History: Naming Josh Kerr’s Club Sandwich

When JK nailed the under-the-lip reverse who knew what to call it! He wanted yahtzee, I wanted Club Sandwich. Guess who won!

Remember back in 2007 when Josh Kerr nailed his first-ever under-the-lip-grab-rail-reverse in competition?  It was Snapper, his opponent was Mick Fanning and he… lost. 

Kelly Slater got so high on it he called it the best move ever in a contest. What’s rad is it still gets the spectators’ toes tapping and judges jabbing fingers in the eight range on their little scoring tablet.

I recorded this interview shortly after the event and christened it the Club Sandwich…

BeachGrit: I believe you’ve been calling this turn a Yahtzee. I much prefer the name The Club Sandwich purely because, like the sandwich, it has everything stuffed inside it: reversed, upside-down, rail grabbed…

JOSH KERR: Yeah, mmmmmm, I hear what you’re saying but I honestly don’t care what you call it – it’s just a grabbed reverse, really.

I’d wager that’s your modesty speaking. And, as an aside, no one has ever won a string of world titles by being modest. You and I both agree that it’s far more than a grab-rail reverse.

(Warming up) Yeah! It’s sick! It’s an upside-down-grabbed-reverse, that’s just what I call it. But I’m feeling The Club Sandwich. Shaun Hazza (Harrington) was trying them a while back and I was trying to copy him and I started to get really upside down. It’s the only way I can do those grab-rail reverses.

Tell me your response to Kelly’s hyperbole about the turn being the best ever in competition… 

It was heavy. I don’t think The Club Sandwich – see, now I’m using it – is that crazy a move. A lot of guys could do it if they tried it. It’s one of those ones that no one’s tried. But, y’know, it was pretty friggen crazy when I heard Kelly had said that.

In your quarter-final heat at Snapper, you needed a nine on your final wave and you didn’t get the score. Did you feel undervalued given the move’s entertainment value?

The crazy thing is, if I’d pulled into a little tube out the back, they would’ve given me the score – if I had clinged inside a non-critical tube, if I’d just pulled into a bit of crap out the back, I would’ve scored highly and got through. Judging should be about the critical turns you do on a wave.

Despite the talk of rewarding critical surfing, do you therefore believe it’s still the gentleman who rides the biggest wave for the longest time whilst spasming that gets the most points?

Yeah, but then they’ll go all crazy. Like in the first round, Bruce did a big layback snap and they gave him a nine plus – for one turn and a layback snap. Nine points. That’s good judging.

Perhaps, and this is just a theory of mine, no judge wants to be seen rewarding something that might, as time progresses, turn out to be easy. Like a frontside reverse in 1991, for instance.

Definitely, definitely. I’m sure none of those dudes have done of those things. Why should they be judging it?

But if we used your unrealistic standard, as you suggest, current WCT surfing could only be judged by Andy, Kelly, Joel and a few others.

(Conceding interviewer’s fatal lunge) Yeah, I know. It’s weird. It’s one of those sporting things. That’s why skateboarding’s not about contests, it’s about video sections. And that’s what makes a good skateboarder. Everyone surfs different; its such an expressionistic sport.

Okay, let’s talk about The Club Sandwich. I’m about to go surfing, I wanna do one, take me to my field of dreams…

Well. First of all, I try and fade before I go up so when I do the bottom turn I’m almost straight up, my board’s at 12 o’clock. When I hit I try and actually grab my rail just as I’m transitioning from the bottom turn to the other rail. This is almost mid face. It’s pretty early, but it’s the best way. You wanna be looking up at a lip that’s already start to throw out otherwise you’ll go through it and it’ll be an air. Start the actual turn early, mid-face, and as soon as your board hits the lip you really rip it around. Put your other hand in the face of the wave and put all your pressure on the front foot and throw your board and body upside down and throw the fins back toward the beach. It happens really quickly. Because you’ve got so much momentum, your board swings around really quickly from the fins grabbing. Sometimes I do that and my body keeps spinning and I fall off because my board wants to go straight but my body doesn’t. You’ve gotta stay low because you’re hitting a lip that’s gonna barrel. I mean, expect a barrelling lip on the back as you come out of it. Stay low.

That’s one of the better step-by-step descriptions for a move I’ve heard. Simple yet instructive. 


Update: Maybe the Pipe Masters Ain’t So Illegal!

Not with a bang but with a whimper, BeachGrit's investigation on the legality of the Pipe Masters closes… 

Like negotiating any bureaucratic mire, filing a document request with the City and County of Honolulu is a tediously time consuming exercise in frustration and patience. Documents are provided in a timely manner, though governmental definitions of timely leave a bit to be desired.

Copies of the permits granted, as well as related emails, show that the once-ASP/henceforth WSL was in fact in possession of variances which allowed them to run “four man staggered heats and man-on-man heats for the Quarters, Semi’s and Final”[sic].

