Wade Goodall in a barrel
"Drugs are bad shit. Changes people. Drugs can make you like, and your body to respond to, electro music," says Wade Goodall. "Ain't nothing good about that." | Photo: Courtesy Vans

Wade Goodall on drugs, the tour, the brevity of fame

The sweetest and brawniest of pro surfers. A little bit Ozzie Wright, a little Dane Reynolds… 


Teahupoo when it’s big is a siren of sorts. It lures you in. It must be a woman. When you see it, you want it but it scares you. She will either give you the ride of your life or kick you in the nuts. My favourite wave in the world for sure.


I haven’t had it too bad so far. I can’t hold my breath for very long at all so I’d be in a bit of trouble if I had to spend some time at the bottom of the sea. I’m a catch-and-release fisherman  80% of the time so if it did seem like I was staying down for good I would just relax and wait for those fish to repay the favour and return me. What goes around comes around.


The Tour de France is boring. I don’t like cycling. I get nervous when i have to pass a cyclist. One time I was walking home after a night of leisure and a flock of about 100 cyclists came riding down the road towards me. The leader hit a rock and flipped. Then it was just stacks on. Or would it be spokes on. Whatever, not into it.


Amazing creatures. Seeing my girl make a baby human has been unbelievable. What their body goes through in the process is just incredible. I can’t imagine having to do all that. The makers of life. You go, girls.


When it comes down to it they are bad. But every now and then I have one. With coffee or wine. After a few drink, sure. But I don’t like them. I find the action of smoking is what allures me. I just like blowing smoke out.


Fame is something I don’t think about. Unless I see someone famous and I feel nervous and do something awkward even when I really don’t care that they were in some movie I can’t remember. That feeling of thinking you know this person but in fact you have never met is strange. I don’t know why it happens. If fame is brief then I bet some people are stoked. Finally some guy isn’t coming up to them in the street and pointing saying Eyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy (insert catchphrase from that show they did here).


Bad shit. Changes people. Drugs can make you like, and your body to respond to, electro music. Ain’t nothing good about that. Drugs that are beneficial in a medicinal way are good. Drugs may cure cancer. Drugs as a whole are both helpful and devastating to the human race. Please use responsibly.


The shittiest. I don’t know why I have broken both my legs in the last two years on the same beach, surfing with the same crew, driven to the hospital by the same ambo and operated on and cared for by the same doctors and nurses. Maybe I have gotten away with a lot of things in my life and my luck is running out or maybe I was Hitler or a termite in a past life and I’m getting what I deserve. But it’s not terminal. Time heals and I’ll be surfing again.


Inevitable. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Actually, going bald is a bit scary. I know it’s in my future. Let’s just say my Dad isn’t rocking an afro. But he’s a legend so I don’t care and I love hats.


It looks fine to me. I feel I can embrace change a lot better. I’m more comfortable in myself and am learning to back myself in new things. Having a go instead of not trying because I’m shit at it due to my non experience. I don’t feel like I am in some mature club now though. I’m definitely not getting one of those OK over 25 stickers for my car like those youth-hating lemons. I will try to stay young at heart forever.


I don’t mind the Instagram, especially when I’m injured. I like to see my friends doing cool things and I follow artists I like. I have been hitting it pretty hard while I’ve been laid up. It’s been nice to live through my friends. I like photography more then rants or sentences stating current moods so that’s why I use Instagram and think Twitter and Facebook are dumb.


Who cares? I don’t give a shit about staying relevant. I surf because I love it. If your main concern is staying relevant then you’re on the cow’s tit and milking it hard. I don’t want to do that. Even though more milk would be good for my bone strength.


Good and bad. It’s a bummer the true quality films that come out on the web are forgotten extremely fast because of the constant uploading of fresh content. It’s cool, though, to see things not long after you heard they went down. Web photos as well as print photos and web clips all come out simultaneously, which is cool. But I like the idea of having a hard copy of something. I loved watching Dad’s Mad Wax or Rad Movez VHS tapes everyday when I was little. An MP3 download doesn’t have the same appeal to me.



