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Parker: Surfer mag “crucial” to sport!

Rory Parker

by Rory Parker

There's a nostalgic boy inside of me that wants to see it live forever. But storm clouds loom…

I’ve been doing a great job staying off the sauce recently. Not trying to go on a twelve-step teetotaller trip, just looking to avoid hangovers and fatness and that terrible creeping depression that sneaks up on you at the end of a bender.

It isn’t super difficult, no shakes, no withdrawals, but I’ve learned I’m no the type who can nurse a single drink over the course of an evening. Go big or go home, or rather, go big or drink water all night and play designated driver for my pickled in IPA wife.

Succumbed to temptation yesterday, hurting a little bit this morning. We’re all aware that hangovers hurt worst when they’re not an every day occurrence. Once you’ve become accustomed to greeting the new day bright-eyed and bushy tailed the previous day’s debauchery comes down like a hammer.

Heft is a good indicator of the health of a print rag, and this puppy is feeling slim. Kind of a bummer, that. I’m not exactly invested in the success of Surfer, or its ugly little brother Ing, (neither has ever paid me a dime) but it’d be a shame to see it die. Surfer was a crucial part of the sport for decades, there’s a nostalgic little boy inside of me that wants to see it live forever.

While drinking coffee on the toilet, trying to push out the giant meal of cheesy bacon waffles and sausage I thought were a good idea around midnight, I started flipping through the new issue of Surfer. My dad bought me a subscription for Christmas, told me they were only a few bucks, did it on a whim. Cool, cool, been a while since I flipped through a copy.

It’s Surfer‘s interview issue. Man, did I ever love those when I was a grom. Learn about my favorite pros, feel like I actually know ’em. Not exactly relevant in the 21st century, when we can use social media to keep a daily tab on our fave rippers. The line between fan and stalker has never been slimmer.

I get a copy once a month, but a weekly mailer urging me to resubscribe. Kind of annoying. And I have no idea how The Enthusiast Network , formerly Source Interlink, the dirty bastards who consolidated American XTREME sports media a few years back, killing Transworld Surf in the process, got ahold of my email address. No, I don’t want to subscribe to Mopar Muscle. I don’t know what that is, but the title makes me feel kind of uncomfortable.

Heft is a good indicator of the health of a print rag, and this puppy is feeling slim. Kind of a bummer, that. I’m not exactly invested in the success of Surfer, or its ugly little brother Ing, (neither has ever paid me a dime) but it’d be a shame to see it die. Surfer was a crucial part of the sport for decades, there’s a nostalgic little boy inside of me that wants to see it live forever.

After I’d finished forcing what was once a delicious pile of obesity through my sphincter (recipe- add bacon and cheddar cheese to waffle mix, cook, serve with half a stick of butter, four sausage patties, smother in syrup) I sluiced down my undercarriage and rescued the issue from the purgatory of the shelf next to my toilet.

Of course, up and downs are part of the game when your job is selling cool to teenagers. It’s something the skate industry understands well. Teams and brands in a constant state of flux, ever ready to dump yesterday’s awesome for tomorrow’s hot trend.

Counted twenty-three ads, over the course of the issue (I’m considering that page near the back filled with tiny little nuggets a single one). Not good, especially if you remember the feast days of the early oughts, when all and sundry had cash to spare and every month delivered a tome worthy of the women’s fashion industry.

Of course, up and downs are part of the game when your job is selling cool to teenagers. It’s something the skate industry understands well. Teams and brands in a constant state of flux, ever ready to dump yesterday’s awesome for tomorrow’s hot trend.

But surfing’s always had its old guard, big brands with a death grip on the neck of the industry, dictating what people want, rather than responding to it. And I think we all know those chickens have finally come home to roost, corporate raiders got their greasy mitts on two of our biggest moneybags.

The “regulatory body” in private hands, chasing outside sponsorship moolah that’ll cut and run, rather than shoring up its own struggling industry. Always gotta remember that Target and Nike never had a real stake in the game.

I’m not sure what the real point is here, other than a half-assed musing from an alcohol addled mind. I’m just stoked to see storm clouds on the horizon, knowing that my ship is more or less unsinkable. Not really worried the money will stop rolling in, because it hasn’t actually started.

Help: The confused award show surfer!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

The confused professional surfer is about to step out. What should he wear?

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 8.59.55 AM

Even in a Mexican Wetsuit, Ronnie Blakey is so handsome Occy can’t peel his eyes away!

Last night, or maybe the night before, the Australian surfing community gathered in Manly to celebrate their year of achievement. Like the Oscars! The who’s who crowd watched Barry Bennett get inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame, Mick Fanning and Sally Fitz were crowned surfers of the year, Jack Robinson won the coveted “Young Charger” award, Jamie Mitchell won Waterman of the Year and Ronnie Blakey paired an acid washed denim shirt three inches too short in the sleeve with what appear to be darker denim pants.

