Let’s talk surf with Al Knost!

Cuter than a tulip, who doesn't love the almost-thirty year old Costa Mesa shredder?

Alex Knost is a surfer who has hacked his own pathway out of the cultural jungle. A little bit sixties, some seventies, all 2000s. A retro-futurist-modernist cupcake who loves surf! Let’s rap!

When did you first realise that surfing was going to dominate your life? 

KNOST: I think the first time it happened was when I was too young to remember. When I was around 21,  I was going really hard experimenting with all of life’s “various perceptions”. Looking back now, I realise that nothing can keep me from surfing, no party, no drug, no amount of beer, no girl, no band,  because I’m obsessed with surfing, the feeling, the culture, the history… everything.

When did you know you were going to be a good surfer?

Oh, I still suck.

In what way does surfing change the way you see the world?

Surfing is such a simplistic pleasure that devours pre-conceptions of anything else being important. Surfing helps to free yourself into a world where breakfast doesn’t matter nor does personal hygiene or parking tickets or hangovers or magazine interview deadlines.

Who do hold as the absolute best surfer in the world at this moment?

That’s hard! I really like Ryan Burch and Ellis Ericson, but Dane Reynolds and John John blow my mind.

What’s the worst session you’ve had?

At least once a week, lastly in Hossegor, France, after the contest – mega crowd, three closeouts, four pearls and I broke my favourite board.

What’s the best session you’ve had?

Most sessions.

What is your favourite board? 

I made a 7’1″, thinned-out-sorta-Terry-Fitz-type wing-pin with low rocker. I rode it in Bali a few months back. It had a thin tail that was nice, wedge foil, and plenty of flat surface for trimming.

What is your most treasured board? 

The last board I shaped or a really epic longboard Dane Peterson shaped, kind of a “Magic Sam” shape (Magic Sam was the board Nat Young rode in the 1966 world titles and regarded as the stepping stone tween longboards and short boards.)

“Looking back now, I realise that nothing can keep me from surfing, no party, no drug, no amount of beer, no girl, no band,  because I’m obsessed with surfing, the feeling, the culture, the history… everything.” Alex Knost


What’s the quality you like most in other surfers?

Some surfers go crazy! If fully obsessed, all those can communicate on some awesome astral plane of insanity.

What do you dislike about surfers?

No comment.

What talent do you wish you had as a surfer?

Oh, too many to list!

Has your perception of surfing changed over the years?

Yeah, for sure. The longer you surf, the more waves you ride, the more surfers you meet and that helps to widen your perception and the amount of respect toward everything.

Why are friendships between surfers stronger? 

People pretend they aren’t but deep down there’s a brotherhood, or sister hood, a family.



Gimme: Wayne Lynch’s $4 million Beach House

The original child surf prodigy proves the hoary ol real estate cliche true, buy near the beach… 

If you wanna buy real estate, pick a beach you wanna surf and buy as big a hunk of dirt as close to it as you can. Prices will dip, spike, and they’ll plateau, but over the years it’ll turn into a bankroll that’ll get you through your harvest years.

Lifestyle and cash? Who knew it was that easy!

Wayne Lynch, the child prodigy of the sixties, whose backside jams in the movie Evolution were roughly 12 years ahead of the rest of the world, is selling his four-and-a-half hectare spread called Namatjira (named after the Aboriginal artist) halfway between Aireys Inlet and Angelsea on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, a short drive from the burgers of Bells and the Winkipop express channel.

Wayne Lynch beachfront house
Ain’t that a hunk of prized dirt? Four-and-a-half hectares of protected natural bush. Wanna surf? Throw yourself in out front.

It ain’t just one house either, there’s two! Both with three-bedrooms. Perfect for the retired polygamous Mormon tired of Utah’s chill or perhaps a luxury eco-terrorist camp for well-heeled jihadis.

Wayne, his gal Lindy and their two kids Jarrah and Merinda are hitting it to the North Coast hence the sale. See more photos right here! (Click!)

Wayne Lynch from ENCYCLOPEDIA of SURFING videos on Vimeo.