Will be a learning curve. I don’t think I’m better then anyone for being a sponsored dude or feel I’m above working. When it comes time to move on and get a normal job I’ll do what I have to do to support my little family. The world will be my oyster, really. Fresh starts aren’t a bad thing.

Masatoshi Ohno surfing Pipeline
Masatoshi Ohno, freesurfing at Banzai. "The heart of the matter is relatively simple to grasp," writes Rory Parker. "In the late 70's, and again in the early 90's, the North Shore community fought for regulations that would minimise the impact that the competitive season has on a tiny community with a startling primitive infrastructure. " | Photo: Morgan Maassen

Update: Is the Pipe Masters running illegally?

The vexed issue of contest permits and a community chasing a little breathing space… 

The heart of the matter is relatively simple to grasp. In the late 70’s, and again in the early 90’s, the North Shore community fought for regulations that would minimise the impact that the competitive season has on a tiny community with a startlingly primitive infrastructure.

The regulations are clear, not particularly onerous, and the WSL has decided that they don’t need to follow them.

Recent attempts have been made to amend the present regulations, inserting language which more or less de-fangs the community’s past efforts to limit the impact of contests.  In the proposed amended regulations language exists which allows for exemptions to some requirements for contests on the North Shore, exemptions which would allow for man-on-man heats and define contest days in eight-hour increments.

According to the amended regulations, and provided they received the exemptions (which I think we can safely assume would be the case), the WSL would be in total compliance this year.

However, the aforementioned amended regulations have repeatedly failed to be approved, as confirmed by John Blewett of the Honolulu department of Parks and Recreation:

“There’s new ones that have gone out for public comment three times, (but) the old ones are still in effect.”

An interesting development, considering a statement from Dave Prodan, ASP VP of communictaions:

“All ASP events are conducted in compliance with state and local regulations with the appropriate permits obtained, which includes all events in Hawaii and on the North Shore.  For reference, we’ve been running man-on-man heats at Pipe consecutively since 2008.”

Rather than demonstrating compliance, Mr. Prodan indicates that the ASP (now WSL) has instead repeatedly violated the existing regulations.  There is no situation in the current system that allows for man on man heats. No exemptions, no special circumstances, only special treatment or, at least, a failure to enforce regulations.

(Mr Prodan failed to respond to follow up requests for clarification regarding any potential exemptions.)

Furthermore, the current rules do not allow for running half days and banking the remaining hours to be used later, an approach the WSL obviously plans to use, considering Kieren Perrow’s statements regarding having “one and a half days left” to run the contest.

Of course, there’s no real reason why enforcement should be necessary.

“There are so many contests on the North Shore,” says Pancho Sullivan, “and they all follow the rules. Except for the ASP.  And I don’t know why that is. The point of the rules is to make sure they run the contest as quickly as possible. If they’re running four-man heats there’s no reason they couldn’t finish it the first day, or take two at most.”

As a fan of surfing, it may be difficult to understand the impact that large scale contests have on the area. Because everyone loves the Pipe Masters. And rightly so. It’s nearly always one of the best contests of the year and it’s in a venue that provides a unique opportunity to be closer to the action than almost any equivalently heavy and spectacular spot.

But you need to remember, not everyone on the North Shore is a surfer, and even though the majority of spectators and athletes have nothing else to do, people still need to live. They need to go to work, they need to buy food. In order to accomplish almost any of the requirements of actually surviving in a remote community on an even more remote archipelago they need to be able to leave. Something which is a hellish undertaking when your only road in or out is packed to the proverbial rafters with rubbernecking rental cars.

The only defense the WSL, or their supporters, are able to trot out is regarding the economic benefits of allowing unfettered exploitation of the area’s resources.

“The ASP plays by their own rules,” says Alan Lennard, the man responsible for running the North Shore Bodysurfing Classic, the first contest ever run at Pipeline. “But Randy Rarick is on the North Shore Chamber of Commerce…”

Of course, economic benefits are difficult to prove or disprove. Does the money brought into the community offset the amount of man hours wasted by the difficulty of leaving or entering the area during the event?

