John John announces retirement!

He will become a pirate alongside Greyson Thunder Fletcher.

I will say, without fear of contradiction, that The Surfer’s Journal is the most radical publication, maybe even thing, in our surf world. Its existence is based almost entirely on sales. It is thick, meandering, very tactile. As far as I can tell the staff gives no care to social media or the Internet as a whole. Radical!

And the soon to be released issue, 23.5, might be the grandest, most radical yet. It is entirely dedicated to the Hoffman-Fletchers. Anyone who has spent time in their sphere knows they are mercurial, at best. Their reach across our landscape, though, is undeniable, from Walter to Joyce to Marty to Herbie to Dibi to Christian to Nathan, and the Journal does a fantastic job capturing the angles (Lewis Samuels writes a gorgeous piece on Herb). But my fav slice (and Fletcher) is Christian’s son Greyson Thunder. Such a sweet, young man rolled into the packaging of a lumberjack! And he is interviewed by the savant of our time, up and coming surf journalist, John John Florence.

It is a brilliant conversation, worth buying the issue for, but the end, which I share here, is particularly wonderful:

John John: Do you want to be surfing and skating in ten years?

Greyson: Of course.

John Johh: Do you want to be doing it competitively?

Greyson: For fun. Yes.

John John: I want to retire in ten years.

Greyson: You’re going to retire in ten years?

John John: Yeah. We should retire at the same time and go on sick boat trips and stuff.

Greyson: It’s possible.

Possible and fantastic! I, firstly, love that John John will disappear in ten years, leaving King Kelly to sit alone like a Gollum with all his preciouses (that he will have to re-engrave WSL). I love, secondly, the image of these two going berserk on the high seas. They will be pirates and no port will be safe, no fair maiden secure. Surfers/skaters should have turned to piracy years ago. Damn Somalis beat us all to the punch, but I’m just glad that in ten years time we will field the best team ever. A freshly retired Capt. John John and his trusty first mate Greyson.  And we have The Surfer’s Journal to thank. Reader supported piracy! Yo-ho!

Matahi Drollet gets tubed at Teahupoo in Tahiti
Matahi Drollet is the 17-year-old kid brother of Manoa Drollet, who launched him into the wave of the day during the filming for Point Break II at Teahupoo. "He's only 17, man, and he looks younger," says Dylan, "and he went off, mate. He got the biggest drainer. He went deep and made it. On one of my boards too!" | Photo: © 2014 Raihei Tapeta / Mataiea Lifestyle Tahiti


Hollywood comes to Teahupoo for Point Break II

Australian stunt-man Laurie Towner bounced off the Teahupoo reef yesterday and sprung his jaw in two. Pop! Holes in his neck! Holes in his head! Body all cut up! The second wave got him, too, and he blacked out and came to in the lagoon a few hundred metres in with tow-pal Laird pulling him out of the drink.

That’s the kinda thing that happens when you’re a stuntman on the remake of a schmaltz classic like 1991’s Point Break that requires the hero to ride the offspring of a “50-year-storm.”  In this case, it was an ultra-long period swell which meant it was ultra-powerful but also ultra-slow.

And Laurie, 28, who prefers his tubs on the deep side, wasn’t going to have arm-chair jockeys telling the world he coulda got deeper. How many chances was he going to get?

Laurie is, or at least was, ’cause it’s the past tense now that he’s sitting in hospital waiting for his gal to arrive from Australia, the stunt double for Johnny Utah, the film’s FBI agent protagonist. Laurie can’t fly ’cause “so much water rushed into his head and into his sinuses,” says Dylan Longbottom, the other major stunt surfer, who doubles for the film’s conflicted surf guru villain Bohdi.

Bruce Irons stepped in for Laurie and for the rest of yesterday, and today (Friday, Tahiti time), he and Dylan doubled in tubes. Dylan, 40, who also shaped all the tow and paddle boards used in the movie, says the pair got “some crazy, drain-y ones. I was so deep and I was pumping and pumping and flying and I’m thinking…shit… he’s gone and I look back and I see him right at the end come flying out. I couldn’t believe it!”

For the past two-and-a-half weeks all the home-stays, pensions and hotels near and around Teauhupoo as well as hotels in the Tahitian capital of Papeete have been filled with that wonderful mix of Hollywood investors, directors and actors and production crew along with the hardest-edge watermen water patrol guys (Brian Keaulana, Raimana Van Bastolaer, Vetea “Poto” David) as well as camera men (including the most enduring Don King) and surfers.

