Dave Carson's Lunada Bay cover for Monster Children.
Dave Carson's Lunada Bay cover for Monster Children.

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.

Dave Carson
Lil Dave Carson, just sweet 15 and fresh from Florida, and his first surf at Lunada Bay. Pre-leash, too.

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.

dave carson surfing lunada bay
Jeff Kruthers, the pioneering Lunada Bay surfer. “Classy guy,” says Carson. “So of course he left when he became an adult and headed north.”

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.

Surfset Fitness
"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." Better than circumcision and speed!

“We Test SurfSet Fitness and We Adore!”

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.”

On a testé le SurfSet Fitness et on adore ! by marieclaire-fr

Who doesn’t want ultra-solicted buttocks!

Click here to sign up for a session, and here, to buy a board. 


Memories: When Jill Hansen spoke at TEDx about “God”

Jill Hansen is the Hawaiian surfer and "model" charged last year with the attempted murder of an old lady. Like yike!

I’ll be totally honest, I’m not a huge fan of the whole TED talk deal. While it’s great to hear from talented, amazing people, the majority of them aren’t the greatest of public speakers and you kinda gotta be if you expect people to sit and listen to you talk for an extended period.

I like TEDx slightly more.

TEDx is the independent, pretty-much-anyone-can-do-it cousin to real TED, and its more inclusive nature makes for some beautiful train wrecks. Like the glorious trip through delusion that was Jill Hansen’s TEDx insanity.

Since last September, Jill has been confined to a psychiatric hospital where they are seeking to medicate her into a semblance of sanity sufficient to put her on trial for the attempted murder of a 73-three-year-old woman, but you can expect to see more of her in the news in coming months.  Apparently the drugs worked!

(Click here)

Until then, do yourself a favor and take eighteen minutes from your day and tune into her TEDx ramblings.  (Press the play button on the photo and then click on the YouTube logo.)

From TEDx: “Covering the topics of supernaturalism, divinity, omnipresence, telekinesis and spirituality, Jill wishes to share her experiences as a seeking student of the great “CREATOR”. Story telling a few of her “super- natural” experiences that brought her to realizing GOD, Jill would like to “pay it forward” by sharing the answers she found to some of her greater questions. Jill will also share how her business was “divinely inspired” and the process by which it developed as part of a “GOD” thing.

Where’s your god now Jill?

Chris Burkard spins on the joys of surfing in ice-cold water.
Chris Burkard spins on the joys of surfing in ice-cold water. | Photo: TED

Powerful: Chris Burkard Just Spoke at TED!

The surf-adventure photographer on "the joys of surfing ice-cold water!" Wait, there's joy?

You know what a TED conference is, yeah? Okay, I’ll imagine y’don’t. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design). And it’s a series of conferences that take place around the world. Real prestigious. Presidents, Nobel Prize winners, all sorts of cats get on the mic.

With a max of 18 minutes talk time under their belt, some of the most compelling human beings (and yeah, some spectacular bores, too, but mostly it’s good) sound off in a sing-song story-telling style on science and culture.

And, just released, is the speech the 29-year-old Californian photographer Chris Burkard made on “the joy of surfing in ice-cold water.”

There’s joy surfing when it’s cold? Who knew!

Let’s dip into the speech midway: “It wasn’t until I traveled to Norway — (Laughter) — that I really learned to appreciate the cold. So this is the place where some of the largest, the most violent storms in the world send huge waves smashing into the coastline. We were in this tiny, remote fjord, just inside the Arctic Circle. It had a greater population of sheep than people, so help if we needed it was nowhere to be found. I was in the water taking pictures of surfers, and it started to snow. And then the temperature began to drop. And I told myself, there’s not a chance you’re getting out of the water. You traveled all this way, and this is exactly what you’ve been waiting for: freezing cold conditions with perfect waves. And although I couldn’t even feel my finger to push the trigger, I knew I wasn’t getting out. So I just did whatever I could. I shook it off, whatever. But that was the point that I felt this wind gush through the valley and hit me, and what started as this light snowfall quickly became a full-on blizzard, and I started to lose perception of where I was. I didn’t know if I was drifting out to sea or towards shore, and all I could really make out was the faint sound of seagulls and crashing waves.

“Now, I knew this place had a reputation for sinking ships and grounding planes, and while I was out there floating, I started to get a little bit nervous. Actually, I was totally freaking out — (Laughter) — and I was borderline hypothermic, and my friends eventually had to help me out of the water. And I don’t know if it was delirium setting in or what, but they told me later I had a smile on my face the entire time.

Watch Chris belt out his speech here.


Ian Crane Great Lakes
It ain't Indo, but what is? Get it where you can… 

Ian Crane Surfs the Great Lakes!

San Clemente's Ian Crane tears to little pieces the mercury ridden water of the Great Lakes. With zing!

The Great Lakes are a series of interconnected freshwater lakes on the border of the US and Canada. Think Chicago (Lake Michigan), Toronto (Lake Ontario). Think Detroit. Think industrial. Think mercury in the water. Birth defects. Unhappy fish. It ain’t Indonesia.

But if the wind blows enough, waves will discharge themselves. And they’re interesting enough. Fresh water means less buoyancy but less drag. And no sharks!

Here we see San Clemente’s Ian Crane squeeze out a shuv-it in between laborious turns in the cold water and even a bonus sequence of a kook being bounced on some rocks.


…LOST ACROSS A LAKE from Lost Enterprises on Vimeo.