Kolohe Andino with Surfing magazine cover
What was Kolohe's reaction to CJ calling his barrel-to-oop in Portugal the "best wave ever ridden"? "Ha ha. Thanks so much man. Nothing compares to that 15-foot-plus Chopes wave you got…" | Photo: Ryan Miller

Opinion: “This is the best wave ever ridden,” says CJ Hobgood

A barrel-to-alley-oop combo might just be the most complete ride. Ever.

A couple of months back we lost our minds over Kelly’s rote-and-a-half in Portugal. 

Mental? Yes it was.

But while all eyes and commentary were on Kelly’s move, something easy to get your head around (High! Spin!), a few hours earlier, Kolohe had completed what the 2001 world champ CJ Hobgood is calling the “best wave ever ridden.”

On IG this morn, he wrote:

Yes @kellyslater ‘s 720 a few miles down the road and hours later was better and Yes there’s been heavier, deeper barrels ridden.HOWEVER if getting a barrel in surfing is the ultimate experience and next in line would be an air. I have never seen a better barrel and bigger air combo on the same wave. My answer is yes and what wave is next in line for best combo if this is número uno? 

An opinion! Who has opinions these days! BeachGrit called CJ in Orlando, Florida, where he was recovering from nerve surgery in his arm, to get a little elaboration.

And CJ, still only 35 (a year younger than Taj, seven under Kelly), and who’ll probs get the injury wildcard for 2015 if he wants it, ain’t afraid to jam.

“I’ve been racking my brain and I can’t think of another combo as good,” he says of a barrel-to-alley-oop combo that features on the cover of the latest issue of Surfing magazine. 

“People have said there’s been a couple of Dane combos but that’s it.”

CJ says that there had been plenty of chatter about raising the performance bar prior to Kolohe’s combo. Like, what would happen if John John or Julian had wrapped up their soaring alley-oops with something else, a combo like nothing else ever seen?

After the photographer Ryan Miller caught the wave on stills and …Lost  filmer Noah Alani (angle one) and Blake Kueny (angle two) had it safe on a RED cam, there were round-table discussions between photographers, surfers and journalists.

Like, how good is that wave? 

“I think it’s the gnarliest wave ever ridden,” says CJ. “I didn’t see people comprehending the magnitude of what went down. On Instagram, I wanted to shine some light on the sheer magnitude of what I thought went down.”

If a barrel-to-oop is the best wave in history, what next? Three hammers?

“It’d be hard to get your brain into another manoeuvre after two,” says CJ. “You could tell that when Brother was done his brain was… warped. It was wow… and wow. You have to contain a high level of focus for that level of time and not be stoked with what you’ve already pulled. You’d have to prepare your brain for sure.”

CJ adds, “It was a watershed moment for surfing.”

Kolohe’ll be releasing a 25-minute film next July and it’ll have the two angles of the wave. Can you wait?


Dusty Payne wins Reef Pro
I like to pump, you like to pump, Dusty likes to pump. Let's sing it to the world! | Photo: ASP/Cestari

Candid: “I just love to pump!” says Dusty Payne

Newly anointed World Surf League surfer Dusty Payne and the joys (supermodels) and not-joys of sex (ass)…

It’s a Christmas miracle. A Hanukkah gift! The red-headed surfer from Maui whose Lost Atlas Mexico section influenced every surfer from Dane Reynolds and beyond has qualified for the WSL. Dusty won the Reef Pro (Haleiwa) and finished second at Sunset (Vans World Cup) and rocketed form 24th to number 10.

Who knows what he’ll do at Pipe! Maybe a world-title spoiler! Either way, he’s a sure thing for the Triple Crown.

Dusty, who is 25 now but will turn 26 just two days after Christmas, embodies enthusiasm. It’s in his surfing, it’s in the way he shoos away writers, it’s in the way he administers and operates his sex organs.

Let’s talk!

The little virgin boy

I was 17 years old and still in high school. The chick was older, 31 actually, just this old badger cruising around home. I lasted about a second. It went down in this car park at this spot we all used to hang at. I thought she was pretty damn hot. But I was 17 and she was my first chick.

Potential lovers

Can I say this? I’m more into intelligent chicks. I can’t deal with stupid chicks. If they’re super dumb it’s a major turn off. I like people with a good head on their shoulders. Everyone likes a good body. With a head like mine, I can’t be picky but given the choice between a curvy Latino and the model, I’d take the model.


