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Alex Smith channels the people’s champ!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Is it a sin to say that someone surfs like Andy Irons? Is Alex Smith a sinner?

I’ve thought for many years that Alex Smith surfs Andy Irons-esque. That he possesses the same sort of unnecessary ferocity. That’s what always struck me about Andy’s surfing. He wouldn’t just hit the lip he would aim to blow the entire business up. Like he wanted to tear a hole in the ocean.

And watch Alex do the same in this very short clip. It runs just under 60 seconds and is this the future of the surf programming I wonder? Have our collective attention spans become Instagram length?

If so, brilliant!

Or like my great grandpappy used to say, “Long shit is boring n shit.”

Rory’s Repeats: “How to survive surf injuries!”

Rory Parker

by Rory Parker

Opiates, self-loathing and sit-ups. Wait, screw the sit-ups… 

It’s been a rough year. I destroyed my shoulder bodysurfing Pipe last December, got it rebuilt using a dead man’s ligaments and assorted screws. Fought through physical therapy long enough to break my collar bone spearfishing. Sat out two months of life waiting for it to heal and then copped a bone infection that put me put for two more. I’ve got this recovery thing down.

Drugs

Opiates, weed, and booze are your friends. Pop a few Percocet, hit the bong and drown your sorrows. You won’t heal any faster, but life will pass in a blissful stupor. One day you’ll wake up hung over and dope sick because your asshole doctor cut you off from the gravy train and you don’t know any teenagers to score dope from, but that’s a worry for tomorrow. Today you’re riding high in the sky rambling on to your wife about the ASP judging criteria and how they’re obviously inflating scores to create more tension during heats.

Self loathing

This one dovetails nicely with the preceding. Spend hours in front of a mirror, watch your waistline expand and your upper body shrivel.  Gaze in awe as your cock shrinks in increments, as your shorts cut deeper and deeper into that sagging pile of shit your call a stomach. You disgusting pile of shit, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Contemplate suicide

Don’t do it.  Offing yourself is for fucking losers and pussies. But think about how you’d do it, should you ever turn into such a sad sack piece of shit that you can’t think of any better option than flipping the off switch and joining the void. Would you don black face and drive around running stop signs in LA? Swallow the balance of that bottle of benzos and chase it with half a bottle of gin? Go old school and kick out a chair while wearing an extension cord necktie? So many choices, but how to choose?

Alienate your loved ones

Fuck ’em anyway. What do they know about what you’re going through. You’re the only person who’s ever suffered this much in the history of humanity. Your wife’s a selfish bitch. Who cares what she cooks for dinner? Why can’t she just leave you the fuck alone. Throw a chair at her, call her fat, tell her she’s the biggest mistake you ever made. If you’ve gotta feel this bad, make everyone around you share the pain.

Do sit-ups

Nah, fuck that. Play video games. Go online and write racist messages on youtube. Wallow in your own despair until it fills your gut and spills out every orifice you have. Call an old lady a faggot. Fuck this world and everyone in it.

Radical: Surfing mag’s scorched earth!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Rumors of Surfing magazine's demise swirl but are they taking everyone down as they go? Brilliant!

I will always have the softest spot in my crusty heart for Surfing magazine. The powers allowed my to ply my trade there for a few years. Expectations for my output were kept low. I stumbled trying to clear them. Nobody got angry. Just smiles (I think). And so it saddens me to hear the swirling rumors of its imminent demise.

But look at them go out! Today they brought back the smartest man they ever employed to stick an intelligent nail in the sponsored surfer’s coffin.

Ooooooeeeeeeeeeee!

I read the title SHOULD SURF BRANDS RENT PROFESSIONAL SURFERS and must admit that I thought it might be an Inertia piece or some satirical bit of nonsense. Then I read the first few paragraphs:

Why do surfers get sponsored, anyway? In theory it’s because they project a cool lifestyle punctuated by ripping in places you’d rather be. Brands pay to rent the cool. We buy a T-shirt and the cycle starts over.

