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"is this obsession with consumerism all it takes to be cool? Or is it something more simplistic like being a surfer who lives his life simply in search of the perfect wave?"

Its all about consumerism isnt it? If there was nothing to consume, there would be nothing to be cool.

Cool is a materialist/consumerist concept, its about having something marketable - like the lifestyle of a surfer (sell hoodies, vans, flip flops, music, you name it).

Without the market, there would be no cool. There would just be people doing their thing, and that wouldnt be cool... would it? Because nobody would want to be like them, shag them, take photos of them...

In some ways, yes... it is all about consumerism, in a consumerist culture... but if you take early culture formers then there is something about creativity/creation... if cool where not in someway begun to defined by the creatives, there would be nothing for the marketers to market... though for many something ceases to be "cool" when the market gets hold of it... when it becomes "popular"... I think even without the market there would be people whose confidence and creativity "led" the field, whom people wanted to emulate or follow... this has always happened whether it be painters in the renaissance, musicians in early pop-culture or extreme sports pioneers in the 70s/80s.

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