Stephanie Gilmore floater in Mexico
Stephanie Gilmore is a true surfer. She is in touch with God, with the universe. | Photo: Morgan Maassen

Become a better lover (and surfer) right now!

The universe has a rhythm! Y'gotta plug in, baby!

The universe has a rhythm and it is fast/slow/fast or slow/fast/slow and those who operate in any other way appear jarring like Scarlett Johannson’s singing career.

Yes, the alternation between slow and fast, fast and slow, in methodical, purposeful, directed ways makes for magic. Let us look, for instance, at the music of Led Zeppelin. Let us look at Stairway to Heaven.

There is a lady who knows all that glitters is gold and she’s bu-u-uying a stairway to heaven.

The masterpiece starts slow, a lullaby for the awakened, but somewhere in the middle of its seven plus minute running time it spikes. Furious strumming of double-necked electric guitars. The pounding of booze-soaked drum heads. Your head is humming and it won’t go, in case you don’t know. The slow comforts us, the furious excites us and when the song ends slow (And she’s bu-u-uying a stairway to hea-e-ven) we have reached auditory orgasm. Stairway to Heaven mirrors the rhythm of the universe.

Let us look at sex. The man who enters and pounds at a punk rock pace until he has finished is the most worthless sort of lover. Sometimes, yes, a woman wants to be manhandled, she wants to be abused, but the man is only abusing himself if he refuses for one instance to change pace. He must let himself breathe. He must feel the enjoyment building. The best lover starts slow, builds to a wild hair-pulling pace, and then, without awkward hiccup, returns to slow. Or he starts recklessly and then slows like he is swaying in a rowboat on a tranquil lake, so peaceful, before returning to his icky thump. She will moan with the truest of pleasures and he will too.

Let us look at film. Al Scarface Pacino does not enter the first frame lighting up the silver screen with bullet and cocaine. No. He enters as a poor Cuban criminal. He enters slow and of humble origin though arrogant. And later he falls in love and later still he lights up the silver screen with swears and angry red eyes. And then he is shot in the back. Slow to rapid fire to dead (slow).

Let us look at marathoners. The gun cracks and they are off! They run quickly to best position themselves and then they slow. They pace themselves properly for the long haul. They move methodically as if in a trance. And then the end is in sight and they move like wobbly lightening in order to finish strong.

And, finally, let us look at surfing. Some ill-breds who are out of touch with nature itself paddle into waves and they peer down the line and they think, “speed!” And so they pump their legs like pistons and they beat the wave. They change neither pace nor direction for theirs is only a straight line of fast and it is painful to witness. Others, usually on longer, thicker boards, set their course and don’t move a muscle. Slow. Only slow. And their stiffness is hardly witness-able.

But the true surfer, the one in touch with God, drops in and does a luscious bottom turn and then creeps back up toward the lip. She then shimmies fast and hits the lip. Pow! And another slow arcing cutback to slow himself and a fresh burst to finish with an air reverse. Or she bends his knees and maxes out the throttle on his first move and wham! into the sky before slamming the breaks in the form of a slidey tail something before picking it up once more with a burst of turbo before stopping entirely with a frontside 360 foam climb.

The best music, sex, film, long distance running and surfing all follow the formula of fast/slow/fast or slow/fast/slow and if the reader is still unclear let him watch softcore porn on late night HBO.

He will understand the essence of life and his surfing will greatly improve.


Matt Meola Spindle Flip
If you tried to explain Matt Meola's Spindle Flip to someone, says Chris Bryan, "you just couldn't. But watch it over and over again at a 1000 frames a second and you begin to comprehend." | Photo: Chris Bryan

The World’s Slowest Surf Movie (and why it’ll go viral)

Who knew the poison of ultra-slow mo could taste so good!

Chris Bryan is a 37-year-old filmmaker who, lately, has been the go-to-gal for the Hollywood remake of Point Break. Watch his jet ski angle at Teahupoo here (Screw You GoPro! Jetskis are coming to eat you alive!).

If you were to prise open his camera-safe you would see the finest collection of  modern camera technology, including the Phantom Flex 4K, the Phantom Miro M320-S, the Red Epic Dragon and the Red Epic.

Those names ring bells? They’re the tools of a craftsman who only shoots in the sharpest and most pleasurable definition available to mankind.

Dane Reynolds with camera
Dane Reynolds, tween swerves and crimps, tests the low-light capabilities of one of Chris’ Reds.

Today, Chris has released his latest reel, a 26-shot, six-minute, short that might convince anyone who ain’t into the slow-mo game that… yes… there is something to be said for stealing moments at 1000-frames a second.

Me? I hate slow-mo. It kills me. Take me back to the narrative. Slow it down a little, sure, but all those four-minute sections of ultra-slow? Wake me up when we’re back in biz.

But Chris’ short here does something a little different. It’s so well photographed, the viewer is gifted an insight into the minutiae of a difficult tube (Mathews), Meola’s Spindle Fip (a corked rodeo), a John John crimp, Slater falling out of the sky at Pipe (a takeoff Jamie O’Brien says he would’ve made) and a couple of spins that reflect the light at various points of the rotation.