I swear, I’ve never been on a proper serious date. I don’t know what to do.

Older women

Older chicks are cool. Young chicks can be so immature sometimes. Older chicks are straight to business.

Partners (how many)

I dunno.  (More than 10?) I hope so. (More than 20?) I hope so. (More than 30?) I dunno, I haven’t kept count. It’s a good thing if you don’t keep count because then you’ll be disgusted in yourself.

Most erotic dream

I haven’t had one since I was young. I have the funniest story though. I was in the Mentawais with Granger (Larsen), (Mitch) Coleborn, Michel Bourez and Tanner Gudauskus or someone. There were three beds. Mitch was on one side, Granger in the middle and Michel on the other. Granger wakes up in the morning all rattled and I’m, like, “Fuck dude, what happened?”

He says, “Fuck. I had two wet dreams last night.” How do you have two wet dreams when you’re sleeping between two guys?

Sexual fantasy

Having a supermodel after me. Just some rig walking up to me and being, “Yeah, come and talk to me.” I dream about it but it never happens.

Frank talk

Not really into it because I think the phone is tapped or there might be another chick on the line. In the flesh, it just sounds ridiculous and cheesy.


I just love to pump. Enthusiasm and energy in the sack is my trademark.

How does casual sex differ to relationship sex?

I’ve never had a relationship, so I don’t know.

Fake titties

They look good. I’m a fan, but real is better.

Sex toys

I don’t have any and I’ve never used one. No chick has ever pulled one out. If a chick did, I’d be kinda rattled, like, “I’m not good enough?”

Do you enjoy sex games that include asphyxiation and sadism?

I’ve had chicks screaming and scratching my back. Nothing too wild. I wasn’t into it. It hurt.

Contraception? Bring your own or the pill?

Always. Keep it safe, kids.


I’ve never been there. Why would god put a sewer so close to a playground? I’m definitely curious but I’ve never tried.

Bald or hirsute 

Shave it up. Who wants to deal with a jungle?

Best time for sex

Whenever. It’s always a good time. Maybe not before a heat because you’ll get noodle legs. You’ll be too relaxed.


Never… Maybe if it was my best friend. Put into print that I would only do it if it was with Granger (Larsen).

Dion Agius, Noa Dean and gang accept best film award at Surfer Poll
"Well what happened to having FUN?" writes Chas Smith. "What is so wrong about a letting the good times roll? About getting up on stage and just...just...given' 'er hell? It seems like Dion is doing just fine sans Xanax but everyone else (especially at Australia's Surfing Life) should take at least two and calm down."

Candid: Piety is the death of surfing!

What happened to having FUN? About getting up on stage and just...just...given' 'er hell?

Piety is the death of surfing. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it one thousand times and this damned conservatism, this cursed pharisaical golem has reared its ugly head once again, today staring mealy eyes and wagging a crooked judgmental finger toward Dion Agius and the rest of the Globe crew.

“Xanax?” it gasps, completely horrified. “Fuck the WSL?” it shrieks, less horrified but more rudely dismissive.

Well what happened to having FUN? What is so wrong about a letting the good times roll? About getting up on stage and just…just…given’ ‘er hell? It seems like Dion is doing just fine sans Xanax but everyone else (especially at Australia’s Surfing Life. Click here to read.) should take at least two and calm down.

And now let’s speak to Noa Deane’s exuberance. There the cherubic Australian stood, gazing out at a roomful of industry types. What is the first thing that springs to his mind? Fuck the WSL! He don’t like it. And the Hawaiian locals, numbers paired from 16 down to two don’t like it either. He shouted for them. He shouted for their children and their children’s children and I hope to see him in Da Hui soon.

There should be no gripes from any of surfing’s disparate corners. No tsk-tsking at all.

And if you have a gripe? Email Graham Stapelberg’s bodyguard at [email protected]. It is a bit harder getting to G these days but with enough persistence and enough moral outrage I’m certain you’ll find a way.

Dylan Longbottom in big tube
"To this day, this is the best I've ever seen my local break," says Raymon Collins. "Dylan paddled into this wave, somehow made the drop and just sat in this thing until it compressed and outran him by closing out the channel. Any other tube rider would have buckled straightaway. It's hard to gauge the size of this wave with a fisheye lens, but it was big. I remember as the set showed itself, I was scared, and wasn't sure whether to swim in or swim out." | Photo: Raymon Collins

Sensational: Coal Miner Makes Surf Book of Year!

With foreword by Kelly Slater!