Do the supposed benefits take into account the damage done to the primitive and poorly maintained infrastructure, one designed to support a tiny bedroom community, by such a huge influx of visitors? And let’s not ignore the fact that the WSL is a for-profit company run by non-surfers. The laws of capitalist enterprise state that their ultimate goal is to suck as much profit from the event as possible, only contributing the bare minimum to keep outrage at bay,

The WSL is conducting itself like a rude house guest; tracking mud across your carpet, eating all the food in your fridge, leaving dirty dishes to rot in the sink, being kept up half the night listening to him bang some rotten slag on your couch only to drop a fifty on your kitchen table and peace out with a nonchalant, “See you next year.”

And when he calls up the following year you say, “Hey man, you kind of wore out your welcome last time, maybe you should find somewhere else to stay.”

“What?  C’mon, I gave you fifty bucks.”

“Yeah, that doesn’t go very far.  Sorry.”

“Well, I talked to your landlord and he said it was okay and gave me a set of keys.  So I’ll be there next week.”

“Fuck… well, at least be more considerate this time.”

“Nope, I’m gonna do what I want.  And you can go fuck yourself.”

No one wants the Pipe Masters gone, they just want the organizers to follow the rules.

Unfortunately, this will only happen if they take it upon themselves to do so. The nature of contest permitting on Oahu means that, even should the permit applicant be denied for violations, the permit follows the person, not the contest. So you can rest assured that it will run in the foreseeable future, though potentially with a different name on the permit.

Watch the plagiarism
Watch the plagiarism

Surfer Magazine caught with pants down

Plagiarism may not be a real crime, but it is so embarrassing!

Transworld Surf magazine went through one of the best re-designs ever before falling to the economic realities of print media in the modern world. Its covers, colorful and fun, stopped kids in the grocery store aisles. Its stories, written under the axe of impending doom, showcased the absurd and the grand of the surf life. It had just reached its zenith and then, like that, it was gone.

Still, its spirit and legacy live on, most recently on the cover of the newest issue of Surfer. The original surf magazine “borrowed” the same surfer (John John Florence), the same general concept and the same title, recreating, essentially, the same magazine.

To be fair, Watch the Throne is one of the greatest albums of the decade and Niggas in Paris one of its greatest songs but maybe that makes it worse since Transworld’s cover came out in early 2013 (the album came out in late 2011). Not a long enough time ago for Surfer’s issue to be homage. Not a short enough time ago to be “we thought of it first just printed late.” Just the right amount of time ago to be uh oh!

What do you think? Should Surfer be embarrassed or proud that they got to take a whole month off of work? Should they be forced, by law, to re-name the magazine Transworld Surfer?

The original (at least as far as cover messaging goes…)


Kieren Perrow Pipeline
"It was a good decision to put the Pipe Masters on hold after round two. Waves did get good later that afternoon but way to late to run heats. So he nailed it," says Jake Paterson.

Opinion: KP nailed it says Jake Paterson

The former Pipe Master on how ASP commissioner Kieren Perrow got it very right… 

Think Kieren Perrow’s feeling the heat right now? Maybe, maybe not. He ain’t one for stress.

But he does have Slater, Matt Warshaw, Chas Smith and half of Hawaii breathing down his neck for his call to both run, then not run, the Pipeline Masters and wrap up this goddam world title.

Good call? Bad call? Who you gonna ask?

How about Jake Paterson. If anyone knows about clutch decisions in tight situations it’s The Snake. Doubt it? Who beat Bruce Irons in the final seconds at Pipe? Who had the stones to put the Quik Pro in 2013 on hold and deliver perfect Kirra to silence the naysayers? The Snake! Let’s ask!

BeachGrit: What do you suppose is going on in Kieren’s head right now? 

Jake: A million things would be going on in KPs head I bet but the main one would be to give the world title contenders the best opportunity he can with the forecast at hand.

What did you think of his decision to put the comp on hold? 

Good decision to put it on hold after round two. Waves did get good later that afternoon but it was way to late to run heats. So he nailed it.

Do you remember the pressure on your shoulders during that Quik comp in 2013… how’d it feel? 