Chris is at pains to point out that he doesn’t just shoot slow-mo, and that he is equipped to record interviews, land, whatever the situation demands. But, still, there is something about shooting at 1000-frames a second that thrills him so.

“Everything is so much more detailed, the pictures are clearer, everything looks more dramatic and if you crop tight it looks more cinematic,” says Chris. “If you tried to explain the Spindle Flip to someone you just couldn’t. But watch it over and over again at a 1000 frames a second and you begin to comprehend.”

He’s right. This is a reel that opens a door that is usually shut.

“The thing with slow-mo is that anyone can do it. You can shoot it on a GoPro, you can shoot it on an iPhone. But it looks totally different when it’s shot properly. You can buy a paintbrush, but it certainly doesn’t make you Picasso.”

Watch here!

SURFING @ 1000 FRAMES PER SECOND from Chris Bryan on Vimeo.

Topless girl on beach by Akila Berjaoui
"Surf hair is a treasure," says Chas Smith. "It can be spotted from across a crowded bar, the way overhead lights refract off the salts, the way it stays stuck in place without any product. It can be used to seduce even the most hardened woman, even the most aloof man. Because surf hair is a crown and even the most hardened woman, even the aloofest of men, loves royalty." | Photo: Akila Berjaoui

Get sun-kissed hair! Get laid!

Stand out from the gloom! Get sun-kissed hair! It ain't easy, but here's how… 

Surf hair is the crown that adorns the surfer’s head. Hair. Long beautiful hair. Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen. Hair. Hair kissed by the sun and coated by the salts touched with wax. Surf hair. And surf hair is a treasure. Our treasure. It can be spotted from across a crowded bar, the way overhead lights refract off the salts, the way it stays stuck in place without any product. It can be used to seduce even the most hardened woman, even the most aloof man. Because surf hair is a crown and even the most hardened woman, even the aloofest of men, loves royalty.

And while it is easy to get the surf hair it can be a trick to maintain. To get involves simply surfing. To maintain involves towel drying, lightly, after a session (which must include at least three duck dives) and not showering, not even rinsing. If going out to the crowded bar later in the evening a nap is recommended. Slightly damp surf hair pressed upon a fresh pillow and mussed by sleep is ideal. Sex, if it can be had before the nap and before going out to the crowded bar, is highly recommended. Sex before the nap makes the mussing even more ideal. The passion adds a certain sheen and the right amount of body, for a great danger of surf hair, one of the mines in the minefield of maintenance, is flatness. Surf hair can be weighed down by salts and wax and must be mussed. Sex musses naturally. Mussing with one’s fingers is a lesser option (it adds no sheen) but necessary if no sex can be found. Never use a comb or a brush. Ever.

Once out at the crowded bar, the surf hair should be touched with one’s fingers periodically but not too much. Maybe once every 30 minutes. Too much touching destroys the valence holding it all together. It breaks up the salts and the wax and the remnants of sun and soon it will look not like surf hair at all but rather day laborer hair. Almost the opposite of surf hair. Such a fine fine line.

If a hardened woman insists on rubbing her fingers through and through and through know that the surf hair will be destroyed and she may move along before the night is through. Take her by the wrist, firmly, and shout “no” in her face. Then place her hand on your chest, or upper thigh, and wink. If an aloof man tries to twiddle its ends demand that he leave his hands to himself, and wink. Hardened women and aloof men, alike, need rules. Make sure to be home before two in the morning or surf hair will flee. The magical gilded horse drawn carriage will turn back into a pumpkin of dull.

A night’s sleep will refresh, but being back in the water before noon is highly recommended.

After one week of surfing and maintaining, a rinse in fresh water is necessary. But only rinse directly before a surf. Rinsing after a surf will guarantee exhausted preschool teacher hair. Truly the opposite of surf hair. If, when going for a haircut, the surf hair is washed by a sultry stylist, let it be. The hands of a stylist massaging herbal shampoos into the scalp are one of this life’s great pleasures. But directly afterward go for another surf and then lock yourself in your home for four days, only exiting for surfs. It takes time to build up the right amount of salts and wax.
When away from the ocean never try to mimic surf hair by rinsing it with table salt or squirting with lemon juice. Simply weep for the ocean and know it only looks half as good as it does when you go in it.

(This story is a collaboration with fashion magazine Oyster our new and very best of friends. More to come from our coupling! Hello Zack! Hello Shane! But in the meantime, come-go to Oyster. Click! Here! And the photo, by the too-gorgeous-for-this-world Akila Berjaoui? Come see here her website too! Here!)

Submarine captain
"I will always remember my time as a submarine captain with a mixture of pride and satisfaction," says Chas Smith.

What it feels like to captain a submarine

Some surf, professionally. Others steer tons of steel beneath the seas.