They also reveal a rather cosy relationship between International Professional Surfing (the non-profit under which Randy Rarick applied for and was granted the permit) and the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation. No real surprise in Hawaii, a place which places a premium on interpersonal relationships (only sometimes to its detriment.)

Of course, the current regulations don’t allow for any such variances, but it should come as no surprise that the age-old precept that money makes it own rules holds as true now as ever. And you can’t really fault the WSL for taking advantage of exceptions which were requested and freely granted.

The fact does remain that the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation chose to disregard local regulations in granting the variances, but that’s another matter entirely.

What at first seemed to be a case of an evil outside force exploiting a local community in pursuit of the almighty dollar is instead the mundane matter of an appointed representative using his discretionary powers.

And, like any time something like this occurs, it’s now up to the residents of Oahu’s North Shore to decide if they want to kick and scream and force a change, or sit back, let matters be, and reap the supposed economic benefits of acquiescence.

Kelly Slater interviews with CNN
Kelly Slater interviews with CNN in 1992. And you wonder why the cat is so sharp in his interviews, so able to use the interviewers' nervousness against 'em, so able to jab at his competitors with barbed praise, so adept at the game of athletic propaganda. He's had a microphone aimed at his face since he was a dozen years old.

Note to surf stars: How to screw up an interview!

Want to make it big in the surf game? Learn to speak. With candour.

It ain’t difficult to win in the surf media game. Throw out a quote or two that isn’t riddled with platitudes and we’re going to eat it up. A so-so surfer can soar to unimagined heights while a Surf League level guy will sink into oblivion.

Want to know what to do when a creep with a microphone approaches or lights up your email or phone?

First, here are the three big no’s…

1. The answers sent from an iPhone. Jesus, how hard can it be?  You travel the world toting a MacBook Air, yet, judging by your answers you save that for porn and would rather thumb your half-assed answers via phone to a writer hoping to further your career by cobbling together 1000 words by noon.  C’mon guys, take a leaf out of Grant “Twiggy” Baker’s book and do the world a favour by peppering your answers with the odd adjective and sentence structure consisting of more than, “yes/no”, “it was sick”, “It’s hard lugging so many bards around,” or even worse, “The waves didn’t get as good as we hoped they would.”

2. The reformed Hawaiian heavy angle: Yep, we get it. Couple convictions to your name and the prospect of (more) prison time for one last little misdemeanour.  Look, we love the fact you’re now hoping to make a difference to the world but it don’t mean you can’t spray a little verbal assault down the phone line does it? Let’s be honest, it’s what we love you for!

3. The, “Could you run this by the team manager before you print this?” guy: Unless you’re in the top five, chances are you’ll be off the team by December anyway, so, live a little buddy, tell us what really happened that time you went drinking with Wardo.

And the big yes? 

Be honest, cavalier even. Take a chance. Look into the void and jump.

In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Moderation is fatal, nothing succeeds like excess.”

Noa Deane, Dion Agius and Creed McTaggart
It seems that the coolest of the cool are very angry but angry at what? The WSL? Cops? The systemic devaluation of black urban youth? An unpegged Swiss Franc that will make visiting Zurich next year a virtual impossibility?

Movie Review: Cluster didn’t change my life

Cluster is full of sound, fury and signifies nothing. And it depresses me because this is the best surf class ever.

Kai Neville’s special gift, as a filmmaker, is that the coolest of the cool shine for him and, moreover, want to shine for him. They trust him to depict them properly and they feel comfortable and happy with his depiction, which is rare, because cool is like an exotic flower that wilts as soon as gazed upon. The coolest of the cool know this, intimately, and usually guard their blessing under armors of irony, social awkwardness, self-deprecation etc. But Kai is trusted and they allow him to show them as they are and, moreover, how they truly feel about themselves.

Cluster, then, is a pure, unfiltered snapshot of cool right now. It is stylish. It is beautiful boys throwing hammers while wearing unbuttoned button-ups. It is hands-free rotors. It is high production with a low production gloss. It is exotic locales. It is David Bowie and Hole and NWA. It is gorgeous but missing something.

And that something is exemplified by Noa Deane’s “Fuck Cops” scrawled in black marker across the bottom of his white board. And the “Fuck the WSL” chant that went up before the film turned on, led by Austyn Gillette (which I didn’t actually catch because I was feasting on the most divine bouillabaisse three blocks away).

And by the cavalcade of cigarettes and middle fingers. It seems that the coolest of the cool are very angry but angry at what? The WSL? Cops? The systemic devaluation of black urban youth? An unpegged Swiss Franc that will make visiting Zurich next year a virtual impossibility? Great. There is much to be angry about in this day and age but the coolest of the cool are not doing a goddamn thing with their rage because they are frozen between 1990’s bellicose ambivalence and 2015’s millennial over-achieving and in their frozenness they are not leaving a mark. Their lives are full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. And it depresses me because this class is the best surf class ever. More beautiful, more aware, more intelligent.

