The Surf Video Seen ‘round the World! Or Exclusive! (Just kidding!) Oliver Kurtz at Newport Beach, California. I asked Ollie what he thought of getting such wide play and he answered, predictably, “Hey. As long as people are seeing it, I don’t care how many sites its on, to be honest.” Bravo enterprising young surfer, for the homogenization of surf media is great for you.

The Vissla Syndrome: All Aggregate, No Bite

Does the surf consumer really want to watch Ollie Kurtz three separate times packaged three separate ways?

Hurricane Marie brought rarely experienced awesome to Southern California just last week. Newport Beach’s jetties, in particular, received mainland Mexico-esque swell and every surfer from Jamie O’Brien to Mason Ho to Jordan Smith came to enjoy.

Of all names, though, Ollie Kurtz from Central Florida caught the wave. A lurching and massive left off of Newport Point. I called him, while eating the most delicate xo crabmeat vermicelli, and asked how it felt.

“That wave? It completely missed where everyone was sitting. I got lucky because I had just caught one and was paddling back out and this thing swung so wide but I was right there…and I knew it was a good one because it had a shoulder on it. You need a shoulder and that one had a shoulder.”

And you certainly know which wave he we are speaking of, no? It headlined Surfline, Surfing and many more websites on the same day. Its gaping barrely, spitty mouth was, literally, everywhere. “Hmmmmm,” I said to myself when I saw it literally everywhere. “What happened to originality? What happened to exclusivity?”

I asked Ollie what he thought of getting such wide play and he answered, predictably, “Hey. As long as people are seeing it, I don’t care how many sites its on, to be honest.” Bravo enterprising young surfer, for the homogenization of surf media is great for you.

But what does this race to the middle mean for the bedraggled surf consumer sitting at home? Does she want to see the same clips on all her favourite sites? Does he want to watch Ollie Kurtz three separate times packaged three separate ways?

 

But what does this race to the middle mean for the bedraggled surf consumer sitting at home? Does she want to see the same clips on all her favourite sites? Does he want to watch Ollie Kurtz three separate times packaged three separate ways?

I think no.

I think the craft of surf journalism has fallen on particularly hard times due  to ever tightening budgets and ever increasing advertiser meddling. The easy thing to do is lurk on other sites and then re-post what is already there. It’s a view game, honey, and being an aggregator of proven, engaging content is a sure fire way to barely exist. But ohhhhh is it ever boring! Ohhhhh does it ever crush the very soul! Repackaging does not a new product make, see.

Take Vissla. Is the brand hip? Is it crafty? No! It simply saw “hip” and “crafty” as instantly profitable since the kids were posting handmade things on Instagram and usurped the look/feel. It ain’t real. And it probably ain’t profitable because what the kids are starving for is anything real.

But there is hope! There are fresh new entrepreneurs out there re-imagining for all of us. Yes, God bless The Inertia, I suppose, for posting things that nobody wants to see (like Laird Hamilton shooting Malibu’s pier). God bless, Desillusion, for being so damned Frenchy smokey sexy (tell me you don’t lust after Dylan Rieder). God bless Matt Warshaw for running the Devil’s errand and bringing us all The Encyclopedia of Surfing. God bless What Youth (who knew 300 pages of Craig Anderson could work?).

Those who live in glass houses, you say? Baby, BeachGrit’s abode has no walls. We believe in indoor/outdoor living.


See the board here, ridden by Mark Occhilupo in the Hawaiian winter of 1984? It was shaped the previous year by San Diego's Russ Preisendorfer and became Occ's go-to board for the year. The board kicked Occ's career into gear and made a career for Russ. "I ended up making thousands," says Russ who soon left Canyon to start up his own label. Now you can buy a reproduction for $1200 including original decals and the touch of Russ' magic hands on the blank.

$1200 FOR A SURFBOARD? ARE YOU SHITTING ME?

Buy a re-issue of the board that made Rusty Preiesendorfer famous and kicked Occ's career into gear…

I ain’t one for throwing money at useless causes. If I can get for five what sells for 10 I will. Phone plans? I’ll grind the companies into the ground for a $50 plan. Utlitilies? What’ll you give me if I combine gas and electricity? New car? I ain’t budging til those seats are nappa leather and the steering wheel has buttons.

But I like quality. I like the idea of buying something that’s been built from the ground up with the sole aim of beauty and excellence. And for that I’ll pay whatever.