Which raises an important question. Why did you do that Ronnie Blakey? But let us not cast stones at the World Surf League’s most handsome commentator (sorry Joe Turpel!) for deciding the occasion called for a Canadian Tuxedo. It is not entirely his fault for there seems to be absolutely no rule for how surfers should dress at the various award shows that dot the calendar.

The World Surf League banquet is now around the corner and surfers will again put on an eclectic mix of things. Some will wear Hawaiian shirts, others will wear t-shirts, some will wear tuxedos and others will wear short pants. As a group, they will look very preschool. Like, my three-year-old daughter wears off the shoulder floor length gowns every single day to her class. Another boy wears super hero outfits and another girl dresses like a Sikh and another boy basically shows up naked. Eclectic but ok because they are all three-years-old.

I get it, I get it. Surfing is “beachy” and surfers don’t wear clothes in the water, so at awards’ shows and banquets they become confused. Should they dress up or dress down? Should they reflect a casual, beachy attitude or show the world they can polish? Should they respect the roots of our pastime and wear Hawaiian shirts and thick, colorful leis? Should they wear only boardshort and bikini?

Let’s help them! What should surfers wear at awards’ shows and banquets? Do you have any dress code ideas that could help Ronnie Blakey avoid future pitfalls? Please share!

Help: Is this sexist?

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Do body paint wetsuits celebrate or objectify women?

I’ve always felt the sexism crowd got one thing terribly wrong, something so at odds with our biology.

Can it really be so degrading to regard the female body as a precious stone? As a goddess? To be enchanted by a real beauty? To have your will broken with the heaving of her breasts, the twitching of her belly, the quivering of her thighs?

Earlier today, a BeachGrit reader presented a link to the short film, below, 4 Surfer Girls Wearing Body Paint. Its creator wrote, “These 4 surfer gals look like they’re wearing wetsuits, but look again! They’re actually wearing pasties, strapless thongs, and body paint!”

What do you do when something comes in like that? Do you pretend you aren’t moved? Do you pretend you’re above the fizzing of hormones? Do you pretend that it’s sophisticated to ignore the mysterious ecstasy of desire?

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The two-minute film has had 331,000 views and was made to celebrate the terrific realism of Los Angeles body painter, Paul Roustan.

Shall we examine his bio, if only to legitimise the wonderful film below?

“These intricate, ephemeral body paintings are experienced through live performance, video, and still photography. Roustan’s photographs, elaborately crafted images, often use the decorated body as one element in a larger construction to achieve a narrative, expressive goal. Telling stories about people, places, and ideas, his work explores the multiple layers of meaning combining the human figure with different elements. The fine balance between vulnerability and strength, image and concept, is captured in vibrant, evocative photographs.”

How do you feel about the movie? Does it harden your flesh and steel your muscles or does your brain shake with anger?

Sexist or no?

4 Surfer Girls Wearing Body Paint from Roustan on Vimeo.

Surprise: Shark repellents do suck!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Did you really think that magnetic band was going to save you?

I’ve got a pretty healthy relationship with sharks, I think. I avoid where the more invasive and formidable of the species live (no Byron, Western Australia, South Africa, South Oz) and choose my holidays and home town accordingly.

If I see a whaler, even a tiger, I’ll usually, but not always, exit. It depends on their trajectory. That’s because they don’t nail me to the spot with horror the way a great white does. If a white is within a mile radius I’m out… for good. Who wants to be the bloody spittle in an abominable monster’s month, screaming in unspeakable agony as it tears you apart?

Nets? I couldn’t care either way. They obviously work but who’s got the energy to debate the merits with the hysterics who claim ’em to be pointless and pointlessly cruel.

One thing that does interest me is shark repellents. Do you remember the fever when news came out years ago that a company in South Africa had developed electronic devices that had been proven to keep whites away? It felt like we’d soon have little anti-shark chips built into our boards protecting us  with invisible forcefields.

Never really happened, did it?

A few weeks ago, the Australian consumer magazine Choice tested all the shark repellents on the market, from electronic devices that cost between $US350 and $US600 to those thirty-buck magnet wristbands. The results are illuminating.

 An earlier study by the South Australian Research and Development Institute also found the device was effective in deterring great whites, but noted it didn’t ‘deter or repel this species in all situations, nor did it repel all individuals’.