The Australian photographer Raymon “Ray” Collins has just jammed his coal miner’s redundancy package into what do you want to call it, a coffee table book?
Or is it better than something to decorate a piece of unessential furniture?
The book is Found at Sea, designed/edited by White Horses creator Graeme Murdoch, and it’s more than just a bathtub of pretty, but somewhat oblique, pictures to soak your eyes in. Water photography is a game that ain’t for the faint-hearted and Raymon, a half-Russian and bodyboarder-surfer with a handful of North Shore seasons under his 34-inch belt (all muscle!), has married the bravado of shooting from the drink with an artist’s eye. What’s not to love!
BeachGrit recorded an interview with 32-year-old, six-feet tall, 94 kilo Raymon (big!) a week into summer (not Raymon’s favourite season) and in between swells (not Raymon’s favourite oceanic conditions). His story is as compelling as the book.
First, he’s radically colour blind. He gets by on the road ’cause he knows the traffic light at the bottom means go (and is brighter) and the top one (which is dark to his eyes) means jam on the skids. If he puts a red tee into the grass during golf he can’t see it. He has no comprehension of red. How can he know if he’s never seen it?
“It’s weird editing photos in Photoshop. I play around until it looks… rich.”
The little Raymon went to 14 different primary schools before the family settled into living at Sandon Point, a quality right-hander an hour-and-a-bit south of Sydney.
In his final year of high school, Raymon surfed during 1999’s famous floods, in the murkiest, dirtiest water, and developed meningitis, an inflammation of the protective membranes around the spine and brain. Spinal taps and invasive treatment followed. For two weeks he was knocking on heaven’s door but his faint tap was not enough for God to welcome Raymon into his loving arms. Actually, he was close to dying for a little less than that.
“I milked it a bit. Who was going to argue!” he says now.
These street smarts got him out of his final year exams and, soon, he was working as a labourer at the area’s coal mines. Fourteen hundred dollars in his account every week. Good money, you’d think, but “It’s like working in an office where the roof is going to fall in and the walls are going to explode,” he says.
Raymon has seen hands get crushed, legs broken. “But it’s not like the old days where heaps of the older guys had seen their mates die.”
Raymon came into photography when he snapped his knee underground. Bored, he bought a cheap camera, read the manual, and just… started shooting. He became good, fast. And with advice from veterans like Daniel Russo, Nate Smith and Bill Morris, he was soon in the biz.
And then Surfing magazine’s photo editor Peter Taras helped shape him into what he is today, one of the game’s most interesting shooters. Raymon would send jpegs and Pete would say, hey, maybe do this, do that, how about you try this?
“He is a massive part of what I do now. He encouraged me to keep chasing my style. He wrote to me the other day and said that he didn’t think that in 2014 someone could stand out with a unique angle and that I’d done it.”
What else intrigues? Let’s ask.
BeachGrit: What do you think about yourself? 
I’m average ocean-going Australian with a penchant for coffee. I’ll drink instant, percolated, fucking whatever, and I take between two and five a day. Triple shots. I stopped drinking two years ago because I found it was taking away some of those arvos and some of those mornings… fuck… everything has taken off since then. I’m going to continue with a clean mind… clear head…
What’s your favourite season? 
Winter. I love those really moody dark and cold day and wild windy oceans. My whole family is from Russia. My mum was born a couple of days after they landed from Russia on the boat otherwise she’d be a Russian citizen and I’d be the first Australian in the family.
Tell me about you father… 
He took his life when I was six years old. It was a strange feeling as a kid. What do you do? You’re just learning your fundamentals and one of your main ones is pulled from you. But I’ve always had positive male role models.
Do you think your mother made a conscious effort to make that happen? 
Yeah, I do. I don’t think it was a coincidence…
What’s your favourite time of day? 
Ten minutes before sunrise. That light. Light is more important to me than good waves. You can make good photos without good waves and that glow before the sun comes up is the best part. I would say afternoon, but we get cut short here with a mountain range behind us and that sucks… My wife’s from California. I love the light over there.
What are your bad qualities?
I can be selfish. You have to be selfish if you want to dedicate so much time to something. We’ve put off having kids due to selfishness, to the desire to see the world more. I can be lazy too. I get comfortable and stay in the familiarity of things. But these are general human traits. And it never lasts for long. I always snap out of it or someone helps snap me out of it.
What’s the nicest thing someone has said about your photos? 
Someone told me they cried from looking at my photos.
How many text messages and emails did it take for Kelly to light up and write your foreword? 
I emailed him and asked if he would write the intro and I woke up the next morning and the whole thing was written out. It woke me up at three in the morning. I couldn’t believe what Kelly Slater was saying about me. I woke my wife up and read it to her.
You and Kelly shoot together. Are you ever starstruck? 
When I see his number on my phone I have to breathe in and breathe out and clear my throat. I get so scared but I try to act super normal.
Why do you think Kelly likes you? 
I don’t know if he likes me. We both like good uncrowded waves. Maybe I’m just a decent non-threatening human being and I treat him the same way.
Have you tried Purps? It’s incredible. It gives you such pizzazz! Maybe he’ll send you some! 
I’ve eaten the occasisonal chia pod but I haven’t had Purps.
You must! BeachGrit is having it chemically analysed because it must contain something absolutely magical! 
Oh yeah! That’s fucking gold.
How do you identify yourself to non-surfers? 
I’m at a crossroads. I shoot photos of the ocean whether people are there or not… what does that make me? Am I a surfing photographer?
Found at Sea is 184 pages and costs $69. Click here to buy it. It’s a real limited run too. A quarter have gone already.