See this board here? It’s 1200 shekels. I haven’t seen a board with that much on it since the nineties when Greg Noll and Miki Dora made a limited run of Da Cat boards at $1500 apiece. Now they’re worth 10-gees and up. If you can find one.

Mark Occhilupo reissue surfboard by Rusty and Billabong
You want authenticity? How about the original rice paper decals from Billabong, glass-on fins, and the same squared-off rails?

But maybe it ain’t a vanity purchase (unlike, say, a three-pack of Mandingos pawing your woman. Hello Pete Taras! You know I kid!).  This is a hand-made reproduction of the  surfboard that was made in 1983, but only ridden by its master Mark Occhhilupo who was the hottest 16-year-old surfer in the world back then, the following year and henceforth became known as the ’84.

The shaper, Russell Preisendorfer of Canyon surfboards, had been watching Occ surf heats at a contest in California in ’83 and saw the kid dying in his turns. Russ figured he could square up the rail and save him sinking.

Russ walked up to Occ, said, I wanna make you a board. 

Occ said, Yep, but didn’t ride it until the Pepsi Pro Junior the following year (he won it).

That year, Occ travelled with that one 6’2″ and used it everywhere from J-Bay to Japan to California, including a memorable win at the ’84 Op Pro

Russ calls the square rail and the squash tail his “one little contribution to the development of the thruster.”

And ’cause Occ was so hot everyone wanted a board from Russ. Soon it was 25 a month, then 75, finally 100 before he became the first guy to hire ghost shapers.

“I was making thousands,” says Russ who soon left Canyon to start up his own label.

Last year, Rusty surfboards’ Damon Hayes figured it would be rad to re-issue the board, complete with original decals, Occ’s classic Billabong sponsor logo, glass-in fins and team glassing. All hand-shaped by Russ himself. Rusty had made a version in the nineties called the ’84 but couldn’t dress it up like this ’cause of the Billabong clothing/Rusty clothing conflict.

Rusty gave a board each to their team riders at Rocky Point, Hawaii, last December for a group jam. Noa Deane, Josh Kerr and Jay Davies took ’em to the sky; Occ, meanwhile, waited half-an-hour for a set that was… just right… and put it on a rail like nothing had changed in the previous thirty years.

“It felt like I knew the board already,” says Occ. “It brings back a lot of memories. It kinda felt like home.

And the one small difference between the replicas and the original?

Because Occ was such an animal, Rusty placed the back fin 2 3/4″ from the tail so he wouldn’t spin out; the replicas are set at 3 1/4”. Russ respects you but says y’ain’t got the same jam as Occ. “No one’s got that same leg power,” says Russ.

Email: rusty84@rusty.com.au if you want one… 


"There is a plan, apparently, to take John John, who was signed by Hurley post-implosion, and Carissa Moore, hit the eject button on the rest of Bob’s crew and steal market share based on the most dynamic male surfer this side of Neco Padaratz. Part of John John’s deal was that he had to jettison Vans, which opens those feets up nicely. " | Photo: Morgan Maassen

EXCLUSIVE! Nike returns to Surfing! With Baby John!

Third time a charm for the titan of sportswear? I will answer now. No.

Two winters ago Nike sat their stable down in a North Shore home and said to each and every surf tanned face, “Go to Hurley.” Kolohe Andino looked through the window, morose. Julian Wilson stormed out of the room. And the surf world was semi-officially rid of Beaverton, Oregon.

The footwear giant first came in with a whimper called 6.0, maybe the most misbegotten idea of all time, then with a bang called Nike Surf. I embraced wholeheartedly and welcomed this second rendition. I felt their dollars would spur growth in a stagnant industry. I felt their being outside the traditional structure would help shake the evil conservatism that has rotted surf’s core. I felt that they would make a tech product that might be sexy.

Boy, was I wrong. They made one trunk and it was multi-colored yuck. And then they vanished before they could do anything of note. One measly year they lasted before disappearing in an ugly, nonsensical North Shore implosion. They added nothing. They did stupid things. They were gone before Billabong’s Graham Stapleberg (now of the ASP) could exclaim, “Hot damn! Nike’s 27 billion dollars in product sales is coming into surf? How will we compete?” while busily dreaming up horrible slogans.

Although it was disappointing to see Nike go so quietly and weirdly and pointlessly, I was happy because the company showed its true stripes (in multi-colored yuck) and who wants that? Who wants shit surf product heaped upon shit surf product (here’s looking at you Rip Curl)? The very last thing surf needs is more of that same.

