But it also has a tendency to turn you into a full-blown "super prick"…
Bodysurfing is the greatest thing ever. It’s fun, it’s easy, and because its biggest devotees are hairy middle-aged men, it’s inherently uncool. So uncool, in fact, that it transcends it’s own uncoolosity, and circles back around to become extra cool.
It also has a tendency to turn you into a full-blown super prick, unless you confine yourself to the handful of “bodysurf only” spots in existence. Battling for waves with only a pair of fins puts you roughly on level with the splayed leg paddle set if you venture into quality surf. The inability to accelerate in order to make sections pushes onto the shoulder, sharing space with the weakest and worst. Shout, jostle, jockey, you’ve gotta show those barneys who’s boss.
Unless you’re Mike Stewart and possess the ability to pump and drive through the surf like a fucking dolphin.
Opportunity! Rory Parker’s Academy for Surf Writers!
I once came across an advertisement for a “Surf and Sports Writers Workshop” being hosted at the Turtle Bay, on Oahu. For only $895 I could attend a five-day clinic and learn from the very best.
There’d be lectures and box lunches and a bus to take you to the beach where you’d do “field work.” You’d be schooled in the craft by The Inertia’s Ted Endo and some chick from ESPN! True luminaries! But, sadly, writing about surfing doesn’t pay enough to learn how to write about surfing, so I had to forego what would have surely been a life altering experience.
Despite this handicap I, nevertheless, managed to claw my way to the very heights of the surf journalism industry. Every day my words are read by dozens of people, some of who aren’t even related to me! And my Facebook “likes” sometimes number as many as ten!
Then I heard about the college class that Sam and Matt George are conducting in Bali (click here) which actually seems like a not too bad way for a college-aged kid to piss away his parents’ hard earned money.
The guys are good writers, the class provides college credit, and considering it includes food and lodging, it is fairly priced. Sure, they made the odd decision of incudling Allan Weisbecker’s self indulgent abortion of a second novel in the curriculum (click here), but nothing’s perfect.
Of course, I’m not going myself. I hated school, and the only college-age kids I want to spend any time with are the ones I lure into my home with smiles and empty promises.
But I can, and plan to, cash in on the idea.
Which is why I’m proud to announce the first session of Rory Parker’s Kauai Spare Room Learning Academy for Surfboard Writers. For only $2500 you can enroll in my intensive nine-day course that will show you the in an outs of achieving surf writer success.
Lodging is provided in the form of cozy bunk bed style living, in my home nestled in the beautiful mountains of the Garden Isle. Classes will be small, no more than eight students per session, mainly due to the fact that I don’t think I could fit any more people in my spare bedroom.
Rory Parker’s Kauai Spare Room Learning Academy for Surfboard Writers- Summer Session
Accredited in partnership with Bob Jones University*
Section 1: Lifestyle
Lecture: Finding that perfect spouse
How to attract and maintain a relationship with someone capable of earning a steady income.
Assignment: Students will be tasked with creating a Tinder profile that portrays them in a suitably “artsy” fashion and guided in the proper selection of suitably wealthy candidates most likely to indulge a “creative” life partner.
Lecture: Embracing the menial
How to rationalize poor career choices in the light of artistic expression.
Assignment: Clean my house and do my yard work in preparation for the coming years of temporary part time labor
Includes phone hassling, physical intimidation, and personal confrontation.
Assignment: Students will call someone who owes them money and verbally berate them until paypal’d the balance due.
Section 2: Creative process
Lecture: Kill yourself, faggot
Audience interaction in the Internet age.
Assignment: Students will be guided in creating sock puppet accounts, with which they will harass fellow writers anonymously. Extra credit will be given to anyone who can convince their target to self-harm
Lecture: Paying rent in “exposure”
Why working for free is a worthwhile pursuit.
Assignment: Students will be denied meals while being forced to create content for a third party.
Lecture: Everything is always okay!
How to avoid negative characterizations in your writing.
Assignment: Write a 1500 word article hyping this year’s US Open of Surfing.
Section 3: Going along to get along
Lecture: To shill or not to shill
Learning to subvert the creative process in search of advertising revenue.
Assignment: Students will be tasked with turning a print advertisement into a 500-word advertorial about their respective products
Lecture: Brain rape
How to side step the creative process by stealing others’ work.
Assignment: 250 word article that serves to justify ripping content from an outside source.
Lecture: Form over function
Using sesquipedalian writing to disguise shallow content.
Assignment: Students will be tasked with turning a 200-word piece of copy into something resembling prose using only online thesauruses.
Space is limited, so get those $1000 non refundable deposits sent in ASAP!
* Rory Parker’s Kauai Spare Room Learning Academy for Surfboard Writers makes no claims regarding actual accreditation. Students are to understand that course credits will most likely be non-transferable
Chris Malloy: How to survive the commercial grind!
Or how to be a man while everyone else is looking at their phone…
Chris Malloy, the middle pillar of the triumphant genetic triumvirate that is The Malloy Brothers, is a working class hero. A man of the people. A bronzed populist with a penchant for dusty beards, big trucks, and lush, vibrant cinematography that would make Clint Eastwood cry.