For electronic devices like the Shark Shield: “While Shark Shield can deter a shark from attacking, it won’t do so every time. The most recent study of the device by scientists at the University of Western Australia (UWA) found it prevented great whites and tiger sharks from attacking most of the time, but it wasn’t always effective. An earlier study by the South Australian Research and Development Institute also found the device was effective in deterring great whites, but noted it didn’t ‘deter or repel this species in all situations, nor did it repel all individuals’.” So, yeah, uh, it works, but, uh, not all the time.

Magnet wristbands: “Sharkbanz told us its device has been shown to repel a range of sharks, including bull sharks and small tiger sharks, but they don’t recommend it for deterring great whites. Shark Shocker didn’t respond to our requests for information on its testing.

“While there have been no independent studies on the Sharkbanz or Shark Shocker devices, research into using magnets to repel sharks from commercial fishing lines has generally been inconclusive as to their effectiveness.

“Dr Carl Meyer, a shark expert at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, told us that while magnets could work in theory, he isn’t convinced a small magnetic band strapped to a leg would be effective enough.”

Acoustic repellents: “Killer whales like to eat sharks, so does pretending you’re an orca stop a shark from biting you? That’s the idea behind the SharkStopper personal shark repellent, the “world’s first and only acoustic shark repellent”, due for release early this year. The device is a small plastic band that’s worn on the leg and emits a “multi-patented acoustic sound” – a blend of orca calls and a special frequency its maker says will repel sharks.

“But UWA scientists recently found orca calls had limited ability at deterring sharks in the wild. And Dr Christine Erbe, a whale vocalisation expert at Curtin University, told us that orcas live in social groups – meaning a killer whale vocalisation that works in one place, may not necessarily work elsewhere.”

Coloured surfboards: “‘White, yellow and silvery things are more likely to be approached and bitten by some shark species than blue and green things,’ says Dr Nathan Hart, a neurobiologist from Macquarie University who has studied the visual systems of sharks.

“Hart says there’s one downfall though. When viewed from directly below, a surfboard will be seen as a dark silhouette, regardless of its colour. Still, he says a darker board might reduce the risk of a shark attack from the side, and could be worth a try.”

Read more here! 

Parker: Tattoo machines and me!

Rory Parker

by Rory Parker

Aren't your twenties all about making bad decisions?

When I was in my early twenties a number of friends bought tattoo machines. Which was terrifying. I was drinking heavily, lots of lost days and nights, and I had a recurring nightmare in which I’d drunkenly get a shitting dog tattooed on my chest.

Woke me up pulse racing a hundred times. What I remember of my dreams is usually very surreal, so the realistic ones do a good job rattling me. They always feature me running from the cops for some unspecified offense, or it’s finals day and I’m in a panic because I forgot to study.

The latter is especially fucked. It’s been over a decade since I was trapped in academia, the ol’ mind-brain needs to give me a break. On the cops one too, I’m a white upwardly mobile guy with a spotless criminal record. I’d need to kill someone to get in real trouble. Very worst case scenario, I’d be looking at three days in Kauai County Jail. Place is hardly Oz.

Been free of the tattoo nightmare for years and years.

Until last night.

The missus was talking to her brother on the phone, and he mentioned his buddy just bought a machine.

Oh, no.

Sure enough, the little bozos are scribbling all over each other.

I mean, isn’t that what your twenties are about? Making bad decisions? We live a fairly long time, ideally, so long as you don’t have any kids there aren’t a lot of dumb mistakes you can’t come back from.

I met my wife fifteen years ago, when her youngest brother was seven. Watched him grow from a spoiled little monster into a pretty cool adult. The wife says I’ve been a huge influence on him, which probably isn’t great. Not that I accept any responsibility. He’s a grown man now, he can make his own decisions.

Even if those decisions are stupid. I mean, isn’t that what your twenties are about? Making bad decisions? We live a fairly long time, ideally, so long as you don’t have any kids there aren’t a lot of dumb mistakes you can’t come back from.

Even tattoos, I guess.

Removal technology has come a long way, plenty of guys I know are getting shit scrubbed from their faces. Which is great. Tattoos are cool, I’ve got a few of my own, but I’ve never seen one on someone’s face that didn’t seem indicative of some sort of mental disorder. Like that poor kid, Antwon DixonMan, did the skate industry eat him alive or what?

I asked my brother in law to send me a picture, needed to witness what his idiocy hath wrought. I was not disappointed.

“What’s that supposed to be?”

“It’s a chick holding ice cream cones under her tits.”

“With an upside down crucifix over her box?”

“No, that’ supposed to be her pubes, shaved into one.”

“Same thing. What’s with the flying pig?”

“It’s funny. I’ve got a mole smoking a joint on my other leg.”

“Those are terrible.”

“I know, but they’re on my thighs, no one can see them. Except for girls, sometimes.”

“If the tattoos are jokes, does that make your dick the punchline?”

justin tattoo