Best: New series on the Internet!

The faceless Australian finally gets his 15 minutes!

Red Bull has just launched a new series titled This and Nothing Else. It chronicles the men and women who have to work normal jobs in order to get their kicks. The first episode features Justen Allport, a gutsy man who works as a firefighter to put bread on the table. But what he loves is surfing nasty looking slabs. Ugly things and why? Who knows! It’s what makes for compelling viewing!

In any case, Justen totally represents the faceless Australian charger, a term famous Mt. Dew actor Taylor Paul came up with a few years ago.

Here is my story on the faceless Aussie. But, really, just watch Justen. A moving picture is worth 55,000 words!

He is big, taller than the average surfer and cut differently. Thicker. He drinks beer, has a hell time, knows swell forecasts weeks out, drives an old ute (what Americans call an SUV), and charges heaving slabs. Gut wrenching, cold water, thick-lipped slabs. He is the faceless Australian.

The faceless Australian is a legend in his hometown of Gnarabup or Boranup or Prevelly or Cowarump or Bogangar. He is a legend because he stares great white sharks right in their beady little eyes. He has never pulled back from a wave even if that wave is closing out onto a dry rock shelf. He has given himself and his best mate stiches. He buys the beer for everyone at the pub. He fights and fucks and sings of the good times. He is on every epic day even if that epic day starts at four in the morning and he was up until three in the morning fighting and fucking and singing.

The faceless Australian, whose name is either Ryan Hipwood, Dylan Longbottom, Mickey Brennan, Tyler Holmer-Cross or Laurie Towner, regularly appears on the cover of Australia’s Surfing Life magazine, air dropping into a monster, but rarely on the cover of Surfing, Surfer or Transworld. Sometimes, when he finds himself buried in the photo spreads of one of the American magazines, he is either misnamed or listed as “unidentified.” “Unidentified surfer charges the day at Shipsterns.”

And why? Why is the Australian charger faceless here? What has he done to be cast into the shadows of anonymity? He exhibits quintessentially American traits of masculinity, toughness, spirit and bravery. He is Hemingwayian, or at the very least, Plimptonian. So why?

I will posit that the American surf space is currently in an extreme pendulum swing of femininity. The surfers we know are the ones who float, daintily, in the air. We know Craig Anderson and Craig Anderson surfs amazingly but is also a ballerina. We know Rob Machado who is so lithe and flowey. We know Josh Kerr, an absolute twisty turny acrobat. We are getting to Matt Meola, very pretty. We know and care about all of the dainty flowers. The men who amaze us with their grace. They can, and often do, have power. Dane Reynolds, for instance, drops jaws and causes hoots of pleasure when he buries a rail and throws a bucket of water with one of his full bore arcing turns. But Dane Reynolds also dances in the air with the best of them.

And this era of beautiful ain’t a bad thing by any means. Surfing has never been more exciting or more fun to watch. It is just a fact. Sexy is what sells, today. It’s what turns the people on. A very particular feminine sexy. And so the macho Australian charger is left in the cold. The warm love of a camera lens or correct caption just out of his firm handshake giving grasp.

I will also posit that the American surfer does not understand slabs. Most grow up surfing the comfortable beachbreaks around their homes with the odd point break thrown in for good measure. When they travel it is to Hawaii or Indonesia and not to hunt unruly beasts. American surfers love to get barreled underneath head high lips groomed by warm breezes. They love to pretend to punt like the graceful set. They love to wear 3/2s or, rather, they don’t love that but will abide it during the winter months. 4/3s or straight 5s represent burrrrrr. And, of course, those who live in Santa Cruz or New Hampshire do what they must, donning their thick winter months neoprene, but if they had the choice wouldn’t they move to Southern California? Yes. They would.

And so, the idea of actively seeking bone crunching thrills in freezing cold water with sharks circling and the nearest patisserie 800 miles away is difficult for the American surfer to actively understand. It is not what he normally does. It is not what he even wants to do.

