Cory Lopez: The Dumb Things I’ve Done

Why'd the hell I give my wife a pre-nup (I ain't got nuthin!). And that year I didn't party on tour? What was I thinking?

1. GIVING MY WIFE A PRE-NUP: I presented her with a pre-nuptial agreement about a month before we were going to be married and she bailed on me 10 days before the wedding. She was over it. The pre-nup didn’t work for her. She’s my wife now, but it took about another five years of work before we got married.

2. JERKY BOYS: Being such a jerk to my friends when I was young. We used to call my friends from down the road over to play and then we’d hide in the bushes and attack them with paintball guns, just totally obliterate them.

3. NO FUN: Not partying the year I didn’t re-qualify. It’s easy to look back and say I should done this or I shoulda done that, but if truth be told, I just took it all too seriously that year and I ended up not re-qualifying. I should have partied hard that year, harder than other years. It might have been the key element in re-qualifying.

4. BOATS AND PALS: Lending my boat to my pal Freddy. We were having this massive house party and my mate Freddy was hassling me to use the boat. It was a nice 13-footer moored by the river and Freddy was with a chick and wanted to impress her and take the boat out I was having none of it. It was a big party and I didn’t feel comfortable with anyone on the boat in the river at all. Freddy eventually became just way too much for me to deal with and I told him to just take the boat, but to be careful. So he took the boat with the girl in it and crashed it into a pylon or something and totally destroyed it. I should never have lent my boat to Freddy.

5. LOSING A PORSCHE: … by not being in contact overseas. I was away on the tour and while I was away there was a local giveaway contest and the prize was a Porsche. All the local athletes were entered in it from my area and I was entered automatically. I was away and didn’t have a worldpPhone and couldn’t take the call. The guy phoned me for 10 days and left voice messages every day saying, like, “Dude I really wanna give you this Porsche, but you have to call me.” In the end they gave the Porsche to some other person. It was this awesome Porsche, all glass on top, I don’t know which one it was, I felt too sick to take a close look at the pictures when I finally picked up his 10 voice messages

6. NOT T-BONING KELLY SLATER AT TEAHUPOO: It was a quarter-final paddle battle, I forget which year, and I was in front and on the outside. All I had to do was swing left and t-bone him into the reef and I would have had it. If I had pushed him he would have been on the reef and he wouldn’t have been able to get another wave. As it was, I didn’t, he beat me in the paddle battle, and got the next wave. He needed a big score, like an 8.9 or something and he got a 9.2 and advanced and I was left wondering why I didn’t just push him onto the reef. Big mistake.

7. GOING TO THE WORLD AMATEURS: It was a huge mistake going to the 2004 World Amateur Champs in Brazil. Pink Floyd was playing in Miami while I was going to be away and all my friends were going, but I headed for Brazil. On the night of the final concert Pink Floyd announced that that was their last-ever concert. I missed it. How did I do at the event? I can’t even remember. I think I got a second, or maybe a third, but nobody remembers a second-place finish, let alone a third.

8. FIGHTING A FOOTBALL TEAM: We were out for the night and the club had just closed and a bunch of football player jerks were causing some nasty shit with this girl, cussing her and stuff, so my mates and I went over to sort it out and to tell these dudes to back off. We all woke up in ambulances, we were black and blue and totally beaten. Looking back, the girl was just getting cussed and we took serious punishment, so we probably should have left well enough alone and just walked away. No one wants to wake up in an ambulance.


Slain great whites may have vomited up man's hands after being caught, says Fisheries…

The two great whites pulled out of the crystal-clear waters of Esperance, Western Australia, just hours after the attack on surfer Sean Pollard have been examined, and, well…

“We are unable to confirm whether either shark was involved in the incident,” Department of Fisheries’ principal shark scientist Dr Rory McAuley said.

Dr McAuley said while the results were inconclusive, it was not uncommon for sharks to disgorge their stomach contents when they were caught.  “Jaw measurements will also help with future bite investigations. The first white shark caught is 3.46 metres long; the second white shark is 2.68 metres in length.”