Surfer Poll: John John best surfer; Kelly best air!

And the world officially tips on its axis…

The Surfer Poll. It ain’t the greatest show on earth. But it’s all we got. And who does good awards shows anyway? MTV? The Oscars? The format is always going to be stiff unless there’s some kinda soft and smooth waitress with honey pouring from her pores and long silky hair discreetly handing out bags of whatevs.

And last night on the North-ish Shore (the Turtle Bay is a little outta the action) the earth was tipped on its access when John John, 22, won most popular surfer (as voted by the most popular surf magazine in the world) prising Kelly’s fingers off the trophy for the first time in a decade (Kelly has won it 19 times since 1993) and Kelly, 42, won best manoeuvre.

What is this, the Twilight Zone?

“Kelly’s won this 22 times. It’s as old as I am,” said John.

“I’m actually super-stoked that John got this. It’s actually the happiest I’ve ever been at second place,” Kelly said, convincing only the very drunk.

Slater added, “I’d like to thank my sponsor, except I don’t have any… (But) I’m doing OK.”

Noa Deane is a 20-year-old boy from Coolangatta on Australia’s Gold Coast. He won the night’s hippest award, The AI Breakthrough Performer, delivered by Andy’s wife Lyndie and little boy Ax.

Naturally, Stephanie Gilmore, the six-timer, won the gals. “There’s always more to do, there’s always more to improve upon,” she said.

Globe and filmmaker Joe G won best film with Strange Rumblings in Shangri-La. The Globe team, including Brendon Gibbens, Noa Deane, Dion Agius, Damo Hobgood and Creed McTaggart, accepted the award.

Dion Agius, in a white singlet, beanie and Epokhe glass, said, “Last time I was here I was on Xanax and I was so out of my mind I couldn’t talk.”

“Fuck the WSL,” said Noa Deane.

“Oh you mother…fucker!” said Dion.

“No, no, we like the WSL,” said Joe G, panicked.

Surfer Poll host Gerry Lopez was wonderfully sublime, demonstrating you don’t have to be barbaric, shriek or gesticulate to front an awards show. He finished with a quote from the Dalai Lama.

“I wanted to end this evening with a little, not my wisdom, but the wisdom of someone I greatly respect, his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. When asked what surprised him most about mankind he answered…

“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Full results below…

SURFER Poll Men’s Top 10
1. John John Florence
2. Kelly Slater
3. Gabriel Medina
4. Mick Fanning
5. Jordy Smith
6. Dane Reynolds
7. Joel Parkinson
8. Julian Wilson
9. Kolohe Andino
10. Taj Burrow

SURFER Poll Women’s Top 5
1. Stephanie Gilmore
2. Sally Fitzgibbons
3. Carissa Moore
4. Coco Ho
5. Alana Blanchard

A.I. Breakthrough Performer
Noa Deane

Best Barrel
Koa Smith, Skeleton Bay

Worst Wipeout
Myron Porter, The Right

Heavy Water
Grant “Twiggy” Baker

Best Documentary
Thundercloud, directed by Talon Clemow

Best Short
Cheese II, directed by Noa Deane and Shane Fletcher

Best Performance
Albee Layer in Attractive Distractions

Movie of the Year
Strange Rumblings in Shangri La, directed by Joe G