Lesbian shredders converge on Brazil

Closed-mindedness is so last century.

Surfing is usually all rude and closeted and rude about different people/sexual preference/stuff. I have never, in all my years, seen anyone wearing a rainbow wetsuit in or around the water. But a group of likeminded women in Brazil are seeking to change the paradigm by opening the world’s first lesbian surf camp this May.

The camp will be located in the south of the country, Santa Catarina, and lesbians will be invited to come and shred without judgment. “I surf all the time, and I’m usually the only lesbian out there, surrounded by heterosexual men…” says the camp’s founder Marta Dalla Chiesa “…I see how there really aren’t many opportunities for gay women to get together and learn to surf in a friendly environment.”

Feeling frisky? Check out their website here and sign up today!

John Moore and Kelly Slater
There's gotta be a damn good story behind a brand, says John Moore, OuterKnown designer and Yusuf Islam lookalike. | Photo: Todd Glaser/OuterKnown

Meet the Stud behind Kelly Slater’s new brand

His name is John Moore and he is going to take Kelly Slater's new brand OuterKnown into the stratosphere!

Have you ever thought about why you wear the fashion you do, why you ride a certain craft, maybe even talk in a manner just so? It ain’t because of our so-called freedom of choice or the genetic kink that makes you so special and so unique and beautiful etc.

It’s because there are creatures out there who are the drivers of whatever culture you squeeze yourself into. And, as far as surfing goes, it’s hard to find anyone as influential, as game changing in surf fashion (surf fashion ain’t an oxymoron!), as John Moore, a 5’4″ Manuel C. Caro arc-swallowtail riding pussycat from the City of Angels.

John, as y’might already know, is the stud behind Kelly Slater’s new, and as yet unseen, label Outer Known. He lives in Venice Beach (natch) and has a design past littered with success, which we’ll investigate shortly. Recently, GQ featured him among their best designers for his vintage label M.Nii.

John created Hollister for Abercrombie & Fitch (now worth, and we ain’t kidding, hundreds of mills), was the brains behind Modern Amusement, and his company The POP (Pencil on Paper) Studio was the creative muscle behind VSTR (Kelly Slater’s offshoot clothing label that Quiksilver snuffed, as they did his master) as well as a doz or so other companies.

Recently, John and a pal relaunched the previously dormant Hawaiian label M. Nii. If you like canvas and buttons and sixties stylings, you’ll faint when you punch in the code www.mnii.com. Full-service brand engineering is what Pop do. Now let’s soak in John Moore’s learnings…

BeachGrit: Authenticity (that buzz word!) appears to be your thing. Like, when a brand needs to get back to its roots, it comes to Senor Mas and The POP Studio. How important has it been to your game? Seems you were into the artisan side of things (producing Hollister for A and F) long before it became fashionable.

JM: Yeah, we have that reputation. Probably ‘cause we love true-stories, but in the case of Hollister, authenticity was more of a nostalgic patina ‘cause that was one big lie… just a well-played fantasy.  Hollister, like most good brand concepts, are successful because of the energy created around the brand. It’s all about an incredible experience.  But, I guess that’s the thing about authenticity. It’s an emotional connection versus a reality. Most surfers will tell you it’s about participation in the sport, but the consumer would tell us differently. Look at how bad the surf brands are at creating a good brand experience. If the surf industry is to survive, has to look beyond the endemic competition for clues. I believe our work with VSTR and Quiksilver Women’s is a good indication of this.

You have to tell me about about M.Nii. Some ol gal from the West Side made it in the fifties and you and a pal ressurected it, yeah?

JM: Yeah, it’s a true story. M. Nii was a tailor shop on the west side of Oahu in the 50s. It was a Japanese couple sewing up band uniforms for the local schools, which meant they kept stock of bullet-proof textiles and lot’s of trims and tapes to choose from. So, the early surf pioneers hit them up to create the some of the earliest twill surf trunks known, allowing them to trade in their cut-off chinos for some lace-up trunks. My partner found an original pair complete with the label still intact so we are building a modern version of the M.Nii “Makaha Drowner Short” to the same specs as the original.

What are the key elements in branding?

JM: A good story. Fonts tell lies, so there better be a damn good story behind the brand to create an identity that’s meaningful and lasting.