The thief dropped the jewels after the robbery, m’lud! Guilty as charged!

Dr McAuley says his team of scientists gathered sections of each shark’s vertebrae, which will assist in further research. He also said that while bite marks left on Sean’s board did not match either of the sharks, “Indications are that a white shark was responsible for the injuries he received.”

He did not mention who gets to keep the jaws of either shark.

A local fishing boat operator, who asked not to be identified, told BeachGrit there was a fairly obvious connection between the migratory pattern of whales and an influx of big sharks.

“It happens every year, but, you’d have to say it seems to be worse this year. I saw one that must have been six meters a couple weeks ago” he, or she, said. “And the scary thing is, the whale season’s kinda only kicking off, still got a couple months to go.”

The operator said no one in the town was overjoyed that two sharks had been killed, everyone was happy there were two less big sharks in the water. He, or she, also said the speed in which the sharks were caught had more to do with where the Department of Fisheries boat was moored as anything else. “It’s moored at Bandy Creek which is only five k’s from where the attack happened. They were good to go and got out and got the job done. I’d love to know how they got the big one in though. The boat’s only six metres and one of the sharks was four metres.

He, or she, also thought the phrase “Humanely destroyed” put forward by authorities at the time, meant only one thing.

“Bullet to the head. For sure.”

The ASP Logo and Dave Carson
"Surfers can be a surprisingly conservative group, with assorted rednecks, and racists," says Carson. "Look at those flying block letters, drop shadows, moving flags etcetera on the new ASP webcasts – they are horrible and embarrassing from a graphic design standpoint."

ASP branding “Embarrassing and Silly. Like Wrestling!”

Says Dave Carson, the world's most influential graphic designer…

The designer who took fusty old Surfer magazine and made it hip, like overnight, in 1991, has described the ASP’s webcast branding as consensus-driven schmaltz. An embarrassing shmear, he says.

In an interview in Saturday’s Australian newspaper, the just-turned-sixty-year-old Carson told Fred Pawle:

“Look at the new ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) webcast graphics – horrible design that feels more appropriate for wrestling, boxing, American football, or Las Vegas tourism. Big solid 3D silver letters saying Rio! Trestles! France! Weird 3D-ish logo moving in an out and flying about. It’s horrible and embarrassing, and not representative of the sport. It was no doubt created by committee and seasoned commercial motion graphics operators. Slick and silly stuff.”

David Carson, if you didn’t know, is the game changer of surf-mag graphic design who was selected by Apple as one of the 30 most influential Mac users in their history.

Smithsonian Institute magazine said, “(Carson) is one of America’s most important artists.”

From Newsweek, “He changed the public face of graphic design.”

In a sweeping interview,  Carson talks legibility of design (who needs it!), designing for free (hey, at least I’ll get some sweet shirts!) and the laziness of designers (anyone can do it! It’s automatic!).

And surfers themselves? “Surfers can be a surprisingly conservative group, with assorted rednecks, and racists. Again, look at those flying block letters, drop shadows, moving flags etcetera on the new ASP webcasts – they are horrible and embarrassing from a graphic design standpoint but I doubt few, if any, surfers noticed or complained.”

Not everyone’s sold, however. The graphic designer of White Horses and the architect of Surfing Life’s design, Graeme Murdoch, posted this on Facebook: “Bring on a Carson-designed webcast interface: John John scores a 9. or is it a 7. I can’t tell. Who cares? Now THAT’S edgy!”

The interview is most certainly worth the consumption of your time. (Click here to read.)

Hear Carson talk at the Byron Theatre on October 8 at seven pm. Buy tickets here.


Bodyboarder breaks Kelly Slater’s face!

Not just any bodyboarder, though. Paul Roach! THE Paul Roach!

