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Beach Grit



Shane Dorian

by Shane Dorian

Shane Dorian tells you how to get the ride of your life (even if the thought of 20 feet makes you pale to the gills)…

Why would anyone wanna ride a 20-foot wave? Why not? What kinda reason could you make up not to ride the wave of your life?

Oh, you’re scared. That’s the same reason to paddle into a six-foot wave when you’re used to four-foot waves. We’re surfers, right. We all want to get better and push onto the next level. We all want to experience something new and something different. And for those that are into that, maybe you, paddling into a 20-foot wave is about as challenging and exhilarating as it gets.

Wait, what’s that about dying? Yeah, that is the big elephant in the room. But more people die in little waves than big waves. I know, it ain’t much comfort. But when you get in the ocean that’s part of the deal. The bigger it is, the more the chances go up. But, listen: even the craziest big-wave surfer has more of a chance of dying in a car crash en route to wherever than from having the air squeezed out of him.

That said, let me make something clear. The maybe-dying part doesn’t get me off at all. I don’t get some kind of thrill from the surfing-is-deadly thing. I ain’t in a hurry to add martyrdom to my vices. I love to surf, man. It’s something I just dig. Today I was surfing with my kid and it was fun foot and I couldn’t have been happier.

“The maybe-dying part doesn’t get me off at all. I don’t get some kind of thrill from the surfing-is-deadly thing. I ain’t in a hurry to add martyrdom to my vices. I love to surf, man.”


Anyway, let’s do this thing. First up, the chances of all the ingredients coming together to actually paddle into a 20-footer at Cloudbreak (Fiji) or Mavericks (California) or Jaws (Maui), Punta de Lobos (Peru) or Belharra (France) is low. Everything has to be right. The waves have to turn on. You can’t be sick, you can’t be out of shape, and your boards have to be ready to go. So you gotta be patient.

Butterflies? Yeah, I get ’em too. Serious butterflies. From the moment I see a potential swell on the map to packing my boards I get butterflies. And if it’s  extraordinary swell, like Jaws or Mavs, I get a genuine fear. But all that nervousness, all that fear, goes away when you get into the lineup. And it should for you, too. If it doesn’t, if you’re hesitating or overcome by nervousness, maybe it just ain’t your day.

But then again maybe you just need a push in the right direction. I calm myself by thinking about what a special day this is; that it may not be like this again for years. I try and get myself into a mental state where I want to push myself.

So what does a 20-foot wave look like? It looks scary as shit. There’s a huge difference between a 15-foot wave and a 20-foot wave. It’s not just a difference of five feet. It’s bigger, it’s thicker, it’s more dangerous (sorry!). There’s a huge separation of people who surf 20-feet and those who surf 15 feet. Twenty feet is where it gets really, really serious.

What kinda skill set you need? Not a lot. You really just need to the balls to paddle in. To ride one well requires some serious skill but just to make it down the face, you don’t have to be a great surfer.

Now let’s paddle in. If you’re in the right spot, whip it around, put your head down and go. You can’t hesitate. Head down and totally commit. Do I hesitate sometimes? Of courses. I hesitate all the time. Sometimes for good reason, sometimes it’s a big mistake, sometimes it’s genuinely out of fear. It’s part of the deal. I’ve looked at a lot of good waves and not gone. My general theory is that there’s no wave worth killing yourself for.

Once you’re at the point of no return, your tail is lifting and your about to drive down the face, everything, all that nervousness disappears. Sure, you’re hyper-aware of making a mistake but, in the moment, you’re focussed and completely in the zone. You think of nothing and, instead, you’re relying on all your past experiences to get you through.

When everything goes right, like at Puerto Escondido recently, it’s like being a super fucking ugly guy and having sex with the hottest super model on the planet. It’s like you pulled off the impossible. Because everythitng in the universe has to align for you to get this ride that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. And there should only be a handful of these in any surfers’ life, waves that you truly remember. That feeling is rare and elusive as hell. It’s a mix of pure elation and accomplishment.