He gets his hands dirty these days working on commercial projects at Farm League, which is most certainly not a Branded Content Agency.
Malloy and friends (Jason Baffa! Greg Hunt! The Gothic Dolphin himself, Alex Kopps!) do Farm League because “life is too big (and fun and great and instructive) to keep separate from work. And that faking it is the lamest, worst, most uninspired thing a person can spend their time on.”
(Which is something we here at BeachGrit salute! No fake “big,” “fun and great and instructive” lives!)
Farm League’s done a bunch of short films, commercial spots, and even kickstarter films, working with companies like Nike SB, The North Face, Patagonia, and Ole Smoky moonshine. And Chris himself has directed spots for Dodge, Jeep, and Gerber. And they’re pretty damned good. Gritty. Durable. Steinbeckian, almost.
Most recently Chris released The Fisherman’s Son, a bioflick about Ramon Navarro and his fight to save Chilean uberwave Punta de Lobos.
And The Fisherman’s Son is good. It’s a story told well. Which is rare in surfing, especially in surf films (which Malloy claims The Fisherman’s Son is not).
I told Sir Derek Rielly I’d be chatting Chris up, and he told me the theme of my conversation should be: How To Be A Man When Everyone is Looking At Their Phone.
Well, here’s what Chris had to say.
On surf films: I look at surf films as these sketches, on ideas or periods of time. You know, they’re not linear. And they’re a great way to dabble and play with colors and sound.
On The Fisherman’s Son: I’ve known Ramon for almost ten years. I’ve been going down to that region of Chile for a long time. Early on, Ramon was this neat little Chilean kid that surfed really well. And then we met his family and got to known him really well, and he just kept getting better and better. To watch his rise was really inspiring on a personal level. And when he got on the world’s stage he decided to use his voice to protect the place he came from. I approached him about the film. We knew each other, and he trusted me.
On the commercial grind: I come in, work super hard for ten days straight, then go home for a month. I’ll fish and surf, spend time with my family.
On hopping on the Patagucci express: You know, we signed on ten years ago. At the time, people thought we were nuts. Patagonia wasn’t a real surf brand.
On Patagonia’s pater familias: We were friends with Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia founder) from climbing and surfing with him. I loved his gear and his philosophy. After a while it was like, Gee, we should work together. And when we approached him he was like, “If you guys are down to follow that philosophy, and put in some elbow grease, that might work. I’m not looking for dancing bears.” He didn’t want guys that just put stickers on their boards.
On Patagonia’s surf industry takeover: As far as Patagonia’s success, that comes from surfing. Not from the surf industry, but from the surfing community. Ten years ago there was a shift. People started caring about where things came from. And then there was the demand for better cold weather gear, of course.
On designing clothes: Patagonia’s close to where I live. It’s awesome. In, like, every department I have someone that I’ve known for ages. And it isn’t about big ideas for me. It’s about a pair of boardshorts that are so simple it’s ridiculous that we’re working on it. But we design this shit for ourselves! Whether it’s a board or a piece of gear, we focus on one thing until it’s exactly how we want it.
On where he chooses to focus his directorial eye: The more I’m involved in filmmaking, the more I’m drawn to just really good stories. I wish I was more consistent with what I get excited about. For me, my future is always the next story that moves me.
But if John John called and said he’s found some crazy slab somewhere, and wanted to go there and film for a month, I’d jump on it.
David Carson’s Lunada Bay Cover For Monster Children!
World's most influential (and imitated) designer's take on "miserable, absurd, asshole localism."
David Carson is the world’s most imitated graphic designer, at least among magazines that do “hip” and “edge” and who like to break every typographic rule there is while straight-jacketing themselves to another set of strictures.
Last week, the prestigious Harvard Graduate School of Design asked him to create the publicity and posters for the next school year. Apple called him one of the 30 most Influential Mac users ever. London Creative Review magazine named him the most famous graphic designer on the planet. There’s more, too, but instead of me paraphrasing his website how about you dive in here. (Click!)
A while back, David designed this cover for the Australian surf-skate-lifestyle manual, Monster Children. For reasons never revealed, it didn’t run and was replaced, instead, by a photo of Alex Knost.
With Lunada Bay in the news (here and here), we figured we should talk to Carson about the cover…
BeachGrit: I love this almost-Monster Children cover of Lunada Bay.
Carson: Me too.
BeachGrit: Why did you design a cover with Lunada Bay? I mean, what a provocateur!
Carson: Some friends of mine, mellow, good non-snake surfers, had had their car windows broken, lights smashed out, tires slashed and everything in the car stolen. And a hammer taken to the outside of the car. They also had rocks thrown at them all the way down and up the long trail down the cliff to the break at Lunada Bay.
I’ve heard worse stories, a few ended up in ugly court battles.
