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Faux/Real: Board Punching!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Do you punch your board? Or is it a kink only for pro surfers?

Two days ago, the perennial almost-WCT surfer Mitch Coleborn posted an Instagram clip where he brought a muscular arm back and slammed his surfboard.

The blow, if there was audio attached, would’ve made a hollow crunching sound and, perhaps, a spatter of fibreglass shards would’ve dotted Mitch’s shirt front.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYgyYHgD8PF/?hl=en&taken-by=mitch_coleborn

Board punching.

Are you a board puncher?

Kolohe Andino is. One of many clips below.

I don’t think I’ve ever punched my surfboard. They are too expensive and, mostly, too precious an object to purposefully destroy. I would imagine taking the surfboard to the ding repair man who would look mournfully at the damage and tell me it would cost one hundred dollars to fix.

Pro surfers, of course, are very different. Their pay cheque depends upon results and, therefore, a surfboard that fails to perform at the exacting standard required might become a “motherfucker” or a “bastard” or “cunt.”

The question today is: are you a board puncher? Do you know any board punchers?

Or is its a pro surfer thing only?

Watch: The burden of youth!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Maui phenom Eli Hanneman inspires!

Let’s not waste time with words this morning. There is a video making the rounds, from the production arm of the World Surf League, and it is magnificent and eye-popping. It features fourteen-year-old Maui phenomenon Eli Hanneman who rides Matt Biolos shaped surfboards.

The fact that he is so young and surfs so well is both wonderful but also burdensome. If you are 14, going to become 15 then eventually mid-20s, how do you top your younger self? Did John John surf this good when he was 14?

But we here are anti-depressive so let us not project anything. Let us revel in the moment.

Amazing, no? Better than you or I will ever be. Should we give up on the surf game and become scholars instead? Maybe we can study the Hindu gods. Maybe we can begin with that monkey one Hanuman since it is near Hanneman? Let’s start!

While still a baby, Hanuman, the child of a nymph by the wind god, tried to fly up and grab the Sun, which he mistook for a fruit. Indra, the king of the gods, struck Hanuman with a thunderbolt on the jaw (hanu), thus inspiring the name. When Hanuman continued to misbehave, powerful sages cursed him to forget his magic powers, such as the ability to fly or to become infinitely large, until he was reminded of them. Hanuman led the monkeys to help Rama, an avatar (incarnation) of the god Vishnu, recover Rama’s wife, Sita, from the demon Ravana, king of Lanka (likely not the present-day Sri Lanka).

Having been reminded of his powers by Jambavan, the king of the bears, Hanuman crossed the strait between India and Lanka in one leap, despite the efforts of watery demonesses to stop him by swallowing him or his shadow. He was discovered in Lanka, and his tail was set on fire, but he used that fire to burn down Lanka. Hanuman also flew to the Himalayas and returned with a mountain full of medicinal herbs to restore the wounded in Rama’s army.

Hanuman is worshipped as a subsidiary figure in temples dedicated to Rama or directly in shrines dedicated to Hanuman himself. The latter are generally thronged by monkeys, who know that they cannot be mistreated there. In temples throughout India, he appears in the form of a monkey with a red face who stands erect like a human. For his service to Rama, Hanuman is upheld as a model for all human devotion (bhakti).

WSL says: “Drop in with the pros!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Do you hate your teeth? The World Surf League has a contest for you!

Do you remember, some ten years ago, when the film Bustin’ Down the Door was released and we all watched Rabbit Bartholomew, Ian Cairns, Mark Richards and Shaun Tomson tell their wonderful story about surfing on Oahu’s North Shore?

I, for one, loved every moment. It had drama, it had action, it had personality, fear and charm.

Oh I can’t believe if you haven’t seen it and would scold you very much if you told me so but just in case… just in case… you lack taste let me give a truncated summary right here.

A pack of brash Australians and a few more genteel but equally radical South Africans descended upon the North Shore in the early 1970s and terrorized the poor Hawaiians by dropping in, shredding, ripping etc. then they went home and published magazine stories about how much better they were than the Hawaiians.

The poor Hawaiians.

Well… the poor Hawaiians didn’t like that and actually weren’t “poor” but rather “way more terrorizing than any before or after” and formed a group called Da Hui to kick the shit out of the offending bastards.

Somehow Eddie Aikau made peace and an uneasy truce between locals and bastards has reigned in the land for many years.

Until now.

The World Surf League has decided to exacerbate the situation, much like Kim Jong Un, and is wanting to make you party to the demise plus a bunch of missing teeth by collaborating with the Turtle Bay Resort (where the brash Australians hid out in order to not get their door bustin’ down) for a special prize package.

Let’s see what you win!

5 Night Stay at Turtle Bay Resort – located on the famous North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Relax, hangout and rest up at Turtle Bay Resort with an epic ocean view room.