I will finally posit that the faceless Australian is unable to care about his lack of notoriety precisely because he is masculine and because he is Australian. It not masculine to toot your own horn. It is not masculine to have a blog and regularly update it. It is not masculine to seek praise for your hard work. Above and beyond, it is certainly not Australian to do any of those things. In Australia there exists a condition called “tall poppy syndrome.” Due to an excessive egalitarianism, those who have achieved success based upon their talents, and insist on trumpeting those successes, are cut down. The sociological explanation is long and dull but that is what happens. And so the faceless Australian cannot go and praise the giant, boil-filled barrel that he rode earlier in the day because that would make him a tall poppy. And he would be made fun of. He is stuck. Faceless. And maybe he is happy there. Maybe he enjoys his work-a-day, blue collar approach. Maybe he feels comfortable in the warm confines of Australia’s Surfing Life and Australia’s Surfing Life alone. Maybe he needs nothing but his mates and his near drowning experiences and his beer.

In any case, we applaud the faceless Australian. We at times, in fact, wish we were him (minus the faceless part and the 0 dollars).

P.S. If you want to make $55,000.00 go here.


Want $55,000.00? Make a surf film!

Fame and fortune beacon...come to the Canaries!

Who doesn’t dream of being the next Joe G or Kai Neville? Fame, fortune, models waiting anxiously in every port, children emulating your every move. “My life is an earthly paradise…” Joe G says. “I want for nothing…” Kai Neville says.

Well guess what? You can join their ranks! The Canary Islands Surf Film Award, to be given out at the 2016 Canary Islands Surf Film Festival, showers the richest purse ever (50,000 euro or 55,000 American dollars) on one lucky boy or girl. You? Why not! All that needs be done is to make a film in the Canary Islands and have surfing, bodyboarding, windsurfing or kiteboarding as the main theme!

“The Canary Islands are an international reference location for the practice of wind and waves sports. For this reason, we believe that the commitment to the water sports tourism has to go through promoting activities that represent the passion and culture that surround these nautical disciplines,” Maria Mendez, managing director of Canary Islands Tourism Board, says.

Your film must be submitted by August 1st 2016 (a whole year away!) and “capture the passion for the ocean, water sports and the islands’ lifestyle.”

And then you can be the next Joe G. Or Kai Neville.

The pointless struggle of the suburban surfer

Impossible to progress, you don't get no respect and you'll never be a pro surfer… 

Australia is a coastal nation. Just look at our population centres on Google Earth, if you really want to see it. We cling like limpets to the coastline, tenacious little gastropods. Superficially, it looks like we all live within a short stroll of the beach.

But nothing could be more untrue. Most  kids, most surfers, in Australia are car or bus or train rides from the closest rideable waves. And when you’re a kid or carless, it paints your surf experience a different hue to the guy who opens a window blind in the mornings to check the surf.

I did it. I grew up in the burbs of WA. I could ride my bike, but it would take me and hour-and-a-half, or I could wait around for parents that had no concept of Western Australia’s deadly summer onshores.

It’s a struggle living in the suburbs when all you want to do is throw yourself in the ocean. Here’s what the suburban surf rat is up against.

1. I can’t get no respect

On Saturday morning, the bus or the train disgorges you at the beach. You’re there! You smell the combination of salt air and rotting seaweed and you feel… good. Better than you’ve felt all week. So why are those people jeering at you? Why do you get paddled around in the water? Because, according to the surfers who’ve been fortunate enough to live there, you don’t belong. And because you’re surfing once a week, your clumsy jams don’t help. Which leads to…

2. It’s impossible to progress

All the Kai Neville movies, all the web clips in the world, all the visualisation and “surf-specific training” means nothing if you’re getting time in the water.

3. You don’t fit in anywhere

At school, there’s the sport’s guys, the skaters, the DJs, the guys who play guitars, the chess gang. But no surfers. And so you wander around the yard without a soul to share your dreams of nailing a front spin. If you’re lucky, you might find a like-minded pal, but mostly they don’t exist.

4. You’ll never be a pro surfer

Oh, this is the cruellest. But without some kind of interested parent who’ll spend their life shuttling you to and from the beach, and at least some native ability, your dream of being the next Jordy Smith ain’t gonna happen. Maybe you’ll become a writer, or a photographer, instead.

5. Surf mags forget about you

Pick up a surfing magazine (or snow or skate) for that matter, and how much of it’s content is revealing the great secrets of performance as applied to the beginner-intermediate surfer? None. It’s not until you’re landing airs the mags start to throw a few tips your way. But how do you get there?

6. It’s a waiting game

Waiting for trains, buses, parents, waiting for a pick up, waiting in line for a wave, waiting, waiting. It gets very old.

