New: “Grandma, tow me in!”

4-6+ feet has never seemed more accessible!

The French are good at many things but mostly good at being French, which is the same as being fabulously useless. From Gothic art (1100-1200) to the world’s first electric keyboard (1759) to photography (1822) to the roulette wheel (1843) to neon lighting (1910), the French have invented wonderfully impractical contrivances. They can now proudly add the world’s first all-electric carbon fiber jet ski (2011).

The Exo Wat, dreamed up by, Philippe Fretel, is really more of a bodyboard as the user lies prone whilst driving. It is very sleek, in traditional Batman black, and leaves almost no carbon footprint. “I used to rent out professional jet skis in Florida…” Fretel tells “…when I arrived, it was a dollar per gallon and three years later it was two dollars per gallon! So first of all there was this economic factor linked to the rising price of petrol: my profit margin had become too low.

The second factor is, of course, ecological: we really wanted to be able to offer fun leisure activities with an environmentally friendly vehicle, using an ecological means of power. In addition, the vehicle is lighter (no trailer).”

Aside from being astonishingly fruitless and great for the environment, the Exo Wat does not require any sort of permit so either your grandma or four-year-old nephew can tow you in to slightly overhead set waves at your local beach for at least an hour. That is how long the battery lasts.

Bon appetit.

This is how it really looks.
Graham Stapelberg enjoying a day on the sea.

See it here first: Leo Fioravanti dazzles!

It's an Italian storm!

Crispy Grindz from James Graham on Vimeo.

Kelly Slater is an international surf star but I would say we have not had one since he and I would also say that John John Florence will not reach international surf star level (he surfs so well, so gloriously but……the intangibles, you know?). In any case, my money for the man who will take Kelly Slater’s spot, when Kelly finally begins to age, is none other than Leonardo Fioravanti.

Leo is, of course, Italian, for uno, and speaks fluent French, English, a little Japanese and more French. His English is also inflected with the cutest continental accent. Girls melt into puddles when they hear. He is tall, for due, not the short little things the surf world generally churns out. He is blonde, for tre, with Romish curls. He has wonderful teeth and a wonderful smile, for quattro. Girls melt into puddles when they see. He has very ideal bone structure, for cinque, and he is brave, for sei even breaking his back on a heaving Pipeline bomb.

I was with Leonardo, recently, at Teahupo’o and he paddled fearlessly into many waves that left me quaking in the boat and he did it with style. He has small wave game and big wave game. He would be given a role in Baywatch if it still existed. He has all……..the intangibles, you know? Just watch this video and try to argue.

Viva Leo!

Another Great Moment in Surf Photography

Steve Sherman looks a raging bull in the eye and does not flinch.

Say what you must about Steve Sherman but his tireless work ethic and unparalleled enthusiasm for the Sport of Kings is something to behold. There are those who don’t appreciate, of course, like Kaipo Gomes-Balzer but these few are generally anonymous, or recently outed, Internet trolls who prefer to lob insults from far away, or Manhattan Beach. They are not brave.

But Steve Sherman is. He is as brave as he is handsome and, as evidence, just examine this great moment in surf photography right here!

It is 2009 and the North Shore is alive with feeling! Sunny Garcia, Hawaiian darling and powerful surfer, in the lead for the coveted Vans Triple Crown. He had done very well at Haleiwa. He had done very well at Sunset. All he had to do was ok at Pipeline and the honors and the glory would be his.

But he was late to his heat, mere ten minutes because he was getting fins from the Rothman house. Contest director Randy Rarick said “Alo-nah” though and Sunny was not allowed to surf, Torry Meister taking his spot, and Sunny did not win the Vans Triple Crown.

I was not ten yards away when this scene played out. Sunny was enraged. Furious. A stung tiger. Randy was hardened. Unmovable. They tugged of war over the contest jersey. Sunny screamed swears. Randy folded his arms. It was very uncomfortable and I wished I was elsewhere.