He comes screaming down the line like a slippy, slidey salsa dancer. Like a liquid torso’d Cirque du Soleil acrobat. Onlookers, standing on the beach, gape. “How is he throwing so much spray? How is he snapping so damned hard? A 360? Right in the middle of the wave after that snap? How is he getting so barreled? Isn’t this wave a dumpy three-footer?” He blows apart their preconceptions. Some of the onlookers, though, bury their awe beneath a rude and heavy sneer. “Booger.” “Fucking speed bump.” “Dick-dragging kook.” The rudest. If only they knew this “dick-dragging kook” was the one, the only, Paul Roach, their jeers would soon turn to admiration. And if they didn’t soon turn to admiration? Well, then those particular onlookers should rot in hell because Paul Roach is beatific. He is the Patron Saint of Choosing the Wrong Historical Side.

Yes, culture perpetually comes to forks in the road and there are groupings that choose the Right Historical Side and groupings that choose the Wrong Historical Side. Millions of years ago, for instance, there was a fork with one path leading to Hominini and one path leading to Panini. Those who walked with the Hominini became Homo sapiens—humans—like you and me, while those who walked the Panini can now be visited at the zoo. They are chimpanzees. Almost one hundred and fifty years ago there was another fork called the Civil War with one path leading to freedom and one path leading to slavery. Those who walked the freedom path became thoughtful, well-bred Americans like you and me, while those who walked the path of slavery live in southern backwaters, inbreeding and screaming incoherently that, “The South will rise again!” A few decades ago there was another fork with one path leading to VHS and one path leading to Betamax, and shortly after this, yet another with one path leading to surfing and the other leading to bodyboarding. VHS and surfing have had respectable runs—you and me have enjoyed both—while Beta and boogie clog the darkest corners of embarrassed garages.

The history of bodyboarding shares the same fine root as the history of surfing, like Panini and Hominini share the same root, like democratic principles and dictatorships share the same root, like VHS and Beta share the same root. Both began in the mists of ancient Polynesia (or Samoa, depending on where you happen to be vacationing and who happens to be cracking their knuckles in your direction), and Captain Cook’s men observed the practice of each in Hawaii. The natives were riding the surf, some on their stomachs, some on their knees, some on their feet. It was the feet varietal that became popular, later. Still, the alaia, ridden prone, and later, the paipo, continued on as semi-viable, though not widely practiced, alternatives. This all changed, though, one bright Big Island morning in 1971 when Tom Morey stood on the beach dreaming.

Tom Morey wearing a moustache, a Speedo, and a glint of weird baha’i in his ey’e dreamed of riding faster than heavy, single-finned surfboards of the ’70s would allow. They were all soulful but all sluggish. And Tom wanted all fast. He had toyed with the idea of a board, to be ridden prone, with a polyethylene foam deck and a fiberglass bottom but, when he actually crafted it in Waikiki, it broke under the crushing lip of a tiny wave. So it was off to the Big Island—to dream.

Morey had one piece of nine-foot plastic foam left from which he could have made some sort of plastic surfboard but he did not. And a fork suddenly appeared in the path when Tom Morey cut that piece of plastic in half, shaped the rails like Vs, squared the nose, and took it surfing. Or, no, not surfing, he went and laid on it. He “paddled” out and “caught” a wave without ever getting to his feet and claimed that he could “feel” the wave through the “board” in a way that he had never “felt” before. He put his body on a boogie and shebang! He knew he had “something” “spectacular.” He asked his Baha’i brothers and sisters for some cash to return to the mainland and sell the feeling. They ponied up. He flew to California. And another Wrong Historical Side was fully realized.

