Empty wave at the Billabong Pro Tahiti 2014
"Sitting on its shoulder, peering into its heart, watching it race and explode and swing wide. Watching the pod of surfers panic. Watching one spin, commit, drop, get drilled, not get killed. Watching the closeouts. Watching the lip. Feeling it pound. Asking others on the boat if they would surf it. Hearing only, 'Are you fucking kidding me?' in return." Chas Smith. | Photo: ASP/Will H-S

Watch the closeouts! Watch the lip! Feel it pound!

Chas Smith reports from Teahupoo!

The Teahupoo contest is running even right now and eyeballs the world over are glued to its splendor. Those tubes! That reef! Those green and sensual mountains! It is a postcard and, let me tell you, feels very much better in person. I spent last week roaming free in Tahiti and could and will spill much ink in testament to the country’s gorgeous.

But while eyeballs the world over are glued to Teahupoo, I must start there. Very few dreamed of places live up to their lofty expectations. When I first saw the sphinx, outside of Cairo, I thought, “Well what a little piece of shit.” When I first saw the Mona Lisa, in the middle of Paris, I thought, “Snore.” When I first saw the Statue of Liberty, off New York City, I thought, “This?” But when that boat ferried me across the lagoon toward the thunder I thought, “WOW!”

First, the boat driver is French by way of colonization and speaks a dialect so dreamily smooth that, when BeachGrit becomes an institution, I will hire a Tahitian to speak me to sleep each and every night.

Second, the reef really is right there. Like, right under the water so unbelievably clear and turquoise and all the Crayolas of the rainbow. I don’t know how professional surfers can take that ride and not picture their scalps growing alongside sea urchins.

Third, the length of the boat ride, from shore to shoulder, is the perfect amount of time to build anticipation without letting any air out. Fifteen minutes, I’d say, and if this life has taught me anything it is that fifteen minutes is the ideal increment.

Fourth, the judges’ tower really does harken Kevin Costner’s hit film Waterworld.

Fifth, the mountains, verdant green folds, mother earth’s breasts, are so beautiful that it is hard not to stare only at them.

But, sixth, there is the wave. Sitting on its shoulder, peering into its heart, watching it race and explode and swing wide. Watching the pod of surfers panic. Watching one spin, commit, drop, get drilled, not get killed. Watching the closeouts. Watching the lip. Feeling it pound. Asking others on the boat if they would surf it. Hearing only, “Are you fucking kidding me?” in return. Yes, take your “I want to visit London’s Buckingham Palace” money and book a passage Teahupoo instead. Buckingham Palace will leave you feeling as cold as the queen herself.

But Teahupoo? That is something you can tell the grandkids about.


11 Reasons WHY Your Surfing Sucks Right Now!

Surfing is cruel! You'll feel lower than a truck-stop lizard, legs jerked over his neck by a long-hauler.

What a cruel master surfing is. One minute you’re Jesus-like in your ability to bestride the water (and with beard and hair!), the next you feel lower than a truck-stop lizard,  legs jerked back over his neck by a moaning long-hauler. Suddenly, surfing is a drill blade twisting and hollowing you out!

But let me kiss those salty tears away. Here are the 11 reasons your surfing is…ah…well, the reason it sucks to high heaven. Me too! Let’s investigate.

1. Your stance is wrong
Your back foot is four inches too forward, the front foot equidistant too far back. The high-performance short board (with three fins) that you own has the twitchiest and least forgiving of dimensions and rocker. Unless that back foot is over the back fin, y’ain’t turning anytime soon. And if that front foot is too far back, which it is, you’re bulldozing water. Quick fix: spend the new few sessions deliberately jamming your back foot against the tail block of your tail-pad as you come into a turn. Don’t have a tail-pad? Buy one.

2. And therefore your surfboard is wrong
Unless you can fix your stance, you’ll need to get a four-finner. What’s the diff? You can turn even if that back foot is out of position and without the drogue of a middle fin, you’ll keep going on a wave even if you’ve outrun the pocket.

