Sometimes sitting at home in California or New South Wales or Florida or Brazil we dream of tropical waters and bigger waves. But how big? It is easy to mentally surf still images and even easy to place oneself alongside a hero, dropping in to a throbbing beast. But there is always a pleasant song overlaid, isn’t there. And always a feeling of possibility. But, really, how big? How big would you go and still feel fine?
This little clip by Ryan Moss takes us from dreamy to uh-oh in Tahiti. Tahiti is magical and her waves are magical but think, as you watch, about yourself here. In which minute would you tap out? One? Two? Three? Me? I’m out after the first wave. But what a wave it would be!
I’m more than willing to admit that from the outside, Makua Rothman is more of a man than I am. (Though I’m fairly certain the arbitrariness of fate is responsible—I was born in Florida, a gentle, pacifist, mailman’s son; Makua is North Shore royalty.)
Makua charges. Pipe, Chopes, Jaws, shitty, massive Chile, freezing cold Oregon. He goes for it. He sees what he wants and he takes it. And he’s won most every award a Big Wave Pro Surfer can win. Billabong XXL’s! the first WSL Big Wave World Tour Champion!
And doesn’t this make him deserving of a coveted Teen Choice Award? One of those amazing surfboards, the history of which was documented beautifully by surfing’s scrappiest scribe, Lewis Samuels? (here)
Today a press release arrived in my inbox, penned by his media contact Klint Briney, titled “TEEN CHOICE 2015: MAKE PRO SURFER MAKUA ROTHMAN CHOICE MALE ATHLETE. Big Wave Tour World Champion Rothman Yearning For Choice Male Athlete Nomination”
The release went:
Hawaiian Professional Surfer and the #1 surfer in the world as crowned by the World Surf League, Makua Rothman is longing for a coveted TEEN CHOICE Surfboard Award as FOX has opened up requests for nominees in various categories, including Choice Male Athlete. The first step is getting Rothman nominated in the category.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Teen Choice and win a Surfboard,” said Rothman. “I mean, I surf for a living, so it’s only fitting to be apart of Teen Choice, right. I’d truly be honored to just attend. I’m hoping the surfing community rallies around us to continue to push our sport even further…”
Let’s get him there! I am going on Twitter right now and casting my vote like this:
My #TeenChoice nominee for #ChoiceMaleAthlete is world #1 Surfer @MakuaRothmanhttp://www.teenchoice.com/nominate@TeenChoiceFOX
I suggest you cut and paste and do the same. I strongly suggest it.
I’m not proud of it, but I was in more than my fair share of fights when I was younger. If you’d asked me then I’d have sworn they were all justified, but if I’m being honest it was really all because I had a chip on my shoulder and pubescent levels of testosterone coursing through my veins. And also because I was a greasy little punk and no women would have sex with me.
In the decade and a half since I’ve only hit someone twice. The first time was an unfortunate mishap at a baby shower that I won’t delve into right now. The second involved me squaring off with the senior partner of my wife’s law firm in a Honolulu parking lot. I won that one, but the dude was in his sixties, so I feel like it deserves an asterisk.
On a related note, did you know you don’t have to hit an old man very hard to hurt him pretty badly?
While I’m not an advocate of using violence to solve problems, I do think that, sometimes, not often, you’re justified in delivery a stiff right to the center of someone’s big stupid mug. And I do enjoy watching other people fight, especially over surfing. It’s just such a stupid thing to come to blows over, watching two guys bash on each other over a totally inconsequential part of life puts a huge smile on my face.
El Porto is such a garbage spot. A shitty closeout 364 days a year, home to worst ten million freaks, boomers, egos, and assholes that LA has to offer. I just love how the guy throws his nice white …Lost on the ground before they go at it like two dudes who’ve watched a ton of UFC but never actually tried to translate their sweet mental karate into action.