Insider: Kelly Slater’s Vital Pipe Gun

Come and greet the six-six Semi-Pro Kelly rode (with vitality and courage!) to beat John John in last year's Pipe Masters… 

When Kelly Slater opened class at The Pipeline on Saturday, December 14, in that eight-to-12-feet north-north-west swell, it became apparent, very quickly, that he wasn’t on his usual mini-sleds.

And so the first question you ask his long-time pal and advisor Stephen “Belly” Bell is, why the length, why the thickness?

“‘Cause it was fucking massive,” he says.

Don’t you just love a slice of Australian ginger! Kelly is just as succinct. “When there’s big barrels and all you gotta do is go straight to get big scores you might as well be able to catch ’em,” he says.

The surfboard is a two-year-old Channel Islands 6’6″ Semi-Pro that Kelly had in the shed. Two weeks previously the 6’3″ he’d ridden at Sunset and another two boards, including a potential 6’8″ for Pipe, were stolen from the side of his house.

And so on the final day of the Pipe Masters, in his house on the beachfront there, prepping boards for his quarter-final, watching Mick ride into his third world title, Kelly chose the 6’6″ to ride with a couple of 6’7″s as backups.

And if you were watching the event, you would’ve seen Kelly make a drop on a squared-up 10-foot ledge that, perhaps, would’ve been impossible if he’d been on one of his shorter, more experimental boards.

“He’ll disagree but for a few years his boards were too short,” says Belly. “He went bigger, went back to length and it showed. That late drop in the final. Anything shorter and he wouldn’t have made it.”

Kelly ain’t one to disagree on that and says that in his first heat he was riding a 5’11” and got breathed off on a couple he could’ve made if only he’d been riding a longer board.

And Kelly says having four fins helped in the completion of the wave. They engage quicker than a thruster, he says, and transition faster at the bottom.

What you really wanna ask about that final day, and those last few heats, was how Kelly would’ve performed, magic board or not, if the world title was still a chance. Would his performance have been as murderously thorough? As complete?

“I like to think I would’ve tried to keep the same head space but things would’ve been different,” says Kelly. “There would’ve been someone else in that semi-final against John John. John John, likely, would’ve won that heat as well but everything would’ve been different, the emotion, the focus.  When I got into that final John John was real patient while I was more taking chances, trying to make things happen. It had gotten real slow and I figured the best bet was to get moving and catch a bunch of waves. But if the title was on the line I probably would’ve been looking at it different, maybe catching a little bit better waves to start the heat off. I like to think it would’ve gone the same but, who knows?”

And let’s reflect a little on the day. “When you’re that close to something in life and you don’t get it, it can be a tough pill to swallow.”

But, still, you gave cake. “Yeah,” says Kelly. “I didn’t leave anything on the table.”

(The dimensions of the Semi-Pro are 6’6″ x 18 1/4, 2 5/8″s. 11 1/4 nose, 13 1/14″ tail.)
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Essential Hardware: Craig Anderson’s Hypto-Krypto

This spruced-up seventies-style design so initially thrilled Ando he "didn't ride it for a year." Look at him now!

Five years ago, the shaper Hayden Cox presented his team-rider Craig Anderson with a surfboard of a surprising hue. Narrow in the tail and with a forward wide point it resembled something from the seventies but spruced up with the carbon Fibre Flex rails and a regular three-fin setup.

Craig was so thrilled “he didn’t touch it for a year,” says Hayden.

“I hung onto the short board dream when I was younger,” Craig says of his reticence to ride the Hypto. “I didn’t really dabble in the tricky looking fish boards. I always like a clean, normal looking surfboard ’cause I feel that shorter, atheistically weird boards have an unclean, almost cheating, look to ’em.”

Until one day when a four-to-six-foot north swell was lighting up the waves of Newcastle, where Craig lives, and he discovered the Hypto’s not-so-subtle pleasures in the long lefts of Dixon Park. “The banks were shallow coming from deep, no one out. I was really excited on how much paddle speed I had. I could sit further out and pick my lines. It was a great experience.”