Laird Hamilton stars as a vagabond tow driver and was also Laurie’s tow driver, now Bruce’s. Dylan has Raimana, who also acts as coordinator for all the boats, cranes, skis, drones and everything else that comes with a movie that ain’t bringing home a shekel in change from a hundred mill.

Such an event doesn’t come without casualties, even with Laurie excepted. Poto’s ski sunk ’cause of a too-heavy camera attached to it and another ski was flipped and the 200-gee camera strapped onto the sled was drowned.

There was even a fight! At least according to one photographer.

“It’s been a hilarious couple of days with Hollywood trying to shut it off to the locals which failed miserably, Hawaiian water patrol flipping skis, a fight out the back amongst a couple of very well-known riders and basically all the superstar riders being dominated by a 16-year-old local.”

The kid was Manoa Drollet’s little bro, Matahi, getting the deepest and biggest tub.

“He’s only 17, man, and he looks younger,” says Dylan, “and he went off, mate. He got the wave of the day. The biggest drainer. He went deep and made it. On one of my boards too!”

Matahi Drollet’s Bomb During Filming of Point Break 2 from MSW on Vimeo.


And what does Dylan think the movie going to be like? Cheese or Rock? Well, for one, he can’t give away too much, ’cause he’s read the script and it’s secret and shit, but he’s seen the rushes. “This one’s for real,” says Dylan. “This movie’s going to be sick, man!”


Not exclusive: The ASP changes its name to WSL?





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Chris Cote naked for Hurley
"So I roll up to the #hurleypro and my sister (who works at Hurley) says she has something for me," says Chris Cote. "She hands me a hand-shaped, custom Bob Hurley surfboard airbrushed by C.R Stecyk and signed by both of them! Bob's message said: 'Hurley family for Chris, first Hurley Ad guy.' I was in Hurley's first ever ad in a zine in 1998 or 1999 I'm pretty sure before they actually had any clothing. In the ad, I was naked covered in chips and salsa with the tag, 'Chris Cote can't wait for his new Hurley clothes!' The photo was taken when I was a roadie for @blink182."

EXCLUSIVE: When Hurley used to sell naked boys!

More sought after than even the Phantom Fuse 3 Sport boardshort!

Before co-founding the most exciting web venture this side of Pied Piper’s data compression algorithm, I was Editor-at-living-Large of Surfing magazine, a fine, albeit conservative, enthusiast title.

My one-day-a-week, in office, consisted of not contributing anything worthwhile at the edit meeting and leaving before lunch. I truly loved my co-workers, each and every one, but I was not built for the cubicle. Or to have bosses. During the five minutes I was semi-lucid, I would yammer on about how conservative every damn thing had gotten. Why couldn’t we have fun anymore? What was so wrong about writing the truth? In my heart I knew the answer. The surf industry had grown into a bourgeois, feckless old man. Surfing magazine was completely benign, but even still, those above me regularly fielded calls from irate surf company middle managers who ruled like nasty little dictators, threatening to “pull ads” for even the slightest infraction. “Who cares?” I always thought. “Let them pull their stupid, suck ads. And let’s double down on their cheek by give them something worth pulling their shit ads over!” I was outvoted.

Hurley was amongst the worst. They once threatened to pull, and/or did pull, over a column likening Nike Surf to the Vietnam War. Bourgeois! Feckless! But feast your eyes on a naked Chris Cote, covered in chips and salsa, maybe getting urinated on, being used to sell…. Hurley! Amazing, you say? Yes it is. I called Chris to get the full story.

“Ha! I used to be a drum tech for Blink-182 and when we were on tour they would pay me extra to do stupid stuff. Once I worked an entire show wearing nothing but Reebok Pumps and underwear. This day, they covered me in chips and salsa and offered them to visiting journalists.”

But how did it come to be a Hurley ad? It does not necessarily reflect Bob’s taste.

“No it certainly does not. I’d have to think he was a bit shocked. You know, I don’t know who made the call on using it as an ad. Maybe Paul Gomez? It was before the company had even started making clothes. Like, right right when Bob split from Billabong. To be honest, I can’t even say if it was officially sanctioned or not.”