7. You become obsessed by accessories

When you can’t get a fix of surf every day, you become obsessed by all the trinkets, all the gimcrackery that surrounds the game. Deep down, you know a board and a pair of trunks is all you need, but there’s something about buying…something… that makes you feel connected to the sport you love.

8. You might never bust out

So many of us become weighted with inertia, with family ties, with jobs and everything else, we never break out of our suburban chains. It’s a horror! Don’t let it be you!

Best: Advertising campaign ever?

Get drunk on vodka right now! And aloha!



Anything that begins “Dear mainland…” is priceless in my book especially when said by someone who is Hawaiian and directed at someone haole.

Kona Brewing Company advertisements, which all begin “hey mainland” have been playing on mainland televisions for maybe a year and are very nice. The Hawaiians on screen play ukulele, speak with a delightful patois and trot out a vision of island life that certainly titillates. Just the best. There is no choking out or ice because why? Hawaii is aloha. Kona Brewing was born in a pub on Hawaii’s Big Island and has become popular enough to open restaurants and things. Its beer tastes like all beer, which is to say good enough but not as good as vodka. In any case, I’m drinking vodka right now.

But watch the advertisement anyhow and then drink vodka.

Just in: The Device Revolutionising Surfing!

Want to surf but can't swim? No problem!

Are you the type of foolhardy moron who likes to play in the ocean despite a total lack of ability? Do you wish you could kill your child while retaining plausible deniability? Are you frustrated by the presence of an overly healthy rotator cuff?

If so, you’re in luck! With the new Kingii water safety device, the latest in poorly thought-out crowdfunded inventions, all your dreams can come true!

Where is the Kingii useful? Just watch their video and you’ll find it’s perfect for:

“…a situation where an adult may not be present.” Because who has time to monitor their children in the backyard pool?

But what if your kid is too scared to swim unsupervised? No problem! Extensive testing has found that “giving kids Kingii makes them confident in the water.”  Which is great, everyone knows that, in an aquatic environment, confidence trumps actual ability nine times out of ten.

And it’s not only for helping keep your progeny’s hand dry while their blue corpse floats just below the surface. Kingii also has awesome surfing applications!

I reached out to Alec Booker, the guy handling press inquiries for Kingii to find out more. While he couldn’t tell me what size surf it was tested in, he was very assertive in claiming that it was tested by “established surfers who were  “receptive to the weight and safety features.” Receptive!

Another of the Kingii awesome features is that it requires a proprietary CO2 cartridge, priced at only five times the cost of pre-existing cartridges, guaranteeing it will work in a sticky situation, without burdening consumers with ability to quickly and easily purchase replacements at their local sporting goods store.

But wait, there’s more!

The Kingii comes with compass attached, perfect for those times you find yourself floating miles out to sea with no idea where land lies. By taking a simple bearing you’ll be able to easily determine in which direction you should undertake a miles long swim with an inflated bag attached to one wrist. And it has a whistle too!

It’s only a matter of time until the Kingii water safety device becomes all pervasive, and we laugh at the backwards past when people relied on idiotic notions like life vests and swim lessons to keep themselves safe in the water.

But don’t take my word for it, here’s what others have to say:

“Kingii is the perfect alternative to life jackets for beginner and advanced swimmers of any age. Now, for those who would previously forgo wearing a life vest, they can have the same security without the restrictions or discomfort.”

-Tom Agapiades, Kingii founder

“It’s a simple safety precaution that seems obvious in retrospect.”

– Devin Coldewey, NBC News

“The Kingii is one of those why the hell didn’t I think of that? inventions.”

-Juan Hernandez, The Inertia

“This is a crowdfunded project, and as such may not deliver what its creators initially promise. Most crowdfunding sites, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, have policies about what happens to your money if the project fails to deliver on its goals, but choosing to back a project is inevitably a risk.” 

“I’ve had six babies and five of them were born in the ocean. I got bit by a brown recluse spider on my face.”

– Some crazy lady I picked up hitchhiking

“…the team admits there’s no way of knowing how many people its proposed approach could save…”

-Liat Clark, Wired Magazine

Yessir, the Kingii water safety device is a godsend for neglectful parents and water enthusiasts alike. Just pop one on your young’uns wrists, have a few margaritas, take a nice long nap, and you’ll be able to watch your disposable income levels soar!