The sea is the greatest place to ply a trade, and professional surfing is a wonderful example, but for those whose top turns do not differentiate, substantively, from their bottoms, there are many other opportunities to toil with sun in the eyes and saltwater in the hair. There is the Steinbeckian longshoreman, hardy and stout. The city lifeguard watching over bronzed youth in the throes of summer passion. The rescue diver, pulling corpses from Davey Jones’s icy grip. There is the proud submarine captain. Very few have experienced gliding a giant vessel under the surface. I am one of those few.

The submarine voyage begins with the captain pushing a button that releases a whistle and a deep, baritone voice telling the crew to secure the ship for sea, single up all lines, cast off fore, cast off aft etc. then eases the boat out of its moorings. Passengers below see bubbles, as the dive begins, down to ten fathoms, and a veritable plethora of sealife right outside their small windows. Lobsters, crabs, sea turtles. These amphibian patriarchs of the deep are direct decedents of the dinosaurs and have changed little in the past 200 million years.

The captain continues right, swinging past the Matterhorn. Below, the passengers see groupers, or giant sea bass and giant clams. They have fluted shells that can weigh over a quarter of a ton. The moray eel with its powerful tooth-filled jaws ambushes unwary prey from holes and crevices in the reef.

Next comes the cave, or “polar icecaps.” Below, passengers see a graveyard of sunken ships. A stronghold of lost treasure. Here, the submarine captain can have the most fun. His vessel is out of view and so he can bump the sub in front of him, causing the passengers to smash their faces on their small windows or press the kill switch and break down the ride for four hours while small children wail. But if he doesn’t push the kill switch, Atlantis, mermaids and an underwater volcano appear. It takes a deft hand to steer through this minefield. A googley-eyed sea serpent will appear last and the captain must make emergency maneuvers but does not put it in the official log because no one would believe it anyway. And then he eases the boat back into the dock.

I will always remember my time as a submarine captain with a mixture of pride and satisfaction. My white uniform gleamed. My aviator sunglasses reflected both the Southern California sun and the lusty stares from envious men and desirous women. I was a king of the sea.

Kelly Slater portrait with banana
"I can't remember Kelly having these odds against him for a final showdown at Pipe," says ASP Tour Manager Al Hunt. Slater knows, he remembers 1995 (Sunny's choke and Machado's high-five) and 1998, when Mick Campbell and Danny Wills trained for Pipe by climbing sandhills. "I love this scenario," he says. | Photo: Morgan Maassen

Interview: Kelly’s Impossible Odds (“I love this scenario!”)

You think what has to happen for Kelly to win at Pipe is too fantastic? Wait. He's done it before. Twice… 

Kelly Slater isn’t just the most enduring and surprising (and clean!) athlete in history. His native intelligence is married to an acute sense of history and precedent and so he knows…really knows… just how theoretically possible his chances of a world title win at Pipe are.

What a way to bookend his career, with the most stunning of come-from-behind wins, better even than 1995 (when Sunny choked and Rob Machado high-fived) and 1998 when Danny Wills and Mick Campbell’s sandhill training counted for nought in the Pipeline lineup.

Right now, the prevailing wind of opinion is that he’s pretty much out of contention at Pipeline.

“I can’t remember Kelly having these odds against him for a final showdown at Pipe,” says ASP Tour Manager Al Hunt.

“I don’t think Kelly ever won a title when ONLY the victory would matter and, remember, Kelly can still win Pipe and not be the champion,” says World Championship Tour Manager Renato Hickel.

Let’s ask Kelly about his famous ’95 win.

“In 95, sunny had to get 9th or less and got 17th, I believe. Rob was then in the lead after out semifinal and I had to win to pass him. I think this one is just about the same but if medina gets a 9th and I win I would lose by 300 points. Mick and I will likely both be on bottom of draw and I could theoretically have him in the semis and would have to win the final to pass him if I beat him in that. It would be about as far fetched as it gets in my corner.”

Far fetched, maybe, but it’s the anything-is-possible  mindset of Kelly that keeps him moving. Before Kelly, who’d imagine a surfer coming along and winning 11 world titles, including 54 events, and still be challenging for the crown at nearly 43?

“I love the scenario ’cause it’s a very outside chance for myself but not unrealistic,” says Kelly. “I’ve won on average every three years at Pipe so I have that chance. Mick’s best in man-on-man years is a third last year and it he repeats that and I win I would pass him. Medina has had a 5th I believe but his other two results would give me an open chance. That being said, I estimate my chances at about 5% or 1 in 20. It’s been 19 years since it was this scenario but it went my way that time. 1998 was very similar also.”

And Gabriel, if he wins, won’t he steal Kelly’s record for youngest-ever world champion? God no!

“No matter what happens, Medina is older than I was when I won. He’ll be 21 in December and I turned 21 in Feb after winning. I also won prior to Hawaii in October so I’m guessing that remains no matter what.”

It’s also instructive to note that if Kelly wins at Pipe, it’ll be his eighth Pipe Masters. Kelly won his first in 1992 (when he was 20) and also last year, 2013 (aged 41).