How much fun is it to do unsanctioned things? I will tell you. SO FUN! Come ride the Beach Grit train, Hurley. Shake off stern disapproval of, like, everything and live in the sun! We can all eat chips and salsa off of a naked Chris Cote. We can all be wonderful, surfing friends.

Brad Gerlach with girls and car in CA
…publicity photo for Brad Gerlach and Martin Potter's heat at the Hurley Pro, Trestles. You like this Grace Jones/David Bowie/Steve McQueen vibe? Yeah, so do we. The ASP? Not quite so thrilled. "They thought it was too racey, too much bikini in it. Dude, it's laughable. Don't we do our fucking sport at the beach? And don't they wear bikinis at the beach? It brings a bit of showmanship to the fucking thing. If I was still on tour, I'd be fucking bringing the show. These guys need some serious consultation!" | Photo: Kane Skennar

Opinion: Five Surfers Who Rip Trestles

Brad Gerlach on who lights up Lowers on the occasion of the Hurley Pro, day one… 

Brad Gerlach is the 40-something former world number two, fashion maven (Banks) and surf coach (with book of advanced surfing techniques coming out next spring) who, let’s be honest, ain’t so into stroking his days away at surf events.

“I don’t fucking watch that much,” he says. “My life is fucking exciting and fun and to stop and watch… it’s a fucking arrogant thing to say but the contests are too slow a lot of the time. I have my favourite guys and I watch the replays.”

As part of the event, Gerlach will surf a heat with commentator and ’89 champ Martin Potter. And to bring a little show into the game, Gerlach had the LA-based fashion photographer Kane Skennar shoot this rad photo (with notes of Grace Jones, David Bowie and Steve McQueen) to publicise the heat. The ASP, howevs, reacted with horror.

“They thought it was too racey, too much bikini in it. Dude, it’s laughable. Don’t we do our fucking sport at the beach? And don’t they wear bikinis at the beach? It brings a bit of showmanship to the fucking thing. Instead of (and here Gerr puts on mid-west hick voice) ‘Oh! Two old dudes, you got a couple of old dudes!’ Fuck that! If I was still on tour, I’d be fucking bringing the show. These guys need some serious consultation!”

As far as an observer of technique goes, Gerlach is without peer. I wanted to find out whose surfing at Trestles hits him just… there.

 1. Gabriel Medina

You wanna know why? Medina’s posture is really good. His arms are a little fucked up but he has this spring in his legs and he doesn’t look too predictable. He has a lot of spark in his surfing and if he cleaned up his arms a little bit, if he hired me to coach him for a couple of weeks, I’d find all these places to make his surfing look prettier and make his transitions smoother. But right now he’s so fucking good and gnarly and fun to watch. I learn from him every time. I don’t think he knows how to do a nuts frontside carve, however. He kinda slams it and he doesn’t torque it enough. I’d love to teach him that one.

2. Jordy Smith

He’s a big smooth cat. His technique is so good and his ass is really, really low. The whole magic to a good surfer is having that low centre of gravity and having a straight back. Because if your posture is really good you barely have to put weight on your toes or your heels to turn. Think of the best golfers in the world and their swing. It’s effortless because the posture is really good and the head of the club does a perfect circle. There’s very little effort but the goes 350 yards. It’s the same with posture and surfing.

3. Felipe Toledo

He’s unpredictable with a lot of board control. His posture is good but his arms are fucked up a little too. But so were mine at 18. But there’s substance coming through. His back is good and straight and he’s low to his board. He’s technically really, really good.

4. Dane Reynolds 

I’d love to see Reynolds in the event. His technique is so fucking good. But what’s interesting about Dane is when he’s going down the line he looks horrible. He does so much shit with his arms. I think he does it on purpose. He has to. I think he does it to look ugly. He’s such an artist that he wants to look raw; he doesn’t want to look too polished. He has the best style in his turns. His arms are amazing, his butt is super, super low and he’s very, very powerful without being a brute. He has that hidden competitiveness and comes across as an annoying underachiever, like Rob Machado, sometimes. It’s so annoying! Why don’t you just try so we can watch you? You fucking asshole! It’s okay that you care! We won’t think you’re uncool! Dane’s a funny speech giver too. He’s a rad dude

5. Conner Coffin

Yeah, I wish Conner was in this event. Because I fucking coach him, of course, but he really fucking gouges the wave. When he connects on a turn you can… feel it. Conner’s got that thing that just gets you in the guts.