So I thought it would be nice to have a cover of “their spot” or “their ocean” on the cover of a global magazine, complete with name and location description. Plus it was just a really great image. And I liked the way the whole cover came out. Maybe the monster-ish children running the mag didn’t like that I changed their name around . I dunno. They never told me why they didn’t run it.
BeachGrit: Tell me about your relationship with Lunada Bay?
Carson: I attended Lunada Bay elementary school then left to Cocoa Beach in Florida for a few years with my family as my dad was in charge of the first unmmanned spacecraft to land on the moon. Once that mission was accomplished, we returned to Palos Verdes where I completed my last two years of high school.
I had a friend, Jeff Kruthers, who introduced me to Lunada Bay. He and his brother Allan and their mom lived and grew up there. Jeff was one of the first to really surf the place well.
Jeff later moved to Santa Barbara and managed the Chart House restaurant before getting into real estate, mostly in the Ranch where he continues to live and surf. He once offered me a small section in the Ranch for 5000 dollars. Before he did, he asked me, if the swell was pumping would I be able to drive into the Ranch and NOT bring a bunch, or any, friends with me? If yes, I could buy. Alas, I got busy and never quite got around to purchasing it. Ouch. Ouch. Right up there with selling my house in Point Dume, complete with key to gate around private surf point!
Anyway, I surfed Lunada Bay while in high school. My most memorable day was the first time I ever surfed it. I was newly arrived form Florida and had only been surfing a couple years. It was a Sunday afternoon, me and a buddy. My friend lost his board into the rocks and I surfed the entire afternoon alone, in the biggest waves I’d ever surfed or seen. Pre-leash. This photo my friend Guy Knight night took after he lost his board. He’s standing on the point. Something you would literally be stoned to death for if you tried today.
Even a couple years later when I was invited to compete in the Smirnoff Pro am at Sunset Beach, the waves were not as big as I’d gotten at Lunada. It’s an amazingly beautiful area: huge cliffs to the water. And even more amazing is that it’s only about 40 minutes to downtown Los Angeles or 40 minutes to Orange County. Because it’s a ways off the 405 freeway, a lot of surfers STILL don’t know it actually exists, as they go flying by, well crawling by actually, first gear in the fast lane bumper to bumper up to Malibu or down to Trestles…..
BeachGrit: What sorta wave is it? Is it that good?
Carson: It’s the best big wave in Southern California, easily. A right point, only breaks when a huge north winter swell is running. Lots of kelp outside keeps it smooth. An amazing set up and wave, spectacular setting.
BeachGrit: What sorta run ins have you had?
I’ve seen or heard about more than I’ve personally had: rocks, demolished cars, stolen everything, fights, court cases, it’s ugly. Grown, outta-shape, men acting like three year olds. No, actually three years olds act better. My wave, my beach, my ocean! Most are, at best, very average surfers who would not stand out anywhere they surfed. And guys that can barely surf with their too-long guns with torn black wetsuits will spend their entire session taking off in front of non-belongers, forcing them into the rocks and urchins. Fun way to spend your session, hey?
The wave, the set-up, it’s travel magazine stuff. Beautiful and beyond pricey real-estate. A lot of trust-fund babies with babies of their own. I stayed awhile in a house just up from the Bay that was famous because the lawyer who defended Sirhan Sirhan owned the house. Sirhan shot and killed Robert Kennedy minutes after he had won the state of California’s presidential primary, but that’s a different article.
BeachGrit: What’s the wildest stuff, specifically, you’ve seen?
Carson: Lots of ugly, dumb shit. Localism taken to the absurd extreme. The only way you can kinda rationalize it is well, thats them, they are just as big a kook, asshole and jerk wether they are driving, standing in a check-out line, ordering fast food, on dates, at parties, at their kids sporting event or attempting to surf. Always miserable, always jerks. Always assholes.
BeachGrit: The surf media, like me and my ilk, don’t touch it. Why’s that, y’think?
Carson: It has been said that localism works. If it does, and if you take some kind of comfort in that, well Lunada Bay could be the poster child. Threats to photographers, mags and all others have been effective. It’s ghetto warfare there, somehow these losers found the wrong sport.
The irony is, of course, they’re rich enough to travel to all the exotic places and ruin someones else’s local break during California’s summer months when not a single ridable wave happens.
Not us, but Marie Claire France. Go to Paris to improve your surf game!
I go to Marie Claire France for many things: the amour et sexo, the latest photos from the festival de Cannes and the occasional long-form story on le sexe anal pour pimenter sa vie sexuelle. How did I ever live without Google Translate?
What I didn’t expect to find today was a compelling video piece on the American invention, the RipSurfer X, an out-of-water device “designed to simulate the physical demands of surfing without the ocean. Torch body fat, build lean muscle & get a ripped core with our signature surf-inspired workouts you can watch from home.”
If you’re in Paris, maybe you’re on a layover ‘tween European travels or you’re en route to Hossegor, you can swing over to the eighth arrondissement and for 30 Euros actually improve your surf game.
“You sweat to punchy background music and there’s a large display with life-size images of waves to believe you’re in Hawaii! The legs, arms and buttocks are ultra solicited throughout the session.”