And Steve Sherman was not five yards away but he, brave and handsome, did not wish he was elsewhere. He waded even closer, in fact, capturing Randy’s stoic but more importantly Sunny’s hurt.

Look at Sunny’s face. Look at the rage and the resignation and the frustration and the pain. It is a beautiful shot, a great moment, but also look at his surf trunks. Affliction. A mixed-martial arts brand. Sunny could have just as easily waltzed over and taken his hurt out on Steve Sherman’s face. This great moment is what separates the boys from the men. And Steve Sherman is the man.

Dane and Courtney
Eleven years ago and we see the just-turned 19-year-old Dane Reynolds and the gal of his dreams, Ms Courtney Jaedtke.

Dane and Courtney Just Had a Sammy Boo

Worlds' best surfer (2006-12) and Ask Pam mastermind got a brand new bebe… 

It’s raining bebes on the most unlikely plains. First, it was revealed two weeks ago that perennial batch Taj Burrow (perennial as opposed to “confirmed” bachelor) is to be a daddy (as opposed to sugar daddy)… click here… and now we see the result of a most wonderful union tween Dane Reynolds v Courtney Jaedtke.

The pair are decade-old lovers from Carpinteria in central California (see main photo). Dane, the undisputed best surfer in the world from 2006 until 2012 and Courtney, the Pam Wear clothier (click here), falconer (click here), Ask Pam mastermind (click here) and, perhaps, the most profound stylistic influence on her bae.

Yesterday, the pair announced that Sammy Boo Reynolds, a little eight-pounder had been hoisted into the world. What a great honour and privilege motherhood is! A mammy’s strength is more powerful than natural laws! The world opens up to mammies!

IMG_5534 copy

And Reynolds turns thirty this September so he’s ready. He’s built for fatherhood. Playful and serious. Daring and loving.

What greater challenge is there than raising a great son?

Shawn Barney Barron Dies
Barney really grasped things at the root. He flew, he painted, he died.

Barney was rad!

Shawn "Barney" Barron really grasped life at the root. So let's celebrate his art, his airs, his fever!

Yesterday the surfing world woke to a bummer: Shawn “Barney” Barron had passed away at 44.

Barney’s exploits – documented in shakey, lo-fi glory in Josh Pomer’s The Kill series, and especially some of Volcom’s early masterpiece –  were something to behold.

Honestly, do you remember how radical Stoney Baloney was when it premiered? Or fucking Magnaplasm? Remember his barrel roll attempts or his throw away back flips? Were they actually called Barney flips?

Barney, along with a young Bruce Irons, was the face of Volcom for the brand’s infant years. Pre-Ozzy Wright, Barney was Volcom’s weirdo artist/air guy, his surreal, cartoony paintings featuring occasionally in Volcom’s campaigns.

We could look forward to him mugging for the camera for Hotline in every Wetsuit Preview Surfer ever did or to him ripping in in those epic Spiderman wetsuits, punting airs at the Lane, getting slotted all around Santa Cruz’s Westside reefs and slabs and mysto spots.

Of course with Barney, like virtually the entirety of his Westside crew, there were always rumours of something gone awry – stories of excess, stories of doomed, desperate darkness amid the playfulness of his persona.

Though he hasn’t been as present in the surf world in recent years he did put out a few goofball episodes of Barney Barron Web-TV! in 2013, which were basically clips of him doing airs and weird, radical grab-rail cutbacks, then talking nonsense into a microphone…

Barney died Tuesday, at his home, after a “23-year-old woman who lived at [Barney’s] home… went outside to an area between the home and an in-law unit, and saw Barron on the ground.”

He wasn’t breathing.

Here’s some reminder’s of Barney’s bouncy, boyish brilliance:

From Josh Pomer’s The Kill 4 (Click here) 

The first episode of Barney Barron Web-TV! (Click here) 

A few peeks at his art and lifestyle. (Click here).