Ozzie Wright portrait
We're all potentially Christ-like, says Ozzie Wright. We can leave a legacy on this earth no matter how small.

Ozzie Wright: “We’re all potentially Christ-like!”

There's a little Jesus inside every devil!

This is a little weird, so stick with me. The actor and front-gal Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers, Starsky and Hutch, Juliette and the Licks) has this list of questions she used to ask potential boyfriends to get to know ’em better. JL asks about a guy’s dick, about cats, asparagus, knifings, Christ, roller coasters – all the questions a hack interview cowed by his subject would be too terrified to ask.

So, I figured, let’s throw these questions at surfers I like. The first interviewee was Ozzie Wright some years ago. Others include Shane Dorian and Dave Rastovich. But, first, Oz…

BeachGrit: Did you ever stab someone to cut them intentionally with a sharp object? 

Oz: Yeah, I’ve cut myself. One time we were going to a dress-up party and I wanted to be Sid Vicious so I inscribed Nancy into my chest. The pain was fine. No pain, no gain. Plus, when I looked at the photos I looked like a tough nut.

Do you like asparagus? 

Spargle? Yes. That’s what they call it in Switzerland.

Do you have a middle name? 

Billy. I only found out about the Pippen part when I was about 15 (His full name is Oscar Billy Pippen Wright). It was on my birth certificate but not on my passport.

Do cats frustrate you as pets or do you admire their independence? 

I do admire their independence. I admire their athleticism even though they’re pretty lazy. I like them when they spring up, they go boom. Good reflexes.

Did you ever break a guy’s nose? Would you say you’ve won more fights than you’ve lost? 

No, never broken a guy’s nose and I’ve never won a fight. I’ve probably had 10 fights and I wouldn’t say I’ve ever won one. I’ve never really punched anyone. I just get punched and the fight’s usually over. I just try to get out of there. I don’t wanna kill anyone.

Was there a time when you were mystified by the workings of your penis? 

There are times, there are often times.

Do you look more like your mother or father? 

I reckon my face is fifty-fifty. My skin is my mum’s. My hair’s my dad but he was bald and I don’t think I’ll ever go bald. I’ve got a few grey ones, though.

What’s the first image you have of the female body? 

Beautiful and soft.

Does the respect factor drop when a woman has breast implants?

I’ve never really hung out with a girl that’s got breast implants but they’re probably not my cup of tea.

Do you like rollercoasters? 

Yeah. I like the rickety old thing at Luna Park (in Sydney). It scares the shit out of me.

What do you imagine happens to someone after the body dies? And do you believe that you are a spirit with a body or just a mind?

Just dust after death. And we’re a spirit with a body.

How do you explain Mozart writing symphonies at seven? 


Did the female anatomy ever mystify and scare you? 

This girl named Susie asked me out at school and I said yes. I liked her but I was definitely scared of her body.

Did you ever own Birkenstocks?

I did but I lost them in WA. I got ’em from Vinnies (thrift store) and they were awesome.

What was your favourite expression growing up? 

What can I draw? What can I draw?

Do you feel that we are all potentially Christ-like? 

Yes. If you really aspire to be the best that you can be, you can inspire generations. If we try really hard and pursue something that we believe in, we can leave a legacy on this earth, no matter how small. There’s greatness in every man.

Mark Healey swims with Great White
Great Whites are a constant source of wonder. On @donkeyshow there are so many photos of Mark interacting in the most positive manner with these awesome man consumers that I ask what's it like to touch and to feel one, to swim man-to-beast? Mark, interestingly, doesn't have some kinda death wish and he ain't into adrenalin overloads for kicks but had been thinking about swimming with a White for a long time and he had a mental checklist that had to be ticked off before he wet his feet: it had to be the right kind of shark – one with a predictable pattern, a routine, no erratic movements. "I had to look at his body language. I had to see how punchy he was, that he wasn't coming in hot. I figured, once I found one, I could make a bunch of excuses not to follow through on my thoughts and theories, but I did it and it was very, very, very… intense." | Photo: @donkeyshow

Studs of Instagram: Mark Healey’s Donkeyshow

Riding sharks for kicks. Running through fireballs. What drives you pal? "It's fucking fun!"