3. Positioning
Oh, this is the worst! Watch a pro-level surfer closely and you’ll discover they’re so rarely out on the face. The roundhouse cutback? It doesn’t exist in their repertoires. Meanwhile, we fly into oblivion, think, ‘wow, time to turn’ and inch our way back to the pocket. The great 80s surfer Tom Curren was trained never to look more than a metre along the wall. Quick fix: train yourself to think of the lip, and the pocket, as barrels of fuel. Each time you hit a lip you get a refill (speed). It’s a video game trick. But it works!

4. Forget litres and think rocker
We’re all so jacked-up on the volume of our surfboards we forget the most important element of a surfboard is its rocker. You might have the perfect width and thickness but if it’s all dressed up with a radical curve that doesn’t suit your surfing it’ll drain your confidence. Most of us need a very straight, very forgiving rocker. And with a forgiving, stable board comes confidence. With confidence comes…yeah… y’get it. Quick fix: take out your fins out and place your board on the ground. Is it mostly straight or does it jack up at the tail and the nose. If it’s curvy as hell, trade it in.

5. We don’t paddle hard enough
The best surfers in the world, even the supposedly chill ones, are maniacs when they see a wave. They kick their feet and they gouge their hands in the water and they don’t stop until their feet are in the wax. You and me, meanwhile, paddle like gimps and then hesitate in the lip and think (Hmmm…this takeoff looks kinda difficult… maybe if I just hang here in the lip and stabilise myself…) before eventually doin’ our jam. Quick fix: You see a wave, don’t think of anything or anyone else. It’s yours, so paddle, kick, and when you feel that tail lift, paddle a few more strokes, and kick straight to your feet. It’ll take a few sessions to lose that hesitation, but it is possible.

6. All those distractions!
Maybe you surf to connect with your pals, and that’s awesome, but if you want to take it to a slightly higher level, forget about ’em. Connect in the carpark, in the bar, or before you paddle out. Your goal is performance. You’re looking at the next wave and how it’s going to hit the bank. Head down, laying prone. Quick fix: don’t sit up on your board. Once you do, you’ll catch someone’s eye and out’ll come the meaningless conversation. Stay prone.

7. You think time has forsaken you!
Watch a net clip of a 10-year old-ripper. You might’ve been surfing for twice as long as this kid but he’s nailing backside air revs. What’s that mean? It means anything is possible and it’s possible in a very short period.

8. You’re in tag and release mode
Can you remember how awesome it was when you were a kid and you learned a new move? When was the last time you felt that? Instead we catch a bunch of waves, tag ’em to the beach, and go in relatively satisfied: we got some sun, talked to our pals and did enough exercise to burn off half a six-pack of suds. Instead, pick a turn (alley-oop, fin throw, whatever) and devote your entire surfing life to perfecting it. You’ll even dream about it. And then it’ll come as natural as that first time you hit the lip. And you’ll think, wow, the difference between a pro and me isn’t that wide. You’re wrong, of course.

9. The gulf between you and Reynolds is wide and and it’s insurmountable…
The very best surfers, Reynolds, Slater, Taj etc, do have a jazzmatazz that’s genetic. It’s a combination of athleticism, body type and neural spark that just… works. That’s it, of course. Nature ain’t too big on handing out multiple talents despite claims Kelly can sing. He can’t hold a note or a toon, poor devil. But he surf! And he surf the best!

10. There’s not enough pressure
Who’s going to push you when you’re a casual freesurfer? What imperative is there for you to land that air or complete that roundhouse? Quick fix: Enter contests. The spectre of embarrassment is enough to make even monstrous kooks land a jump occasionally.

11. You got into the game too late
Did you start surfing later in life? Well, uh, sorry, it ain’t going to get much better. This might contradict reason seven a little, but consensus among coaches is, unless you devoted that golden period of your life between 10 and 16 to nothing but catching waves, you’re never going to be have that instinctive touch in the water. Ain’t that a kick in the head!

Jeremy Flores underwater
High point? Winning the Pipeline Masters in 2010. "When I won the Pipe Masters I partied for two years. People would see me and they'd say, 'Fuck, every time I see you out it seems like you're celebrating something.' And, I'm, like, 'Fuck yeah! I'm still celebrating the Pipe Masters two years ago!'" | Photo: Morgan Maassen

reminder: Jeremy is Awesome!