Bodyboarding, though, was not realized by its patron saint—the Patron Saint of Choosing the Wrong Historical Side—until some time later. Paul Roach was born in San Diego, only two years after the Boogie, to a father who loved the ocean. “My father loved to bodysurf and he had me on a board by the time I was 4 or 5.” The board of which he speaks was a surfboard, not a bodyboard. Paul spent his early years on the Right Historical Side. “We lived down by Mission Beach and I was always out there,” he says, glowing an aura of serene nostalgia before taking a sip of frosty, cold Stella Artois. He is handsome now, tall and lanky, strong arms, strong chest, the brunette version of an all-American face, partially obscured by a gray knit cap worn low. I’m sure he was handsome in his youth, too, handsome but poor. “Yeah, really poor. I slept in a bed with my two sisters, with my parents in the same room on a foldaway bed.” But it ain’t as hard to live a pre-Willy-Wonka-meeting, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory life on the beach, and Paul’s parents moved to Encinitas when he was 11. He was always in the water there, too, always surfing. But one of his first North County friends did not surf. He rode a bodyboard. Paul’s initial reaction to this was not negative. He mostly thought, “That looks easy.” When his friend told him of an upcoming bodyboard contest Paul thought, “That sounds easy.” And, for him, it was easy. He won. It was the first thing he had ever won. There was no cash prize, but for an 11-year-old kid sharing a bed with two sisters, the brand new bodyboard and the brand new spring suit felt too good.

“The way I was drawn toward it was, like, fully a monetary thing,” he says now, after taking a sip of still-frosty Stella sitting next to me at Encinitas’s favorite dive bar Mr. Peabody’s. “There was a contest every month and I won every single one of them.” A full monetary thing. There are always reasons to choose the Wrong Historical Side. There are reasons based on fear of change, on incorrectly discerning the arc of history, but money is the purest reason to go Wrong. It is simple. It is powerful. It is very powerful. Free bodyboards and free spring suits and Dell computers pave the way to hell. Remember how cheap Dell computers were? Remember how Apple crushed them?

Paul Roach was winning and things were going well. He had sponsors like Morey Boogie—Tom’s company—and Beaver Sunblock giving him free product and a few hundred bucks per victory. He particularly liked Beaver. “I had this shirt that said, ‘Is that a Beaver on your body?’ and I thought it was super rad. I think my mom threw it away though.” Yet suggestive shirts, paychecks, and all, he was still not completely satisfied. “So I started riding drop-knee. There were others who where doing it too but not so many. I cut Roach off and we drink half our Jagermeister shots. Then I ask, “Why? Why drop-knee? What does it add? What is the magic behind it?” I drink the other half of my Jagermeister shot while he rubs his chin.

“You know, all I can think is that it is really fuckin’ hard to do and I needed the challenge.”

“But,” I interject, “isn’t there some sort of leverage thing happening that lets you get all that lightning quick wow-wow?”

And still rubbing his chin, he says, “No. It’s not functional. It’s a really awkward position that’s only good for really hurting your back or breaking your nose on your knee. The thing about it is, though, if it is done right, it looks cool. It is a way to ride a bodyboard and show style. It’s hard to show style while riding prone but on a knee…It’s like drop-knee turning a longboard—not functional but stylish.”

Stylish indeed. Drop-knee and Paul went together like rama-lama-lama-ke-ding-a-de-dinga-dong. There was something very specific about his glide and his power. He was good at it, and it is a marvel to watch an expert no matter their field of expertise. Have you ever watched an expert archer arch? Or an expert birder bird? Or an expert dancer bowl? I mean, dance? The field matters not when marvelous skill is employed. And, for whatever reason, drop-knee and Paul went together like shoobop-sha-wadda-wadda-yippity-boom-de-boom.

It was at this point on his journey down the Wrong Historical Side, when he was 13, that he started getting rides to Seaside reef in San Diego. There he met a young Taylor Steele in the water. They hit it off and became fast friends. Taylor surfed. Paul rode his bodyboard. And later, Taylor stood on the beach filming while Paul rode his bodyboard. “He would throw clips of me into his high school project,” Paul says after taking a bite of a chicken wing. “It was really awesome. Sometimes as it was all happening, I gotta say though, I would wonder, ‘Shouldn’t I be surfing right now?’ But I was already too deep into it.” That high school project became Momentum and there was Paul Roach in the middle of it all—insta-snaps in the middle of a wave, 360-floaters, 360s in a barrel. Drop. Knee.