It is a bright Monday afternoon at the LA home of Chanel model Danny Fuller when a conversation is struck with Mr Healey, 30-ish years old, from Sunset Beach (Hawaii, not California). Mark, a shark wrangler (for Nat Geo!), stunt man (for Hawaii 5-0!), pro surfer and survivor of the Great Quiksilver Athlete Purge (and deservedly so!), is in town to “take care of fucking business. I want to get it all done before I start chasing swells. I don’t want to come back!”

There are so many different angles a magazine could take with a surfer such as Mark Healey but the one that intrigues us today is his Instagram account @donkeyshow, currently clocked at 133,000 followers. Let’s follow donkeyshow right now and watch as Mark retrieves the camera from a Great White’s fin, is kicked down an escalator, uses a personal camera to capture the interiors of a Pipeline cathedral. The depth of his photographic musings is unparalleled.

With so many questions to ask, is not the beginning where we must start? Mark explains that the title donkeyshow is not a reference to the lewd animal shows of Tijuana but to the naughty children in the movie Pinocchio who were turned into donkeys and sold.

“I was a little shithead kid so I got the nickname ‘donkey boy’. And, the winter before last when I started my account, I didn’t want to put my name on it. I wanted something that my friends knew about and then it got… popular. And I thought, you know what? I’m always taking photos and I have a ton of stuff that people have never seen. And y’never know, I might die or the hard-drive might crash. So I may as well share it.”

I prefix the next question with a cough and a short preamble about my predictability. But what can you say? Great Whites are a constant source of wonder. On donkeyshow there are so many photos of Mark interacting in the most positive manner with these awesome man consumers that I ask what’s it like to touch and to feel one, to swim man-to-beast? Mark, interestingly, doesn’t have some kinda death wish and he ain’t into adrenalin overloads for kicks but had been thinking about swimming with a White for a long time and he had a mental checklist that had to be ticked off before he wet his feet: it had to be the right kind of shark – one with a predictable pattern, a routine, no erratic movements. “I had to look at his body language. I had to see how punchy he was, that he wasn’t coming in hot. I figured, once I found one, I could make a bunch of excuses not to follow through on my thoughts and theories, but I did it and it was very, very, very… intense.”

Mark thinks about it just a little more and adds: “They’re incredibly… intimidating, incredibly intimidating. I don’t think any human could make you feel that intimidated.”

As a man only in the loosest genetic sense, I ask for more detail on these remarkable events. Does he protect himself with a micro-atomic warhead, for example? And what happens in that minute or so it takes to swim back to the boat? “Well, I wanted to be on its back. It felt safer than when I was in front of it. When they hone in on you it gets personal very fast. You know he’s not coming over ’cause there’s bait or he’s interested in the boat. He’s coming over ’cause you’re in the water, exposed. He’s only interested in… you. That’s when your heart goes into your mouth.”

Even in an air-conditioned office with Spotify filing the air with the sweetest of psychedelic beats, my heart pounds. More? “That’s why I’ve got my unloaded spear. Anything in your hand, any little extra distance is going to help. But if they’re going to take you out you’re fucked.”

So succinct! Please sir, may I have another! “Well, usually I do stuff with Tigers (sharks). It’s the theory bullfighters have. They get really close to the bull, they keep their head almost on it. You’ve got more control really close. You’re not pushing the shark away, you’re pushing yourself off the shark. It’s hard for bigger sharks to turn sharply at low speeds so I try to stay close. It’s better than having them at a distance where they’re able to pick up a lot of speed.”

When he’s not playing aquaman, Mark finds extra cash as a stuntman. Sometimes he might be a zombie; other times he might tossing a Red Camera over the falls at Mavs. The craziest stunt he’s ever been paid to perform was a scene where a helicopter crashes and the blades impale the pilot and the actor hero must rescue he. Mark as stuntman stand-in for the show’s lead, therefore, must grab the pilot and run out through a fireball in the most heroic manner. “An 80-foot fireball!” says Mark. “It’s an incredible amount of wind. You have to have eyes and mouth closed. You don’t breathe in because the heat’s so intense. If you don’t hold your breath for that second you’ll burn your lungs. I have a wig, too. But not synthetic hair. That’ll stick to your head.”