He might've spiced up the judging tower at J-Bay but as this interview reminds us, he still deserves your attention…

The first thing you need to know about Jeremy is that he came from nothing. Grew up in one of the poorest islands on earth, only to become Quiksilver’s Great Investment when he was 11. The Next Slater. Even Kelly said so. But life doesn’t always follow the screenplay.

Jeremy was born in Reunion Island but was moved to dirt-poor Madagascar (where the majority live on under a buck a day) when he was five just so his family could get a foothold on life. His parents managed the hotel Le Lakana Vezo while he roamed the fishing village, surfing when he could, without the interruption of school. There was one television at the hotel and one surfing VHS cassette, Searching for Tom Curren. Jeremy watched it every day for four years. The only surfing he saw was his Dad and random fishermen sliding into a few after work.

His Dad knew the kid was something special and so the family saved and they saved and when the kid was nine he was sent, alone, to France to compete in the Quiksilver World Pro Juniors there. Jeremy won the under 12s and he won the under 14s. Quiksilver signed him on the spot.

“But they were smart,” says Jeremy.

They didn’t throw a ton of cash directly at him but made sure he stayed close to his family and sent him to live and train for six months of the year in Australia and six months in France. And the kid won everything for years. When he turned 16 he went straight on the QS and won it. First year. By 17 he was on the World Tour. And now, 26-and-a-half, he’s on his eighth year on tour. A veteran. But so young! And so prone to bursts of passion!

When Jeremy isn’t  on tour he visits his parents who now live in New Caledonia or, if you prefer, the much sexier La Nouvelle-Calédonie. His ma deals with all the “paper shit and travel shit” of his career and, on the other side of the world, Jeremy maintains a warehouse called the Fantasy Factory, part living studio, part gym, part skate ramp and foam pit. “It gives all the French kids something to do in winter apart from doing drugs,” says Jeremy. When the tour comes to town, everyone wants a piece, especially skate animals like John John.

You won’t see Jeremy in Tahiti. He was suspended for two events (the US Open and the Billabong Pro) and fined $US6000 for expressing his displeasure at a judging decision at J-Bay. This interview was recorded prior to J-Bay (and previously appeared in an issue of Stab magazine…)

BEACHGRIT: When you came out of that PR diz in 2011 (fighting at Burleigh, the Sterling Spencer gag) and threw yourself at big Teahupoo our gourds overflowed with respect! Who would’ve thought the little kid from some godforsaken Indian Ocean would ever come to something!

JEREMY: Oh shit! Thanks! Is there anything you wanna talk about in this interview, specifically?

BEACHGRIT: Not really. I wanna throw a few lines, see what bites I get… you’re such a fun passionate guy! And you love to party!

JEREMY: Yeah! Yeah! I was so focussed for so many years from winning the juniors to winning the QS to being on tour that the last, let’s say two years, I kinda just burned out. I always liked to party but the last couple of years I went a bit too…big. Now I’m in a transition. I’m trying to get my shit together.

BEACHGRIT: What I enjoy is your generosity. When you go out, you ain’t afraid to unstrap your purse…

JEREMY: When I won the Pipe  Masters I partied for two years. People would see me and they’d say, “Fuck, every time I see you out it seems like you’re celebrating something.” And, I’m, like, “Fuck yeah! I’m still celebrating the Pipe Masters two years ago!”

BEACHGRIT: Have you ever been to St Tropez? That town likes to party.

JEREMY: It’s a different vibe, but I definitely wanna go.

BEACHGRIT: Oh, you would lose it. I remember walking over the sand dunes, middle of the day, into a viper’s nest of pounding bass and dancing gals in bikinis and men with cigars and dark glasses watching… Erotic but a little sinister!

JEREMY: Ha! I went to Barcelona this year and it was one of the best place I’ve ever been to for partying. Oh yeah. Amazing. Clubs. Bars. Mostly students. So it’s a young vibe and every…night… every…day. Partying. Hot weather. Open-minded people.

BEACHGRIT: If Barcelona is one of the best, what’s the best?