It’s draining. You’re up super early for two weeks and I had the added pressure of not having Snapper because all the sand had been washed away. It’s a semi freak-out for a few weeks for sure.

What gave you the confidence to put the comp on hold? 

As a contest director you never want to go on hold, you’re forced to go on hold. So many different factors can make you go on hold. I always tried to stop the event before you have that bad heat, you know, when everyone starts to say why are they running! I try and stop it before it gets to that. It’s not easy with women’s as well. Time is an issue and most of the time you have to push on.

And how’d you feel when you woke on finals day to see pumping Kirra? Did you feel validated and was it hard not to go around telling everyone “I told you so!” 

It was a huge gamble to wait till the last day to run and to move to Kirra! I had to make the call the afternoon before to move to Kirra. If the swell didn’t kick I was in big trouble. Luckily it all worked out. You learn very early never to boast about making a good call as a contest director.

Kelly was pretty vocal about not running round two at Pipe the other day, how hard is it to block out someone like that?

Kelly is a freak at reading swell charts and most of the time is right on the money with his call. He’s the best surfer ever to ride a surfboard so you have to listen to him. But he normally is all about him, when his heat will be best. As a contest director you have to think about everyone in the event, the event sponsors, the whole lot. Damien Hardman once told me people only remember the last day of the event, no one remembers round one or two. You really need to finish in good waves. I have learnt that’s super true. It’s a mugs job really because you can’t keep everyone happy and you have to make the hard calls that’ll upset someone all the time but, it’s part of that gig I guess and I think KP has done a great job all year. Hats off to him.

Nathan Florence at Teahupoo by Daniel Russo
"The camera, in its housing, in the saltwater, is an aberration of an aberration," writes Chas Smith. "And as the magician swims out to sea with his creation and can capture souls out at sea and does capture souls he is also an aberration. A collector. And he collects souls riding waves." Nathan Florence, Teahupoo. | Photo: Daniel Russo

The miracle and gift of water photography

Daniel Russo is so close to God he can almost smell his bacon-y breath!

We are transient beings, on this earth for but a few all too short moments. And then we turn to dust. We scratch and feel immortal, at times, yet really, we are dust.

But water photography? Water photography is forever.

Photographs, unlike us, are truly immortal. They live on through the eons whether sepia-toned, black and white, color or high-definition color. They live in drawers and boxes and cell phones and computers and the internet. Aboriginal peoples on different continents often believe that photographs capture the soul. They are derided as backward. Unsophisticated. Curly headed naïve children (or straight headed in the Americas).

But they are right. Photographs capture the soul and lock it into celluloid or megabyte where it lives eternally. Captured. And how much more eternal are water photographs? That much more.

There is, first, the black arts used to bring the camera into water. Saltwater is a damaging agent. The most damaging naturally occurring agent on earth save hot lava. It rusts and corrodes. Cameras are born delicate. Small, sensitive metal pieces. Glass that can scratch and shatter. And so to keep the camera from being destroyed, on contact, by saltwater the magician must cast a spell over it. He must conjure the spirits of silicone and plastic and rubber. He must create valves.

The camera, in its housing, in the saltwater, is an aberration of an aberration. Something otherworldly. And as the magician swims out to sea with his creation and can capture souls out at sea and does capture souls he is also an aberration. A collector. And he collects souls riding waves.

And there is, second, the even more transient existence of waves. If the human life is over in the blink of an eye, the life of a wave is then over in the flutter of an eyelash. Waves, even the longest rights at Jeffreys Bay, never last long enough. And they are never repeated. Once they pass they are gone forever and no memory is good enough to hold the feeling or even really the image of a wave. Waves defy containment. They laugh at the addiction created in us. They laugh as we forever chase a feeling.

As we look at a picture of  Nathan Florence, say, grinding through a perfect barrel we can put ourselves, right there. We can imagine how it feels. How racing toward the almond eye, foamball nipping at heels, tastes. The water photograph brings all of us there together. It brings us to a moment which passed, like the flutter of an eyelash, and we can live in it forever. Or until we turn to dust.