I say, what drives you, pal! “It’s fucking fun!” he says. “Professional surfers get paid to go around the world and have a good time. Why wouldn’t you do all that stuff? It blows my mind how some guys will find ways to piss about how bad things are and sit in their hotel rooms and play with Facebook all day. It blows my mind!”

Contest heats are “Thirty minutes of stupid!”

Hector Santamaria is Puerto Rico's finest export. Better than Erik Estrada. Better than Jennifer Lopez.

Hector Santamaria walks into a room and BAM! It comes alive. Colors change from drab fluorescent-lit drab to sparkly rainbow, royal purple, diggity-diamond and, best of all, platinum. Platinumch. “I see it, all arrrrrround,” he says. And then his eyes, his mad, squinty eyes widen. “Whaaaat? You don’t see the colors? You don’t feel them?” he says. And his voice, his Puerto Rican-tinged voice raises to higher and higher octaves of disbelief.

On paper he is merely a surfer. A sponsored Puerto Rican surfer from Jobos Beach. “I’m from Jobos but you can put Slowbos. That is what I call it. Hahahaha.” I ask him if the locals will care and he says, “I don’t care. It’s all about having fun. It’s not what people think. I don’t care what people think. I don’t care. I don’t care nothing. Hahahaha.” And the wildest thing is, he really does not care which takes him the rarest bird. A giant breath of fresh air. We all, everyone of us, walk down the street caring what people think. Professional surfers care more than others. Professional surfers sit for interviews and hem and haw but not Hector Santamaria. He sings.

And maybe he also sticks front flips on a surfboard. His surfing is a thing of wonder, combining all the progressive airs with all the steezy styley style. And he is most definitely filled with chi power. Chi, or qi, is best described as “life force.” It is the active principle forming any living thing. And Hector Santamaria is filled with it. “Oh that is the thing I loved about surfing first, just the chi for sure. Just like the energy I got when I stand up for the first time it’s like, ‘Ooooooh what is that, what is happening, ayeyeyeye!’ I just felt the love and I’m like, ‘I’m doing this forever.’”

But where, exactly, did Hector Santamaria learn about chi? “I read books. The Power of Now. I reeeeaaaad ch chc ch ch chchchc C.S. Lewis. He’s siiiiick. He has chi. Mega chi. And so I just love the chi of surfing. The first time I went everything just turned into particles and then my mom started taking me surfing all the time and I thought, ‘Oh yeah! This is the best, heh? I’m not going to school. Hahahahahaha!”

But what, exactly, has the most chi in surfing? “I would say airs.” Over barrels? “Yesch. Everybody says barrels and barrels are chi, fully, but when you do an air and you gotta move your body, like, three times. I even like those layback turns that Dane does when he goes shshshshshshshshshhwhwhwshs.”

But where, exactly, has the most chi? “Florida has no chi. Cali has good chi. Puerto Rico has good chi. You know where’s good chi? Fiji. They have chi but it’s kinda slow. It’s not like I thought. But Cali has the most chi for sure. I feel Cali is wicked ‘cause a lotta people live here so everything is moving….. I like Newport. I love San Clemente too. I like Surfside.”

A giant breath of fresh air. Hector Santamaria doesn’t compete. “No. I don’t like too. First of all, you need time to do what you love. You don’t want thirty minutes of stupid. Like, you cannot do a double rotation in a contest because you don’t have the…..the……the chi is not there.” He just lives. He lives bigger and wilder and more colorful and without any sort of restraint. A giant breath of fresh air.

I heard a story from Surfing Magazine’s famous Brendan Buckley. He said he paddled out one completely crowded perfect Trestles day and as he paddled he heard a loud siren coming from the lineup. As he got closer he heard people yelling at the siren, “HEY! SHUT THE FUCK UP!” but the siren didn’t shut up. And then he saw Hector Santamaria sitting on the peak, waving his arms in circles, head to the sky, screaming out a siren sound. What does he think when people yell him to shut the fuck up? “I don’t care. I don’t care. I’m just giving it my best. I’m not trying to kill anyone. When they yell, ‘HEY! SCHUT UP!’ I yell back, “You don’t pay my bills!’ Hhahahahhahaha! And then I say, ‘Chi power. Chi power. No chi suckers!’” The rarest bird. In a world where surf has turned drab fluorescent-lit drab, Hector Santamaria is our color. He is the prayer for us sinners.