So now we’re told the cycle is rusting — why? When in the history of mankind has it been easier to “project a cool lifestyle” than today? The answer is: not ever. Food bloggers do it. Tweens do it. Your phone does it for you out of the box. A pile of billion-dollar apps exists just to make all our self-promotion turnkey.

For surfers, whose lifestyle actually is cool, even without cropping and a filter, this stuff should be child’s play. Now should be their golden age of super-distributed flaunting. So what’s the problem?

Maybe it is the economy. Maybe it’s weak sales. But maybe it’s a lack of ingenuity too. Maybe we just need some new models for sponsorship — new ways to play the game. It’s 2016. Cats on YouTube have talent agents. There must be ways to get Parker Coffin paid.

How? Let’s just think a minute.

What? So smart! So well written! I had to sprint to the end of the article to see it was written by the elusive Stuart Cornuelle. Rumor has it that he executive edited Surfing during the magazine’s salad years before retreating to a Zen monastery in rural Japan.

Anyhow, the piece goes on to discuss various models of sponsorship that make more business sense and if brand managers/executives read it they will certainly scratch their stubbly chins and say, “Hmmmmmmmm….” right before drying Joel Parkinson’s money completely up.

Do I think Joel Parkinson deserves his money? No!

Am I thrilled that he gets it? Yes!

Unwarranted riches are what make surfing fun! Wheelbarrowing money into a talented child’s house with no expectation of return makes surfing fun! And if the surf industry ever got practical, got smart, then nothing would ever be fun again!

But I completely tip my cap to Stu and Surfing‘s proposals which include forcing pros to achieve benchmarks in order to get paid, a pay-as-you-go model amongst others that would definitely gut every pro surfer’s paycheck save…. John John Florence. And… Gab Medina (as long as Brazilian men continue to shave their armpits) (click here to read all the proposals!)

I tip my cap because son of a bitch it is well-written in a sea of blah! Also, the scorched earth policy is the most entertaining brand of warfare. Watch them take each surfer then each brand down as they circle the drain! Entertainment par excellence! And at the end isn’t that the only thing that really matters?

Jewel: Warshaw’s History of Surfing!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Matt Warshaw is an artist producing in his absolute prime. Come marvel!

I get v v v v v v v v vvvv bored with myself sometimes. With my own addled mind. Look at me. Just poking at this or poking at that. Poking at the dear Cori Shcumacher or Sharkbanz or The Inertia or WSL CEO Paul Speaker….. Don’t I have anything better to do? Better to write? Something real to contribute to this world?

Duuuuuuuust in the wind. All I am is dust in the wind.

So thank God for Matt Warshaw! He graduated with honors from Berkley with a degree in history. Did you know that? Did you know that he doesn’t just pretend to be smart but actually is? And his writing style… I tell you what, when I read Matt Warshaw it is like drinking a delicious cold-pressed green juice. Like eating an organic free range duck l’orange.

His work nourishes the soul and will be around forever and he just added a whole new series. The History of Surfing!

Just read from Chapter 1 as Matt takes us through surfing’s earliest Peruvian roots…

The caballito reed boat was probably invented around 3000 bc, as tiny coastal enclaves of northern Peru coalesced into larger, more complex villages and communities. Traders used the caballito to move goods short distances along the coast, while fisherman used it as a roving nearshore platform. Peru’s coastline is essentially barren, but the chilly eastern edge of the Humbolt Current—a massive nutrient-rich gyre moving counterclockwise through the South Pacific—is more or less a solid wriggling mass of anchovy and sardines. Fishing was, and remains, a Peruvian necessity.