JEREMY: Panama. It’s the capital of Central America so it’s where all the big clubs are, it’s where all the big-time people go to party. It’s unbelievable.

BEACHGRIT: How pretty are the gals? Dusky as hell?

JEREMY: Amazing. Amazing. Latina, you know the kind. But I always had my girlfriend so I had my limits.

BEACHGRIT: Are you a dance gal or a VIP room guy.

JEREMY: It depends on the vibe I’m chasing.

BEACHGRIT: Are you still with Bruna (pro surfer gal Bruna Schmitz)?

JEREMY: Uh, no… now is a kinda transition… a lot of things are changing for me. I was working with Yannick Bevan who was my training coach and mentor for so many years and I stopped working with him this year. Big changes. I’m trying to get  back to my roots. The last couple of years I wasn’t being, let’s say, a good athlete. A lot of people kinda thought I was over it and I didn’t have any motivation anymore.

BEACHGRIT: Fuck those guys! You’re like Andy Irons at Teahupoo! All guns! All fun!

JEREMY: When it’s Teahupoo and it’s perfect waves I still love it, I still love surfing, but…it’s the competing. I’ve been non-stop since I was 14 years old. Always having goals whatever I did. So. Then you’re actually on tour and after a few years you do things that you didn’t do when you were young. You go mad, you go partying, so that’s what happened. Everyone goes through that phase and I’m going through that phase now. I come from nothing. My parents had me when they were really young. They didn’t have enough money so I really had a goal, always working really hard to have the life I have now and to get my family a good life also. I did that. I was successful at doing that. Now I have a dreamy life but most importantly my family has a good life, also.

BEACHGRIT: Let’s talk about when you were 11 and just…ruling the joint.

JEREMY: When I was 11 and 12 and I was winning everything and when I was 13, 14, I was winning pretty much every event I was entering. Slater was saying stuff like I was better than him at the same age and everyone made a big deal of it. But it doesn’t mean shit. When I was around 14 I started surfing against Jordy Smith and Julian Wilson and then since then it has been a real battle.

BEACHGRIT: I wanna talk about sharks around Madagascar and Reunion. Ain’t it the craziest thing, right now. They’re almost walking up the beach and grabbing kids out of prams now. What was it like growing up, surfing alone?

JEREMY: I never saw any sharks growing up over there and there were never any attacks because there’s a lot of fishermen so the sharks were staying away, fearing the fishermen.

BEACHGRIT: Shit sure has changed.

JEREMY: Well, that’s one of the main reasons everything is happening in Reunion now. From generation to generation there were always fishermen and then people from overseas, environmentalists, came and they stopped fishing in a 10-kilometre area where all the shark attacks are now happening. That was eight years ago. By the time they stopped fishing the sharks didn’t have anything to fear anymore so they started coming and now it’s dead territory. They ate everything. There is no more life. There is no more turtles. There is no more fish. No more nothing. No more reef sharks. Because the bull sharks have eaten everything. And now, because there’s nothing left to eat, it’s the surfers.

BEACHGRIT: Bull sharks are such motherfuckers.

JEREMY: Fishermen, they don’t go to kill sharks, they go for the fish, and when sharks see a lot of fishermen, they stay away. It’s as easy as that.

BEACHGRIT: Has being a European been a hindrance, professionally?

JEREMY: When I first got on tour, it was definitely, let’s say, an Aussie/American/Hawaiian sport. It’s what I felt. A lot of things that were later proved. And not just results. Not just judging. Things in the media. When you come form a small island people don’t really care as much as if you’re an Aussie or a kid from San Clemente or Huntington. I definitely had to fight against that.

BEACHGRIT: Let me take you back to this year’s webcast at Bells. You were back in the competitor’s area waiting for the result of your heat to come through. Before it’d even come out of the lips of the commentator you’d correctly presumed the winner would be the American guy…

JEREMY: It was Nat Young. I said something like, “I bet if I had an American passport, I woulda won the heat” The last couple of years, it’s life, it’s people watching life. You go home and you go on the internet and everyone’s saying that I got robbed, that it’s bullshit. You feel it, but it gets you even more mad when you see the whole world is telling you how robbed you got. It’s the worst feeling. But, honestly, I’ve gotten used to it and now I just concentrate. I surf and I do my thing. I’ve been surfing shit the last couple of years, anyway. I can surf a lot better.