Despite the groundbreaking surf footage, one of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Roach boxes Kelly Slater. When Taylor Steele called him, he could hear the rest of the Momentum crew giggling in the background. Even though Roach had some experience boxing, he remembers thinking, “Great. Kelly’s gonna kick my ass and they are all gonna laugh at this bodyboarder who gets beat up by Kelly.” Film equipment was set up when he arrived. In comparison to Roach’s tall and lanky frame, Slater was muscular and fit. “But I had reach and I used it,” he recalls. “We started boxing and I got in a couple of cracks and then he got all upset and ripped his gloves off and said, ‘Let’s go film some surfing or something…’Now I consider it a real honor to have boxed Kelly Slater, though his manager called me a few years ago and asked if I would fight Kelly in a cage match.” (WATCH KELLY GET ALL BENT OUT OF SHAPE RIGHT HERE!) I am sure the very public loss Kelly suffered at the hands of a bodyboarder haunts him to this day. He is as competitive as anyone on earth. And I am sure it would have been a friendly bout, maybe. Just two old acquaintances having a laugh whilst choking each other out but Paul declined, he only loves to box. And Kelly is as competitive as anyone on earth. It is good that they do not meet in the octagon.

The reception to his peculiar role in a game-changing film was immaterial. Paul Roach did not have to care what surfers thought at all. Life has its own momentum and his was on the upswing—five figures up. It wasn’t the millions that many others in the Momentum crew would go on to earn but he didn’t care. He was getting paid to kick around in the warm, warm seas.

He turned pro at 16 and traveled the world with sponsors like Quiksilver. “Board Fast. Rock Hard.” He competed, though he hated it. He hated it because he would only ride drop-knee, which did not have a separate division, so he was judged against the prone riders. Silly business. Yet his sponsors required him to compete. He remembers staying in the Pipe-front, Momentum-famous Weatherly home, sleeping on the floor before the Morey Boogie Pipeline Pro, and hearing third reef thunder—nerve-racking to say the least. He woke up the next morning, though, and kicked out into the maxing fray. “I’m in the Morey Boogie Pipeline Pro,” he thought. “I am not going to ride on my stomach.” And he didn’t. He rode like he always rode. Whack, whack, slip, slide stylishly. It is twice as hard to ride giant surf drop-knee. The bodyboard has a propensity to go too fast, and when it goes too fast the nose bends down toward the water and pearls. It is twice as hard to keep the nose up whilst on a knee but Paul Roach stayed true. He didn’t win. He never won. But he stayed true.

As much as he hated the contests, he loved to travel. He rounded the globe on magazine trips and video trips, drop-kneeing Teahupoo, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Sometimes the trips would include his surfer friends, and he’d stand-up surf on those trips, too, but only when the waves were small. “When it was cracking, I was on a bodyboard,” he says, while finishing the second half of his own Jagermeister shot. “I was a cocky shit. I thought I was rad.”

He sounded rad. He played in a death metal band called Niner, even playing the Belly Up in Solana Beach for one of Taylor Steele’s premieres. He laughs, “We opened for Sprung Monkey, Unwritten Law, Pennywise—all these punk bands. We were on first and it was just crickets. Death metal was the completely wrong sound for the crowd. It was then that I kinda realized Taylor and I were going in different directions.”

Twenty-three-year-old Paul Roach was at the height of his career. He was buzzy. He was rad. He was coming into his own. Then the bodyboard industry in the United States collapsed suddenly and all the way. The magazines folded. The brands crashed. Quiksilver pulled its sponsorship. “Stop boarding fast. No more rocking hard.” It went from a fringy but robust business to absolutely nothing overnight. Roach, with his young wife and younger daughter, picked up an Australian sponsor that would never send him checks. He went bankrupt, then picked up a hammer. “I had done a little construction before and I really needed money quick. No training, but a couple of local surfers took me on, let me start,” he says, taking the final sip of a no-longer-frosty Stella. He has worked construction for the past 15 years.