But guess what? The coconut wireless is burning with rumor. Nike is returning for a third try, the whispers say. There is a plan, apparently, to take John John, who was signed by Hurley post-implosion, and Carissa Moore, hit the eject button on the rest of Bob’s crew and steal market share based on the most dynamic male surfer this side of Neco Padaratz. Part of John John’s deal was that he had to jettison Vans, which opens those feets up nicely. Nike would then be positioned holding only the Michael Jordans of surf and none of the excess baggage (also known as Michel Bourez and Alejo Muniz).

Again, it is only a rumor but my sources are good. And it was once only a rumor that Kelly Slater had thinning hair. A small, wounded part of me is happy to see Nike back because it will be very fun to see them fail miserably once again. It takes a lot more than 27 billion dollars to wow the cool kids. It takes a faux French name (just kidding D’Blanc). Really, it takes even the smallest measure of heart. Nike has none. And remember, when John John dons the Swoosh next year, you heard it here first. And Billabong’s Graham Stapleberg (now of the ASP) would like you to remember that, “Life’s better in boardshorts.”


Anastasia loves this quote from Dylan Thomas: "Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own." | Photo: from the personal file of Ms Anastasia Ashle | Photo: from the personal file of Ms Anastasia Ashley | Photo: from the personal file of Ms Anastasia Ashley

poetry slam: Anastasia Ashley Reads WH Auden

Sports Illustrated gal reads Funeral Blues! It's a tear jerker!

Anastasia Ashley is a 20-something bikini gal and pro surfer from San Clemente, CA. She has half-a-mill followers on IG and in February she appeared in Sport’s Illustrated most prestigious Swimsuit Issue alongside Ms Kate Upton and the models Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge and Chrissy Teigen.

And, what was it, only a year ago when she twerked before her Supergirl Pro heat in Oceanside, ran it on youtube, and stole those multi-million hits?

What’s not to love?

But what you might forget as you disappear into the clouds is that the gal actually rips and is as sweet (and cute) as the buttons on her little shorts. And so smart!

BeachGrit is determined to bring poetry back into the mainstream and so we asked Anastasia to record the 1936 poem (although this is the 1938 version) Funeral Blues by WH Auden.

This recording took place in AA’s bedroom (for acoustic purposes) at her Mexican-style apartment in Orange County.

Join in! Lyrics below.

 

FUNERAL BLUES

by WH Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


Pam channels "Militant norm" for the first day of school. Crop top by American Apparel. | Photo: Courtney Jaedtke

Ask Pam: “Tell daddy what you need, baby doll!”

Where's Dane? How can I flutter my wings when I ain't got zing? And what if I don't got no dreams?

Pam Reynolds is a four-year-old French bulldog who will hold your gaze so long the dark stain in your armpits will spread. So much charisma! And advice! Never pouty and hungry. Her face is a perfect circle from the nose down and she has the most inviting wiry hair!

YOU WILL SHINE

Dear Pam, 

I’m a 28-year-old girl living in New York. I have great friends, a wonderful boyfriend and a Brooklyn apartment that has featured in “the magazines.” What I don’t have is “fashion sense”. I see your photos on #pamlovesferrariboys and it makes me so jealous. What advice can you give me. 

Penny, NY.

 

GO HARD

Dear Pam, How do I know if I’m following my dream? Because the thing is, I don’t think I have a dream. I’m reasonably happy, so no complaints with life. But that great goal, that five-year-quest? It doesn’t exist. Does it matter? 

Haley, Sydney, Australia. 

 

CASH FOR MONEY

Dear Pam, 

I did some searching and it says your owners are Dane Reynolds and Courtney. Is that Dane the pro surfer? If it is, can you tell him I loved him in the New Zealand section of Dear Suburbia but am wondering what he’s doing now coz I don’t see so much of him…

Graham, Encinitas, CA. 


WHO IS PAM? Pam Reynolds is a four-year-old French bulldog born on a ranch in Oregon, but left at the age of 13 weeks for a more fast paced life in Southern California. She currently resides in Carpinteria where she enjoys modelling, hunting and fashion. Her motto? LIVE FAST DIE YOUNG BULLDOGS DO IT WELL. Send your questions to [email protected] If you want to see Pam answer ‘em live, send an audio file. Get to know Pam on IG @pamlovesferrariboys