When everything goes wrong, it’s the shittiest feeling. You immediately go from this mode where you’re out there thinking, I’m going to charge, this is going to make my day, Why and I so fucking selfish? Why did I do this? Now I’m at the bottom of the ocean and about to drown. But you won’t drown. This is what you trained for. Remember that. Breath-holding training is important here. If you know you can handle two waves on the head, you  won’t punch that big red panic button lighting up in your head. At least not straight away.

For your first 20-foot paddle experience, and obviously this depends on your ability to travel at a moment’s notice, I’d go to Belharra in France. It’s the outer reef at the port town of St-Jean-de-Luz. There are no rocks, there are channels on both sides and the wave dies out into deep water. And at 20-feet it’s barely breaking. You’ll need a ski to get out there, but I’m guessing you already figured that out.

And here’s something you may not have thought about: the comedown after such a tremendous event. It’s almost like postpartum depression. You have this crazy euphoric moment when it’s happening where you’re on this razor’s edge and you feel like you’ve reached the absolute pinnacle of your life but then…almost in slow motion… it starts to fade as you reach the channel. Even though you just rode the wave of your life and you knew it and felt it while you were riding, it evaporates as you flick off and becomes, immediately, past tense. It’s such an emotional swing! You’re definitely not high forever.

Doll lady haunts TRESTLES ahead of hurley pro

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Bob Hurley is in a blind rage. Nothing is allowed to impede the Pro!

A well-intentioned woman who left very scary porcelain dolls on San Clemente porches told authorities that she was embarrassed. Bob Hurley, who lives just up the coast and is busily preparing for the Hurley Pro in nearby Trestles, is blind with rage. Nothing is allowed to impede the Pro. It is the “Crown Jewel of Southern California.”

The woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, thought the dolls would be happily received by the homes because they resembled little girls living there. Her own daughters had grown and no longer played with them and she felt it good and right to pass them along.

“Bob Hurley, who lives just up the coast and is busily preparing for the Hurley Pro in nearby Trestles, is blind with rage. Nothing is allowed to impede the Pro. It is the “Crown Jewel of Southern California.”

“Because her intentions were good, she felt embarrassed at the fear she instilled in the community,” the Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock told the LA Times. “She just thought she was being nice.”

Those receiving the dolls felt unnerved because a porcelain doll, with creepy dead-eyed stares, showed up on their porches without any note of explanation. The fact that the Hurley Pro takes place in just over a month further stoked tensions. Taj Burrow, defending champ, has very cute, doll-like features.

Click here to read the LA Times story…

Focus Group Creates surf brand. Names it Vissla.

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Is it ever too late to jump on a trend? Paul Naude shouts an emphatic "No!" before time travelling to 2010!

Paul Naude, ex-Billabong chief, and the other creators x innovators of surf start-up Vissla are genius. Like, very salt-of-the-earth smart. It is difficult to perfectly capture the zeitgeist of any era. Wes Anderson spends years and years painstakingly re-creating the nuances of romanticized epochs from early 1930s Eastern Europe (Grand Budapest Hotel) to mid-1960s New England (Moonrise Kingdom).

Paul Naude decided that 2010 was the best year ever and painstakingly recreated a surf brand based on a bearded DIY aesthetic four years after its high-water mark.

Note the v v subtle components shown in their brand launch video.

1) Coffee

2) Hand tattoo

3) Hand-shaped board

4) Hand-drawn art

5) Grainy Super 8 black + white footage

6) Slob air (in black + white, of course)

7) Briefcase filled with…

8) …film!

9) Footage of a Super 8 camera being held

10) Wide swallow twin-fin

It transports you, exactly, to a far away time (2010) and a far away place (Newport Beach). It is genius because, as trends go, it is never to soon to imitate. And by imitate I mean innovate.

ASK PAM: oooh ya she cool!