“But they are simply surfers…” you shout at me while imploring that I dismount from my high horse. “EXACTLY!” I shout back, refusing to budge because my saddle is Hermes. They should be rebranding surfing in their image and, therefore, rebranding popular culture. They should be figuring out what 2020 looks like but instead they lilt through the world, half-drunk with a slightly bent middle finger held about as high as they can muster.

If the coolest of the cool don’t actually want to “fuck” anything, they should stop pretending and order another round of fancy cocktails. Ineffectual, toothless aggressive posturing never looks good. But if they do? More fun! Gang paddle out at Snapper for the Quiksilver Pro and dare Graham Stapelberg to arrest you! Start riots in Hossegor in honor of free speech. Surf naked and when the arresting police officers come slap them on behalf of your subjugated inner-city brethren.

Either way it is wonderful. Fancy cocktails are wonderful. Wild in the streets is wonderful. Just fucking decide.

Hypothetical: Rasta’s Nude Space Party

What happens in space, stays in space, says Rasta

The great misconception about the New Zealand-born surfer Dave “Rasta” Rastovich is that he’s some kinda pious deadwood. It’s a misread that makes me weep more than all the children in the world.

What fun might you wring from the neck of an event run by the thirty-five-year-old libertine?

Let’s investigate.

Where: On a space station. Everyone there would be held captive – if you’ve got people prisoner, you’re guaranteed time with people you want to be with, and you’re seeing something that only a handful of people have ever seen. Like way, way out, past our atmosphere and all the planets.

Interiors: It’d have to be a lot of windows, and a lot of Hubble space telescopes, looking thousands and thousands of light years away into other galaxies. The telescopes would move around so you could see all through the galaxy, and you could zoom in and go “Yeah, what about that distant star?” and just trip out on that. It would also have a sound system of sorts, beaming inside the station and also out, so you can imagine it’d be going through the outer galaxies and back down to Earth.

Theme: It would be Barbarella themed. It’d make a great theme, there’s so many costumes and creatures and all kind of things.

*Interviewers note: Barbarella is a 1968 film in which Jane Fonda plays a “highly sexual woman” who is tasked with rescuing Doctor Durand Durand from the planter Tau Ceti. Along the way she discovers penetrative intercourse for the first time, having only experienced sexual pleasure through pharmaceuticals, and overloads the “Ex-sex-sive” machine, a torturing device which kills through sexual stimulation.

Charity: I think it’d just have to be a decadent gathering. Actually… you could use it to raise awareness about planetary issues like climate change and deforestation, because you’d get a perspective (from space) that not everyone on Earth can get. For example, the Amazon – you can see all the run off now. Deforestation has caused all the top soil to run out into the river.

Music: Well, it’s my dream party… so I’d have to have Jimi Hendrix play. Probably not even playing songs – just jamming.

Special guests: As a short list – Barbarella herself, and some big thinkers – Einstein, Nikola Tesla, John Lennon, Ghandi. From the surfing world, Tom Blake, Duke (Kahanamoku). Jesus – I’m sure if you brought Jesus onto a space station, it’d be interesting.

Dress: I’d have to be naked. I’d pretty much have to ask everyone else to be naked too. At the door you’ve got the option of Barbarella, like some weirdness from the 60s or 70s, or just… nakedness.

Drank: The Kool-Aid from the Kool-Aid Acid Test (A group of American activists put LSD in Kool-Aid, as part of a bid to legalise the hallucinogenic). Back in the day, Timothy Leary was the main proponent for political LSD testing. He was kinda the frontman for psychedelia at that time. So he’d definitely be behind the bar, serving it. There’d also be some super-health elixirs. They probably wouldn’t need to be alcoholic or hallucinogenic, everyone’d already be tripping, looking down at Planet Earth from Space.

On the walls: There’d be screens all around showing what the Hubble telescopes were looking at. That, and the huge glass windows everywhere so you could see all around.

Filmmaker for the night: Alby Falzon (Australian-born filmmaker). We’d have to see the sun come around, so we could get some kind of tripped-out, Morning Of The Earth type thing.

Pals to hang with: I’d already be based on the Russian Space Station, so I’d just drift across from that to meet everyone.

Speech: Dave Chappelle.

Surprise guest: It’d have to be Miki Dora.

After Party: No, I think it’d be good to just keep going, and not come back down to Earth.

Sponsor: SETI – The Search For Extra Terrestrial Intelligence Institute. Set up way back in the 60s, with radioscopes and scanners and everything.

Party photographer: Nope. What happens in Space, stays in Space.