But the camera, in its housing, does contain waves and furthermore it can contain the feeling. We look at pictures and we stare at them and we sear them into our hippocampi and we remember our own experiences. Which is, third, the transportational quality of a water photograph. It takes us into our own memory, back in time, but it can also take us into someone else’s memory. I, nor most of the friends I am lucky to call my own (save the professional surfers I am lucky to call my own) have ever surfed heaving Teahupoo, or any Teahupoo for that matter, but I, and most of my dear friends, have surfed large, sucking lefts at one point or another.

And as we look at a picture of  Nathan Florence, say, grinding through a perfect barrel we can put ourselves, right there. We can imagine how it feels. How racing toward the almond eye, foamball nipping at heels, tastes. The water photograph brings all of us there together. It brings us to a moment which passed, like the flutter of an eyelash, and we can live in it forever. Or until we turn to dust.

The surf shot captured from land or boat is wonderful. It is pleasant and fun and artistic. Amazing. But the surf shot captured from water is beyond all. It is, again, magic. Maybe an evil magic. Maybe something that should never be captured, but life is too short to care and, anyhow, it is not me being captured. It is not my soul. It is the professional surfer’s. The best ones doing the best things on the best waves in the best light (and proper shutter speed etc.) during the best of their youth.

“How sad it is!” they can crow. “I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. My body will give out and I will no longer be able to send plumes of spray into the ether with strong thighs and a stronger back. But these pictures, these water photographs, will remain always young. They will never be older than the day they were taken. If only it were the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and strong, and able to frontside slob, and the picture was to grow old. For that, for that, I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!”

But in truth, they already have given their soul. They have given it to me and to my friends and to you and to every other man, woman, child who casually flips open a surf magazine, or coffee table book and gazes. And the surfer is right to despise this fact. The ugly and stupid and those who cannot even frontside hack without swinging their arms like epileptics have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play. At the surf videos. At the water photographs. They can surf Teahupoo forever as they gape. The surfer who is in the photograph, though, will grow old and he will feel the gnaw and he can crow, “How sad it is!”

The surfer is right to despise but he should not ponder his fate for long, however. Beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. So he should succumb to his fate. He is blessed and, at the same time, cursed. He should accept this and let it go and he should certainly not despise the water photographer. The magician capturing his soul in a moment of rapture. If he is mature, his unreal and selfish love could yield to some higher influence, could be transformed into some nobler passion and the image that Daniel Russo has created of him might be a guide to him through life, would be to him what holiness is to some, and conscience to others, and the fear of God to us all. There are opiates for remorse, drugs that can lull the moral sense to sleep. But here, on surf magazine page, or coffee table book, is a visible symbol of the degradation of sin. An ever-present sign of the ruin men bring upon their souls. The sin of desiring immortality and the sin of desiring one moment frozen in time.

But, and again, it is not the surfer’s fault. He is blessed and, at the same time, cursed. And not only should he not despise the water photographer, he should love him. For if Daniel Russo can give surfed-out ecstasy, a giant day at Teahupoo, a perfect barrel ridden with style and ease, to those who have lived without, if they can create a sense of beauty in people whose lives have been sordid and ugly, who cannot even slip into a backside closeout without hunching over like an ape, than they are worthy of adoration. Worthy of the adoration of the world.

I shared my theories on water photography with a famous professional surfer and with a famous professional water photographer about the capturing of the soul and the curses and the blessings and the despising. About the sin of desiring immortality and about the sordid and ugly who benefit from the images. About how beautiful those images are and about how damning they are.

The famous professional surfer looked at me, long, and he lowered his glasses (he wears glasses) and he said, “You have killed my love. You used to stir my imagination. Now you don’t even stir my curiosity. You simply produce no effect. I loved you because you were marvellous, because you had genius and intellect, because you realised the dreams of great poets and gave shape and substance to the shadows of art. You have thrown it all away with this theory. You are shallow and stupid.”

I went home to cry but found myself staring at a picture of Julian Wilson shattering the back of a wave at Keramas. The water photographer, I know not which water photographer, had set himself behind the wave and everything was visible. So much power in the turn. So many fins above the lip. So much water being flung in all directions. And I felt better.

I felt magical.