Pam Reynolds

by Pam Reynolds

French bulldog answers your metaphysical woes. Money can't buy you love but love can't buy you shit!

Dear Pam,
Sometimes, when I’m alone at night, I look at the stars and think, “They seem little and shitty.” I know that stars are supposed to inspire us and make us feel insignificant and stuff but I just can’t get in to them. Any suggestions on things that could inspire me?
Brown Boy, PR.
Pam says: i feel u, theres not many things that make me feel insignificant. as far as like inspiration, i always read nylon magazine and it always gives me good ideas about fashion.
Dear Pam,
Politics totally isn’t my thing but everyone always talks about Barack Obama at parties. What should I say? What should my standard line be?
Wants to Shine Socially
Pam says: i have never met him before, but i heard some people talking about how he’s cool. so jus b like oooh ya hes so cool.
Dear Pam, 
I’m not really into having girlfriends. I usually try and ride ’em like waves, ride ’em as long as I can. But iI have hooked up with a few psycho girls. I used to be able to hook up with anything, I didn’t mind their attitude. I cruised with this one psychotic bitch, this total hate flirt, and then one morning I woke up and just left. Now I miss her sooooooooo hard. What do I do? I think I’m in love…
Not a Door Mat
Pam says: i think u r trippin. i try to stay clear of boys that change they mind too often. its kinda over now and she was probably too crazy anyway. dont look back and always stay busy.
Dear Pam, 
I’m a pro surfer and I got anger issues. What do you do when you see someone get a six for surfing totally on axis and they beat you and you’re supposed to clap and shake their hand and then push up against the girl interviewer on the beach? Do you understand the boundaries in this territory? I’m giving u the truth. I feel like I’m gonna explode but I don’t wanna get Bobby Martinezed off the tour… I’m FUCKING serious, man!
Dante, LA. 
Pam says: to b serious it only takes one person to start a revolution. when I first started in this game I was pretty much the first. now look. you midget, mini-me with a bunch of little mini-yous running around your backyard swimming pools. but cereal, if you wanna stay in the game you gotta play by their rules sometimes, unless you just start your own game.
Dear Pam,  
That whole French Bulldog Boston Terrier thing?
Pain and Disrespect, OC.
Pam says: well my cousin is a boston. so i know a lot about them. some people get us mixed but 2 b straight, bostons have some looks but not as much intellect. theyre cool tho. they’re super sporty and come mostly in black in white. i saw a list on google but some stuff is wrong. a boston tends to be less independent and not loyal..ew.    heres a photo too, whos cuter?
A boston terrier and a french bulldog

One dumb, one pretty, one is independent, the other so not loyal…ew

WHO IS PAM? Pam Reynolds is a four-year-old French bulldog born on a ranch in Oregon, but left at the age of 13 weeks for a more fast paced life in Southern California. She currently resides in Carpinteria where she enjoys modelling, hunting and fashion. Her motto? LIVE AST DIE YOUNG BULLDOGS DO IT WELL. Send your questions to [email protected] If you want to see Pam answer ’em live, send an audio file. Get to know Pam on IG @pamlovesferrariboys


How to make a surf film (with Kai Neville)

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Now that Cluster is out in the wild, let's talk hammers with Kai Neville… 

The independent filmmaker Kai Neville is an elegant rough-neck who has lassoed the surf-cultural zeitgeist like no one else. Over the last ten years he has made three era-defining films: Modern Collective, Lost Atlas and Dear Suburbia.

And this Christmas, the world will see his new film, Cluster, unsheathed from Kai’s blue velvet camera pouch more than two years since Dear Sub. And it ain’t around sessions this time. Kai is “taking it back to the OG. It’s a parts vibe,” he says.

Thirty-two-year-old Kai was motivated to jump into the independent film game again because of Creed McTaggart and Noa Deane, the two most photogenic surfers not spending their fuel on the World Tour. “I feel like an old man all of a sudden,” he says. “They’re different 19 and 20 year olds. I was a weird confused kid and they’re way ahead of their time, in music and in surfing. They own themselves. And they look up to the older generation of (Mitch) Coleborn and Dion (Agius). You need that X-factor in your films. People expect to see the best guys and they want to be surprised.”