Getting mad at a little kid is such wasted effort. The little shit can run his mouth at you, even take a swing at you, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Because, if you try, Richie Collins is gonna come flying out of nowhere and kick your ass!
I take back what I wrote earlier about surfing always being a stupid thing to fight over. It’s a little more nuanced than that. For instance, I feel like Nathan Fletcher’s reaction in this clip is totally reasonable.
Thank the good lord for giving everyone video cameras, otherwise I’d never have seen a guy come pretty close to drowning a dude while two foot mush crumbles softly in the background.
There’s a moment in here when he realizes, “Oh shit, I’m way too old for this to end well for me.”
Remember, keep your chin down and your hands up and, until next time, here’s an old man falling down an escalator.
Have the secrets to surf photography unfurled before your eyes! By real-life icon!
Art Brewer, oowee, he good. Maybe all-time number one. Art owned the seventies, eighties, nineties in the American surf mags before splitting to do more lucrative commercial work, although his surf spirit still soars.
The Encyclopedia of Surfing has a lovely entry on Art, reproduced in part here.
“Brewer’s size (he once weighed nearly 300 pounds) and flaring temper, meanwhile, further suggested the idea of grand, even explosive creative talent. At times Brewer played on his aggression. Asked to supply a self-portrait for a 1997 portfolio, ‘this big elephant seal of a man,’ as described by surf journalist Evan Slater, provided a green-tinged face shot negative, jaggedly cut in two, then taped and stapled back together, with the handwritten caption: ‘Surf photography constipates me!'”
But also: “Brewer’s eye for color and framing is unmatched in the surf world, and much of his best work has been done as a portraitist, when he has unfettered control over light, texture, and mood.”
Which all leads into his on-location learn-to-take-surf-photos course on the Indonesia island of Sumba April 28 to May 9. For $US6200 (excluding international airfares) you’ll shoot surf, water and boat, the sparkling indigenous community there as well as in-depth post-production instruction. Which, let’s face it, most photographers, suck at.
And it’s all wrapped up in a gorgeous, but very eco-aware resort.
As the tour operator Epic Photo Tours writes, “To spend 12 days shooting with Art Brewer will be a game changer. As long as you are a swimmer, you will be safe as we are providing a full support team to help you. If you are already a surf photographer, Art Brewer will take you to a new level.”
This time Jon Steele and Grant Ellis square off and we are the winners!
Jon Steele is a well-known surf photographer with stylish glasses and a keen eye. He has worked as a model. He has also gotten very angry at Surfer photo editor Grant Ellis. In a recent Instagram post he said, “Fuck grant ellis @grantellis1 and his ego fueled photo editor dictatorship! For the past 15 years I have been working to get Texas surfing into the magazine only to have him shoot the article himself and take money and work away from me. Congrats on being the shittiest photo editor ever!Take my name off the photographer mast head!!”
Why the anger? Jon Steele, you see, was born in San Antonio and reared in Corpus Christie. He spent the first half of his life surfing those Texas gulf oil tanker waves and if they were going to be shown to the world, he wanted to be the one to do it.
Surf photographers are very proprietary. If you want an angry email, post surf photos online without permission. Of course it all stands to reason. Their images are their currency. Their knowledge, connections, access are also their currency and Grant Ellis spent Jon Steele’s. Should Jon, though, have taken such a torch to Surfer’s office? Should he have burned a bridge? Probably. I once got fired from a restaurant job. I was a bus boy and moved as quickly as I could but it was, admittedly, slow. Once night the manager took me aside and told me that everyone else was in fifth gear and I was in second. I became so enraged that I went home, put my uniform in a brown paper bag, wrote cuss words inside, had my dad drive me to the restaurant and threw the bag at the door.
It is nice to see the fire from Jon and BeachGrit will be sure to bring you Grant’s response. I don’t know how the Surfer story looks, nor will I, because I am not 73 years old and don’t read Surfer. But fuck you Red Lion Coos Bay!