Round Trip Shuttle Transportation – You don’t have to worry about finding parking for the event of the year, we’ll shuttle you to and from the Billabong Pipe Masters.

VIP Event Access – Take in the best surf of the year with VIP-access and seating at the Billabong Pipe Masters.

Surf Board Rentals – Four-day board rental from the renowned Hans Hedemann Surf Center, just steps from your room and the beach.

Bar Passes & Swag – You’ll have VIP Back Door Pass which grants you access to any non-ticketed events at Surfer, The Bar along with your Triple Crown of Surfing swag bag.

How hyped are the Pipeline locals going to be when you drop in on a Surf Board rental with the pros?

Enter here and find out!

Revealed: Surf Nazis were fine people!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

The press has treated them absolutely unfairly.

We live in the shrillest ever of times, don’t you think? Each word that drips out of mouth or onto paper is parsed, discussed, teased and eventually found to have some very racist, sexist, fascist connotation. Oh I’m not excusing anything that is really racist, sexist, fascist. I am just saying shrill is the tone au courant.

And so it was with great wonder that I read a piece last week in The San Diego Union Tribune by staff writer Michael Smolens discussing the 1950s-1960s surf thrill with Nazi schtick, comparing it to today’s white nationalist pop. I was expecting rage at our checkered past but instead found nuance.

Let’s read together!

In the late 1950s, a small band of La Jolla surfers dressed up as Nazis and, carrying a Nazi flag, marched down the beach.

Around the same time, swastikas were painted on the infamous Windansea pump house and at Malibu — perhaps Southern California’s most prominent surf meccas of the era.

And there’s a well-circulated, historic photo of a guy in a stylin’ crouch on a multi-stringer surfboard streaking across the face of a wave in fine trim — while wearing a plastic Nazi helmet.

Some elements of surfing’s tight-knit community, long proud of its rebellious nature, certainly veered off into strange territory back in those days.

Oddly, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal at the time, often described, at least in retrospect, as largely “innocuous.” If so, that was then.

With widespread condemnation of recent white supremacist and neo-Nazi rallies and the removal of Confederate monuments everywhere, the notion of people dressing like Nazis for kicks would be no joking matter these days.

So what were these surfers thinking 60 years ago? It wasn’t seen as sympathy for what Nazis did and what they stood for. Rather, it was more a manifestation of their anti-establishment streak.

Greg Noll, the legendary big wave surfer of that era, said it was just another way to flip off society.

“We just did things like that to be outrageous. You paint a swastika on your car, and it would piss people off. So what do you do? You paint on two swastikas,” he said, according to the Encyclopedia of Surfing by Matt Warshaw, surfing’s meticulous historian.

The surfers’ antics were dismissed as a juvenile annoyance by many. The mainstream media denounced such behavior, but that only emboldened some, cementing their image as reprobates.

Interestingly, the initial link between surfing and swastikas was not only innocuous, but actually well-meaning.

In the 1930s, Pacific System Homes in Los Angeles sold the first commercially produced surfboards after the son of the owner went to Hawaii, went surfing and quickly joined the legions of the jazzed. He apparently convinced his father there was a market for surfboards in Southern California.

It was called the Swastika model, a laminated balsa and redwood board that had a small swastika on the tail. At the time, the symbol in certain cultures meant harmony and good luck.

With the rise of Nazi Germany, which turned the swastika into a symbol of something far different, Pacific System changed the name of its product to the Waikiki Surf-Board.

The piece goes on to discuss the use of Nazi symbolism by other subcultures and how broader culture reacted at the time and how it would react today with such measure. It was like a tall glass of cool vodka to the soul.

But what do you think? Do you think surfers should be more apologetic about appropriating Nazi imagery? Do you think surfing’s favorite safe-space, Venice-adjacent’s own The Inertia, believes surfers should pay reparations to the offended of the time?

Watch: Mick Fanning Jam to Long Drum Solo!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore scores surfing by Mick Fanning.

Do you remember the post-career trajectory of pro surfers pre-Kelly Slater? It was rarely pretty. A regional surf school or a little freelance surf coaching was the best anyone could hope for.

Soon, what was left of the sponsorship money dried up and it was mouth upon ice pipe to dull the despair and hopelessness.

Oh, I know, I exaggerate a little.

Now, as shown by Kelly Slater, a pro surfing career can easily morph into a series of profitable businesses. Kelly has a pool, a clothing label, surfboards.

And, Mick Fanning, whom we’ll watch in the short movie below, has beer, boards and battery chargers.

This clip which was scored by the former Mars Volta, and current Queens of the Stone Age, drummer Jon Theodore is a promo for Grapes the Cat, a cut-price charger for your telephone.

Theodore liberates us from the hold of guitars and electronica with a solo whose rhythmic tension, moments of relaxation and subtlety, mirror wonderfully the surfing of thirty-six-year-old Fanning.

Watch here.

ONE WAV // MANY WAVES from Grapes The Cat on Vimeo.