Who knows how to make a surf film better than Kai Neville? Soak in his advice, in his 10 Iron Laws of Surf Film Making.  

1. Location It’s the key to a surf film. You want variety. I like variety. Unless it’s a documentary, there has to be at least six locations. Some exotic, some Medieval. I love that European surfing vibe and the dark beaches and the ramps. Have clean-faced waves, some barrels and a mix of backdrops and angles.

2. The Production Crew Keep it small and keep it tight. There’s nothing worse than rocking up to a remote beach with a handful of filmers and boats and jet skis and helicopters. It’s puts a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and ruins the vibe. You should be going in as a fly on the wall. Three surfers, two filmers max. Whether you’re talking to locals at the pub or arriving at a South Australian secret spot, the smaller the crew, the tighter the clique, the smoother it is. When managers start coming, it’s not a surf film anymore, it’s a commercial shoot.

3. Booze After a hard day on the tools, get a slab of beer for the boys. When it’s been a good day and the vibes are high, you can reminisce on the session and talk shit. A bad day? Beer works as well. Keep those vibes… high!

4. You do the logistics Not many people don’t realise that 60 per cent of a successful film is doing your research: looking at maps, reading up on locations, booking flights, car rentals etc. Most surfs are pretty retarded and they don’t do shit. You have to be proactive and do everything. Put them in the right place at the right time and they’ll repay you with their athletic talent.

Noa Deane hangs outside of car window

Noa, so summer! And such an important ingredient in the reinvigoration of Kai Neville…

5. Music You want a balanced soundtrack with good pacing. I’ll try a thousand songs until something triggers an emotion. A song can make or break your party. It’s worth whatever time and money you have to spend.

6. Work with brilliant art directors Collaborate with great designers and it’ll set the tone of your film and bring your vision to life. I’ve worked with a different art director on each film and it defines each film by its different flavour. Find an art director, a creative, who has a similar vision for titles and your filmic textures. I keep a ton of references of design I like and if one clicks, I just contact that person. You’ll be surprised how many top-shelfs creators are into surf. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or pound out an email.

7. Killing babies! When it doubt, leave it out. If you’re second-guessing a shot, cull it. When you look back in a year you’ll be fucking glad you got rid of it.

“Too much money can ruin a project. You don’t know what to do with it all and you tend to over-produce. Be fucking organic. The less money, the more independent you are.” Kai Neville

8. It’s all about the vibes All it takes is one bad egg on a trip to put your film into downward spiral. Pick surfers who travel well together, who don’t get eggy. Everybody should be having a hell time. The last thing you want is someone, surfer, photographer, whomever, who spooks everyone else out. There’s a lot of down time during a trip, a lot of dinners and whatever with the same guys. The more you can tie the guys together, the smoother the shoot.

9. Marketing You gotta market your project from start to finish. Treat your film like a brand. You don’t wanna over-hype it and oversaturate the world with it but you don’t wanna under-hype it either so no knows about it. It’s a fine line. Find that magic ingredient that gets people psyched and go with it until it’s released.

10. Cash For any project you need money. You don’t need much, but you need some. You can do a lot with a little. Before you hit the road, pitch your idea to brands and surfers. Any bit of extra budget can take your film to the next level. It might enable you to get the art director you want or that song you’re hyped on. Howevs, too much money can ruin a project. You don’t want to do with it all and you tend to over-produce. So keep it simple. Be realistic. But don’t blow all your money on the one trip or the Phantom rig operator. And with titles, you don’t necessarily need crazy graphics. The best stuff I’ve done is when I’ve worked with nothing because you’re forced to get out there and be fucking organic. The less money, the less fingers in the pie, the less politics and the more independent you are. Did I mention independence? It’s priceless.