth discussing why they form in the first place.
(words by Louise)
The Collins dictionary defines a ‘Fringe Group’ as: “a group that is on the periphery of a larger organisation because its views are more extreme than the majority”. The ‘Organisation’ can be a specific organisation or society as a whole. When these groups ‘splinter’ off they form their own structure of beliefs and rules. Unfortunately, these ‘fringe’ groups are often seen in a negative context (terrorism) but there are many positives to other types of minority group.
Shared threads of trust are what bind a minority group. Whether it be the group of science enthusiasts at school, a football team, a church congregation or an AA group; a common interest bonds these small groups and forms strands of trust between them. We see this within the surf community - you aren’t judged by your wealth, status or past history - none of this matters. YOU ARE A SURFER - immediately accepted, trusted and understood. You are all instantly on the same wavelength.
You are one of the group - a surfer - wealth, status, ethnicity is not relevant
These groups usually form because they are doing something different and, as a result, mass society has mistrust for these groups; they don’t understand them and are, at times, cynical about their motives. Pirates and surfers have always had bad press, for being thieves and pointless hippies respectively, and yet they are both responsible for so much change. They are often way ahead of their time and this is possibly because, without the rules and restrictions of society tying them down, they are able to think more freely and come up with new and disruptive ideas.
As Sam Coniffe points out, Pirates were the first true democracy. They offered compensation for injured pirates and it took 200 years for mass society to adopt these ideas regarding human rights. Surfers have not had to wait so long - possibly 50/60 years - for their ‘clean living, planet respecting’ lifestyle to be adopted by the masses.
True disruptive innovation comes from these fringe groups. Initially this change is ignored or rejected by society but it builds in the background before, finally, taking over. Both Apple and Netflix were both born out of the fringes of the music/film industry. What often distinguishes these fringe groups is their desire to deal with an issue, rather than to make money. They break existing rules and go on to create new ones which are eventually adopted by the masses.
It takes 1 to start a revolution, the rest will follow!
Surfers have been sitting on the fringes of society for decades. They have lived in contrast to our capitalist society for decades. They are often seen as layabouts who have opted out of mainstream living but, in reality, the opposite is true. As a group they are hugely motivated and have been campaigning for climate change action for years - even when it was seen as an odd ‘hippy-ish’ thing to do. Fast forward several decades and the whole planet has jumped on the ‘eco’ bandwagon - maybe we should have listened to the surfers earlier.
There just happen to be 35 million of these ‘fringe-members’ dotted around the globe - all bound by a common trust. Imagine what could be done if we connected them all in one common mission. By just starting with one vision to get 1 million subscribers, we are going to gain momentum. To reference another fringe movement that changed the world - when Martin Luther King set out to abolish racism, he didn’t do it all in one go - he just started with removing segregation on buses. By joining these fringe groups and starting small we are going to start a momentous movement to change the world.
See our “Why surfers” page and meet the amazing surfers that are supporting us