I hate the cold and you should too.

And if you don't it just means you a) have never lived near cold ocean or b) are too poor to move away.

COLD SEDUCTION from Max Larsson on Vimeo.

I grew up on Oregon’s desolate central coast. The weather was bleak and wet. The waves were stormy and windblown and cold and filled with sharks and cold and freezing and windy and very cold. I would wear two wetsuits. Two. One over the other. After every surf I would get a large hot chocolate at Davey Jones’ Locker in Charleston and it would not warm me up so I would also get a Hostess apple pie that I couldn’t taste. When I went and got a physical examination my resting body temperature was two degrees colder than normal. Burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

But it seems as if cold water surfing is all the rage these days. Freezing water surfing! Chris Burkard has, of course, made it his thing for years and today Wired Magazine honors him with a big feature. He tells them, “I felt like the photos I was shooting weren’t going to outlast me. I realized that I needed to look other places. I needed to look north and look south and find places where there weren’t a ton of people.” Do you know why there are not a ton of people very north and very south? Because they are frozen to death. They cannot taste hot chocolate nor Hostess apple pie and their resting body temperatures creep downward and they die.
Read the whole Burkard feature here.
And stay warm, my friends.

But do you really have the guts?

We always dream about the waves we would ride. But, if given the chance, would we?

Unstuck from Ryan Moss on Vimeo.

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!

Let’s get Makua a Teen Choice Award!

He is more than deserving.

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.

Viva Makua!

surf rage is so the rage!

Is there anything better than wipeouts? Yes.

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.

Art Brewer surf photo
Peel off $6200 for 12-days of personal surf photo instruction with the great Art Brewer! And you'll do it all in Sumba, that unspoiled little corner of Indonesia yet to be overrun by the barbarian west. | Photo: Art Brewer

Art Brewer’s 12-day surf photo school! In Sumba!

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.

Y’ever see the book Bunker Spreckels: Surfing’s Divine Prince of Decadence on Taschen? That’s all Art’s work. He was Bunker’s personal photographer, y’see. Of course!

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.”

Sign up here. 

And see Art at work here.