BEACHGRIT: What’s the worst decision do you think you’ve gotten?

JEREMY: It was at Teahupoo either last year or two years ago when I got beaten by Parko in the quarter-final. He needed a 9.7 and he got a 9.73 at the end. I love Parko, he’s my good friend, but that was pretty… pretty…

BEACHGRIT: What happens do you think?

JEREMY: Fuck! I don’t know! Every sport, everyone can make errors, nobody’s perfect, everyone has different options. I’ve always said what I felt. Maybe I should’ve shut my mouth a lot of time because I think the more I say things the more it came back at me. A lot of guys, when they have a big name, let’s say they have a lot of video parts, they’re in a lot of magazines, they’re the hype of the moment. And then they’re in a heat, let’s say, against a Brazilian guy who just got on tour, who rips, but nobody knows about. At the end of the heat, if the kid that has all the media attention needs a score you can be sure he’s going to get the score. That’s my opinion.

BEACHGRIT: Is it your belief the judges are swept up in the hype or is it something you believe is more sinister?

JEREMY: Maybe. Maybe they are are swept up in the hype. Most of the time the result is fair. But sometimes there is a fuck-up. And when these fuck-ups happen, it’s scandalous because it’s the world tour and it is the elite and people’s careers depend upon it.

BEACHGRIT: Let’s talk jiujitsu. You sure know your way round a mat.

JEREMY: I did a lot of jiujitsu when I was young. But not any more. I’m scared to get injured. I win money surfing not doing jiujitsu.

BEACHGRIT: What’s your money hold? Arm bar? Choke?

JEREMY: I like choking. Choking is good. I can choke a lot. Most of the time I get choked but whenever I can choke someone it’s a pretty cool feeling.

BEACHGRIT: What’s it feel like to get choked out?

JEREMY: You just kinda faint and then wake up. I’ve had a lot of ego (and therefore don’t tap out) and sometime you get choked out by someone who’s supposed to be way worse than you and it’s just how it is.

BEACHGRIT: Who would win a no-time limit UFC bout between you and Kelly?

JEREMY: Oh! Fuck! Fuck! I’m hoping to say it’s me because he’s 41 years old, right? I know Kelly is really passionate about it and he loves it but I don’t even know how good he is.

BEACHGRIT: Tell me all about your relationship with Sunny Garcia?

JEREMY: I’ve been coming to Hawaii for so many years, three or four months every year. And I got close to Sunny and his son Stone. I admire everything Sunny’s done. He never gives up. He trains like a machine. At first I was just looking up to him but then I found out what a giving guy he is. Some people might think he’s a bully but every year I was over there, for Christmas, I was by myself, he was always welcoming me to his family to spend Christmas. He didn’t have to do that.

BEACHGRIT: What misconceptions do people have about you?

JEREMY: Fuck! I think people know everything. I’ve always been honest, always said it like it is. A lot of people respect that. A lot of people don’t. So there’s always going to be people talking shit. I’ve always been true to myself and the people in my entourage and the people that believe in me. The rest, to tell you the truth, I don’t give a… I don’t really care. As long as I’m not fake. In surfing, nowadays, there’s a lot of fake-ness. So much fake. People are so fake. Most of the guys are so fake. I know it because I know all of ’em and they’re all such legends and such cool guys but then through the media you see a different person. That’s something that scares me and something I never want to do. I want to stay true. People like me and people don’t. But people see the real me.

Japanese man with New York Sunshine Club t-shirt

Two New Surf Brands That Are Actually Kinda Cool!

One's from NYC (and it ain't Saturdays), the other's from LA (and it ain't Vissla)!

When was the last time y’got the thrills at surf co stuff? Sure, you might pick through a few pieces on the rack and find a t-shirt that’s wearable (but that logo! Always the logos!) or a slimmish pair of jeans that don’t feel entirely like they were made for three bucks in Bangladesh.