The caballito is organic and decomposes quickly, so there are no examples from even fifty years ago, much less any from antiquity. Used daily, a caballito remains seaworthy for about six weeks, at which point the reeds turn mushy. The outer layers are then replaced, or the entire craft is thrown away. The modern caballito is thought to be built along much the same lines, using the same techniques, as those made thousands of years ago. Fresh-cut totora bunches are spread out to dry for three or four weeks, during which time the reeds stiffen and change color from green to brown-speckled beige. Hundreds of reed pieces are lashed together into component parts, which form the long front-tapered “mother” pieces, two of which are then placed side-by-side and bound together. As the final set of girdling ropes are installed, the prow is given its familiar dagger-like lift, which allows the caballito to navigate through the surf without nosing under. A rectangular storage area for nets, floats, and the catch itself is hollowed out near the back. The paddle is made from a single thick piece of horizontally-cut bamboo. An average caballito is 12 feet long by 2 feet wide and weighs 90 pounds, and it has the same awkward portability of a full-sized canoe. The ancient Egyptian papyrus raft, which predates the caballito by a thousand years, was a surprisingly similar craft, with its multi-bundle reed construction and raised prow.

If today’s caballito closely resembles those of antiquity, the mechanics of its use are likely the same, too. In Huanchaco, a Conquistador-founded town north of Trujillo and Chan Chan, the caballito remains the fisherman’s craft of choice. Along with the rest of Peru’s west-facing coast, the beach at Huanchaco is almost always blanketed in a light salt-tinged haze, the result of the cool Humbolt Current surface water evaporating and condensing as it glides past a warm shoreline. A concrete boardwalk fronts the beach, and local fishermen now paddle out wearing polyester soccer jerseys and surf trunks, but the scene is often shrouded in a kind of grayish prehistoric gloom.

A caballito will flex slightly as its owner heaves it into the crook between head and shoulder and then grunts his way down the beach to water’s edge. Huanchaco has no harbor or breakwater, but the waves at the base of a long point in the middle of town are always smaller and gentler than the beaches to either side. This is where the fishermen put in. Kneeling or straddling the caballito, he grips the bamboo paddle and uses a kayak-style stroke to push through the incoming surf and out to the fishing groups just offshore. On the return trip, some paddle to the beach during lulls. Those who ride waves do so carefully and directly, dipping the paddle into the water to maintain balance as necessary. The flipped-up bow prevents the caballito’s nose from pearling under while being pushed to shore, and the motion is simple, smooth, and unvaried. Wipeouts are rare. Only in recent decades, as the caballito became a beachside attraction, have the Huanchaqueros put a bit of showmanship into the routine, raising the paddle overhead, or trimming at an angle across the wave, and occasionally even standing up.

I mean…. I mean…… “grayish prehistoric gloom?” “…a massive nutrient-rich gyre moving counterclockwise through the South Pacific?” “A caballito will flex slightly as its owner heaves it into the crook between head and shoulder and then grunts his way down the beach to water’s edge?”

It’s art! All of it! Art!

Thank God for Matt Warshaw!

Go here for your own nourished soul.

But wait? You feel like some more Chas Smith? Oh gladly! Just close your eyes. Only for a moment and the moment will be gone real quick. All my dreams will pass before your eyes of curiosity!

(Hint: My dreams usually involve poking at the beloved Cori Shroomactor, poking at Sharkbanz, poking at The Inertia and poking at WSL CEO Paul Speaker. Duuuuuuuuust in the wind!)

BeachGrit TV: We wish this was!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

The Lone Wolfs do it so damned good. Come watch Eden Saul of The Dead Kooks!

Derek and I give it the college try with BeachGrit TV. We really do. And someday it’ll be good. Our DIY thing will shine etc. And we promise no Cori Shumcacher ever again etc. Ever. Again. And. But. Ummm.

We both know how difficult “television” is to make. Neither of us are comfortable in front of a camera. Each of us run to the corners (off screen in “television” speak) as quickly as we can. Etc. But we promise no Cori Schoolmaker ever again etc. Ever. Never.

But the fact that we did once have Cori Spinnaker on a podcast and we do accidentally not make it to the corners quick enough shows how easy it is to go wrong.

And enter The Lone Wolfs. They do it all right from guest to timing to filming to host to…. everything. Come watch what surf TV should look like. This episode features Eden Saul of The Dead Kooks.

Oh you’ll enjoy every minute because it is actually good. I legitimately laughed at the end.