After that he took it over to G-Land for a Quiksliver trip and then to Deserts where he eventually snapped it and gave both pieces of this magic surfboard to a local kid.

“Everyone likes that model a lot,” says Craig, who takes his 5’4″ Hypto everywhere including that top-to-bottom left-hander in Namibia that features in Slow Dance. “There’s no other board I’d have under my feet. Those boards make serious drops if you commit to them. You don’t have to think about your feet when you stand up. You have a bunch of paddle speed, you fly down the line and then you do turns. You get a ton of waves. It rides fast and it’s exciting. It suits my surfing.”

Hayden explains its genesis: “I was shaping a couple of twin-fins and they had those traditional wide swallow-tail designs and I found they went too straight. They didn’t want to fit into the pocket. So I grabbed that same design and put my semi-gun rounded pintail into it, blended the curves and… it worked!”

Pulling in the tail, moving the wide point forward of the middle, giving it a straight rocker and relying on the curve of the outline to create manoeuvrability ain’t a secret to anyone, of course. Dave Parmenter’s Stub Vectors in the nineties and Biolos’ round-nose-fish a few years later all combined the same magic ingredients. But the Hypto-Krypto is important because it brought the genre to a new generation. And with Craig Anderson, one of the most admired surfers in the world riding ’em in such a sublime fashion, they’ve become so popular they account for more than 30 per cent of Hayden’s worldwide sales.

“It connects with the wave really, really nicely,” says Hayden. “The whole back end of the rocker is super flat. It basically creates all the speed for you. It’s really the subtle features that make it a special board. That is, traditional concepts but it’s those refined features, where the apexes are in the tail, the roll in the entry, where the vee exits, that make it able to be surfed from one foot to double-overhead waves.”

“It’s good for the average surfer who wants to go fast and turn it and have fun,” says Craig.

Hayden says it’s been a sell-out for three years and, even now, with three factories, he’s still building “as many as we can” to fulfil demand.

In five years Craig has owned exactly three Hyptos. “I snapped the first at Deserts years ago, I just retired the one I surfed in Slow Dance, that lasted me two years, and now I’m sitting on a new one. The ol Hypto blesses me with its inner durability, for some cosmic reason.

Craig’s dimensions: 5’4″ x 19 1/2″ x 2 3/8″ (27.2 litres in volume)

Owen Wright house
Owen Wright threw one-four mill shekels down for this almost-beachfront house at Skennars Head in 2010. His first house!

Gimme: Owen Wright’s $1.6M Beach House

Got a little under two mill? Buy Owen Wright's almost beachfront, almost Lennox Heads crib!

Who doesn’t dream of chucking in the big-city life for an existence punctuated by the morning call of native birds, a honey-skinned and undemanding gal lolling around on the futon massaging her clitoral branches, and empty warm-water beachbreaks? Shelter, Morning of the Earth, they knew the allure. Come, come, it’s a real-life garden of Eden.

I don’t buy it. I like the city. The noise, the people, the constant incentive to improve or perish.

But maybe you’re different. Maybe you’ve got a little cash and you want beachfront (or almost beachfront), you want warm and you want empty. If this sounds like you, click here to find out about Owen Wright’s surplus house at 3 Bradman Court, Skennars Head just near Lennox Head and a short drive from Byron Bay.

Wright, the almost 25 year old, is currently rated 12th in the world after sitting out most of 2013 with an injury, bought the joint four years ago (for $1.4 mill) and has been letting it out as a holiday rental at ‘tween three and five gees a week. The former world number three (2011) also has a Federation-style house in Byron Bay that he bought for $975,000 around the same time. The year after those two purchases he bought a beachfront townhouse at Thirroul on the NSW South-ish Coast for $600k.

You like this crib? It has a pool that meanders through the main house, too. Luxury!

Negotiating tip: go in at one-two. BeachGrit is guessing O is okay with taking a little hit. Y’buy property in the provinces, you don’t expect to make a killing. Am I right?

Owen Wright house
Ignore that strange EZ chair in the lefthand corner of frame and focus on the indulgence of a pool that meanders through the living room.