But, for the most, it’s a car-crash of crudely interpretated fashions from Europe mixed with a desire to thrill the schlubs buying for the various surf stores chains. The amount of times I’ve wandered through a mainstream brand and found rad pieces that never made it to production still amazes me.

“Yeah, the buyers didn’t like ’em,” the designer’ll say before getting back to his tight-waisted bell-bottoms and t-shirts that bag on the chest but fall only just below the waist.

Crazy ain’t it. But there are two surf brands out there… right now… making some music we think is worthy preserving.

1. New York Sunshine

New York Sunshine Surf Club t-shirt
A New York Flag tee, fifty chips.

Yup, it ain’t Saturdays, which has devolved into some kind of graphic print t-shirt factory anyway. Go to Southampton on Long Island, down Nugent Street, and you’ll find John “Sunshine” Margarita’s appealing New York Sunshine Surf Club store. You want a basketball and mostly white colour vibe? You’ll find it here. The store’s only been open a year but it’s been lavished in the mainstream press, from GQ to Complex. The owner is a big Knicks fan and it shows. Think a little Stussy, a little Supreme, all folded into surf.



2. Topo Ranch

Topo Ranch t-shirt
…yeah, like NYSSC, the dwellers of Tokyo go mad for Topo Ranch. So LA! Served with only the smallest and most digestible of irony, too.

Alex Kump and Eric Hartnack built this LA-clothing brand around a legendary cattle ranch. Eight years since their first range, and with a flagship store in Venice (are you fainting with chic and authenticity right now?) it delivers a vintage-style menu of surf style without the look-at-me-I’m-so-eighties vibe of Warriors of Radness. They don’t always get it right, but who does? And you should see the cutie ethnicity-indeterminate gal behind the counter at Venice. The most alarming of smiles and electricity!


Oliver Kurtz in Miami
The 23-year-old professional surfer and aficionado of Miami and LA club scenes, Mr Oliver Kurtz. | Photo: worldredeye.com

ollie kurtz talks (not) drugs and (not) famous gal pals!

Dance parties in Los Angeles and Miami mixed with a little surf fever? Who doesn't like?

Oliver Kurtz is a professional surfer of much talent with the best dance party connections. When he is caught in an elevator of a baroque hotel during Miami Music Week he tells of experiences that would tease the reader in the most satisfying way. But everything of note is rendered off the record when Kurtz has a pang of regret at interview’s end. He says, “I have to be super cautious ’cause I don’t wanna say too much but obviously I don’t wanna say too little. I’m super worried about this stuff revolving all around partying and that kinda scene. It’s a big part of my life but I don’t wanna be known as the guy who surfs and parties and no one can take serious.” We take you serious! All drug-club-party references gone, mostly. Let’s get real!

BEACHGRIT: Have you seen drug use during Miami Music Week?

OLIVER: Oh! yeah, of course! Are you kidding me? I mean, the classic ones like coke and molly. But, you know, for the record, we don’t do those…

BEACHGRIT: I heard you were the cleanest of livers. Me too! Tell me, how did you get entwined in the club scene?

OLIVER: My brother got me introduced into this whole crazy lifestyle. And I love it. The lavish parties, all day and all night, like here in Miami right now. My brother DJ’d a party that started at eight in the morning.

BEACHGRIT: Where do you live?

OLIVER: As stupid and cliched as it sounds, I don’t live anywhere at the moment. My brother puts me up in LA where I have my car and where all the surf companies are. I’m sleeping on the floor of his bedroom. I have a sleeping bag and a pillow. I don’t have a cot. I don’t have anything. Him and his roommates are rad. They runniest the biggest music blog in the world (gottadance30.com) and run all these massive events.

BEACHGRIT: Tell me about this super dance-y DJ apartment…

OLIVER: It’s right at LA airport, a  four-bedroom, two-bath penthouse. with two living rooms. They got it for a steal  because of the airplane noise all day. All the time there’s one of those fucking airbuses flying to Oz or New Zealand or Europe. There’s a recording studio in the apartment too. It’s a fucking sick zone. It’s such a cool world and so different to what most surfers are accustomed to.

BEACHGRIT: What’s your favourite club in LA?