Is he angry that he chose the Wrong Historical Side? Kelly Slater makes millions of dollars each year. Paul Roach, many years ago, made only a small fraction of that. Angry? He laughs. “I regret nothing.” The biggest cliché in the book! But I look at his brunette all-American eyes and I see truth. “It has been a trip. I surf whenever I can, whenever there are waves. I’ll get work off—whatever it takes.” But what about dip-dadip-dadip-doowop-drop-knee? And here his brunette all-American eyes grow wistful. “Yes. When the waves are good for it.”

This is what makes Paul Roach a patron saint. The Patron Saint of Choosing the Wrong Historical Side. He still loves it. “There is something about it on the right wave,” he explains. “That’s the problem: the right waves for bodyboarding are not really in Southern California…With no fins, and less structure, the bodyboard does what the wave wants to do… It’s very functional. It’s like music.”

He talks feeling. He talks shape. He talks nuance. And he glows. Bodyboarding has been proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to be the Wrong Historical Side. It is in ruins, probably to never return. But Paul Roach sees the beauty. He sees art. He sees what the masses, rushing headlong with virtually all others on the Right Historical Side, fail to see. He sees nuance in an openly derided deal. So easy to know that humans are smarter than apes, that slavery is worse than freedom, that Betamax and Dell are shit. So difficult to find appreciation, and not ironic appreciation like I-once-voted-for-Ross-Perot-hee-hee-hee revelry, but real, true, honest appreciation for something as ridiculous as drop-knee bodyboarding.




Surfer loses both hands in shark attack. Two white pointers killed by pro-active government… 

“Y’all know me. Know how I earn a livin’. I’ll catch this bird for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Bad fish. Not like going down the pond chasin’ bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow you whole. Little shakin’, little tenderizin’, an’ down you go. And we gotta do it quick.”

Remember Quint? The shark fisherman from Jaws? Well, turns out he had a point.

Actually, ‘member Jaws, and the good people of Amity Island racked with paranoia in need of an end to the “shark menace?

Well, cast your mind back just three weeks and you’ll recall a still-pissed West Oz premier Colin Barnett shaking his fist towards the ocean and telling all who would listen that rogue sharks would be “destroyed and removed.”

Barnett, of course, was still quivering with anger at the decision by his own Environmental Protection Agency, who advised against the redeployment of 72 shiny new baited hooks this summer.

But yesterday he kept good on that promise and authorised the swift “humane destruction” of not one but two four-metre white pointers found swimming in the vicinity of an attack on surfer Sean Pollard near the beautiful fishing town of Esperance.

 The 23-year-old from the state’s south-west was surfing solo prior to the attack and the injuries…Jesus… Sean lost the hand from one arm and part of his other arm from the elbow down.

He reportedly told paramedics that two sharks, perhaps bronze whalers, had attacked him.

The town’s shire president, Malcolm Heasman, absolutely caught on the hop by the circling press, urged locals and visitors, comprised of families enjoying school holidays enjoy to “exercise caution,” before stating:

“I am extremely sad, but I guess we live in a coastal community so from time to time unfortunately these things happen,” Mr Heasman said. “We would prefer they didn’t.”

 But for better or worse, the two whites were in the area, and out they came, straight onto the back of a waiting truck for transport to Perth, trailed by news crews, where they are currently being examined to determine if they were indeed the culprits.

And the method of their capture? Drum lines and baited hooks.  The whole incident unfolded at such a pace that opponents of any form of retribution towards the sharks did not have a chance to voice their disgust.

But, jeez, what do you think? Victory for good old common sense or knee-jerk reaction?

Picture Quint, talking to us from beyond the grave. Fixing us with that steely gaze, bottle of rum in one hand and sharp gaff in the other.

“You’ve gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive…then ante up.”

Let the debate begin.