OLIVER: It comes down to what you want to accomplish. You can go to a progressive club or you can go to a big like Emerson that plays songs that girls know, those places where the models get to party with celebrities and they get their little Instagrams and their free bottles and their free drugs. I like good music in down and city clubs like Sound. But LA compared to Miami? It’s not even close.

BEACHGRIT: What’s been your most enjoyable club experience?

OLIVER: When I was 16 my brother took me out for the first time in Miami. I come from a tiny town in Florida where the guys pulling the chicks are rednecks and so I don’t pull chicks there, and I was rolling in this club with, and still to this day, four of the most beautiful girls I’d seen in my life. We were treated like royalty everywhere we went. Another time, me and my friend were with TSO all night in LA. And when TSO is in a club, the owner clears out the VIP section. So it was me, my friend, TSO and three girls in our own VIP area. We’d stay 20 minutes and then beat it. But last night was a wild night, too. There’s always something.

BEACHGRIT: What’s been your longest bender?

OLIVER: Oh god! These questions are tearing me to pieces! Yeah, like any other20 year old I’ve had my benders but I don’t think I’ll tell the truth on that one.

BEACHGRIT:  How about the Nazi, World War II chic you were into a few years back?

OLIVER: The World War II uniforms? My grandparents fought in World War II and there was stuff lying around the house and I tried wearing it and blew it out. I love the colour black and I have an offset fashion sense. I’m sure not about the Nazi life. I’m signed to a clothing company (the fabulous Brixton) but I put my own twist on things.

BEACHGRIT: What’s the biggest lie you’ve said to steal a gal…

OLIVER: I’m not that kinda guy. It more, pisses me of more than anything to say something you’re not to try and bang a chick. It’s the most pathetic thing in the world. if a girl doesn’t like your personality and how you look and what comes out of your damn mouth, saying something you’re not is the biggest fucking lie in the world.

BEACHGRIT: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen in Florida?

OLIVER: Dude, I’m from the south where they still fly confederate flags on their trucks. It depends on what you think is fucked up because I have a lot of friends who do a lot of weird things.

BEACHGRIT: If we’re going to talk about pals, let’s talk about your pal-ship with Taj Burrow. What do you like about being his friend?

OLIVER:  It’s rad because we always joke about him being my babysitter. We met in Tahiti for the first time and I was psyched we were able to hit it off. Friendship and why people like each other is hard to explain. I have no idea why we’ve become such good friends. Obviously we have the same interests. And he surfs great, he’s super successful, interested in investments, such an inspiring person to hang with day to day.

BEACHGRIT: What’s the most fucked-up you’ve been on a flight?

OLIVER: I have my Xanax here and there but I’m not like Wardo who has to be tied down to his seat. I like to keep as private a profile as possible so I’m never super flamboyant.

BEACHGRIT: Tell me your best celebrity hookup?

OLIVER:  That’s another one that I haven’t been able to tell anyone, yeah… I’ve hooked up with a pretty famous model but it’s not one that… I’m sorry, I can’t… I’m sorry, I can’t it’s too personal. She has a boyfriend so I’m not even going close to it.

BEACHGRIT:  Is she American or European?

OLIVER: She’s American.

BEACHGRIT: Under or over 30?

OLIVER: Under 30.

BEACHGRIT: Yellow or brown hair?

OLIVER: I’m not telling! It’s a secret. You gotta have secrets!

BEACHGRIT: What are you serious about?

OLIVER: Surfing’s a respect thing and if you don’t have respect you don’t have anything. Sponsors might pay someone hundreds of thousands of dollars but if you don’t have respect you’re a joke.

BEACHGRIT: So how do you get that respect?

OLIVER: That’s why I’m working hard to surf waves that are out of my comfort zone and that provoke, case in point going to Hawaii or surfing Ours the other day. I don’t wanna be known as a joke. I want to be taken seriously.

BEACHGRIT: Tell me how you live, philosophically…

OLIVER:  It’s all about having an open outlook and being available and having fun. Keep your plans open, don’t expect anything and be ready for anything. And don’t be a little bitch.

(Editor’s note: this interview appears in issue 74 of Stab magazine, a surf title with much sophistication and graphic jazzmatazz…)