Dusty Payne

Five Surf Movies You Really Should See (Now)

Want to complete your education on all things surf? Absorb these!

If there existed a course in surf cinema, and of course there isn’t, these are the five films you would watch in the first semester.

They aren’t necessarily the…best… but they all have moments that capture that essential something about surfing. Blue Crush, you might find a little tenuous for its Disney-esque painting of North Shore life. But, even now, if I switch it on and find this one particular scene, it still gives me the shakes.

Come watch…

1. Bustin’ Down the Door

A 2008 documentary that documents in the most dramatic fashion, the Hawaiian winters of 74/75 and 75/76. Why do these winters matter? In 1974 surfers from Australia and South Africa dominated the big-wave events on the North Shore. The Hawaiians weren’t thrilled, but whatever. They became murderous when the Australian boasted about their exploits in print. This documentary is a meticulous account of that violent, terrifying, for the Australians, winter of 75/76. It is the finest document of an epoch in surfing you’ll find.

Turning point: When Ian “Kanga” Cairns seriously contemplates killing a man by throwing him into traffic.

2. Lost Atlas
Kai Neville’s follow-up film to his high-performance statement Modern Collective. Lost Atlas, however, finds a filmmaker suddenly able to express his intention without any technical limitations. Dusty Payne’s sequence is still regarded by many as the best in a surf film for a long time.

Turning point: Dusty’s candid take on women’s surfing, an opinion he backs up with his own astonishing performance.

DUSTY PAYNE: Lost Atlas B-Side from Kai Neville Studio on Vimeo.

3. Riding Giants
Stacey Peralta, the one-time skate superstar turned celebrated filmmaker (Dogtown and Z-Boys), narrates and directs this documentary about the rise of big-wave surfing. Stacey doesn’t do anything by halves. Riding Giants (2004) is as compelling as it is important as a document of an often-misunderstood art.

Turning Point: “I guess this is a good day to… die” Gerry Lopez.

4. Blue Horizon
A sponsor-funded film from 2003 that was meant to show the lifestyle differences of the free surfer (Dave Rastovich) and the competitive animal (Andy Irons) ended up becoming a stunning account of winning and losing at the highest level. “I just want to crush Kelly’s pretty picture,” says Andy.

Turning point: Kelly Slater weeping in the shower after losing the world title to Andy Irons.

5. Blue Crush
This isn’t meant to be a shock choice. Yeah, it’s Hollywood and, yeah, it’s cheese ball at times. But the moment in this 2002 feature when Hawaiian bodyboarder turned actor Chris Taloa tells Kate Bosworth to “stop with this surfing the sandbar horseshit” and tries to paddle her into a set at Pipe? If you surf, if you’ve ever contemplated actually riding 10-foot Pipe, your heart will be in your mouth.

Turning point: That moment in the film when the Pipeline crowd parts and Kate Bosworth’s character… pulls back!

Hector Santamaria
Anti-depressive? Yes he is! Take two tabs and… move to another groove!

Prescription: Two tabs of Hector Santamaria!

If depression follows you after watching this clip then check yourself into a morgue!

We believe that surfing is anti-depressive. That cold and useless cynicism is out of fashion. We believe in Hector Santamaria!

If you have ever had the privilege of spending time with the fabulous Puerto Rican surfer then you will know that of which I speak. He sparkles. He said, to me, “I don’t like contests. First of all, you need time to do what you love. You don’t want 30 minutes of stupid. Like, you cannot do a double rotation in a contest because you don’t have the…the…the chi is not there.”

Read the rest of that story here but really just watch this clip. If it ain’t just like Prozac then maybe you are already dead!


Hector Santamaria – Australia from EYE SYMMETRY on Vimeo.

The 15 Inviolable Truths of Surfing

As the earth orbits the sun, as the tides rise and fall, some things never change… 

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”

Who said that, Buddha? Galileo? Einstein?

It don’t matter. The truth exists and there’s no other sport that takes you closer to the soul of man, to the essence of life, as… surfing.

Below, are the 15 laws of surf, as unshakable as the Commandments, as the word of Allah.


1. You won’t get better at surfing by going to the gym.

2. Once a child has been anointed as a pro surfer he will never again have to use the following words and phrases: please, thanks, you go first and I’ll pay.

3. Three Triple Crowns equals one world title.

4. It’s never acceptable to snake a pal you a shared a ride to the beach with.

5. An unannounced drop-in is never ironic or part of some retro feel-good vibe.

6. It might be the most totally advanced technology in the world and it might be half the price and maybe even twice the strength. But, it’s still a plastic surfboard.

7. No one can see concave behind the back fin. It’s the Yeti of surf design.

8. All those stretches you do on the beach? They don’t do a damn thing. Go for a jog, heat up the hinges, loosen the sinew.

9. Joining the online commentary about surfers being robbed by biased judges is the equivalent of commanding the dance floor with your hilarious gangnam-style routine.

10. Always the hoot, sometimes the shaka, never the wink.

11. Never trust a man who describes his last ride in forensic detail, particularly if that description involves “one of the sickest tubes ever.”

12. It is always unacceptable to refuse a pal’s request for a dawn sesh.

13. There is no dignified way to surface after a blown takeoff.

14. Ten cakes of wax will always last just as long as one.

15. Christian Fletcher was landing stale-fishes 20 years ago. It makes you cute but it doesn’t make you an innovator.

Laird Hamilton Gabby Reece for ESPN
"Gabby and I are all about the doing," says Laird (right). "Our bodies are a reflection of a lot of work of a long period of time. There's no secret. You've got to put in the effort."

Laird Hamilton and Gabrielle Reece… nude!

It's ESPN body issue time. Let's sin a little… 

This year’s ESPN Body Issue is out, which means you get to once again masturbate to the toned body of your favorite professional athlete.

It’s Laird and Gabby representing the surf world this year, and don’t they look fine? Laird’s the he-man he’s always been, and Gabby… I asked my wife, “She’s twenty years older than you, why don’t you look like that?”

Her response: “Fuck, honey, why don’t you look like that?”

Fair enough.

We both agree that, given the chance, we’d each be more than happy to play the pat of butter in their pancake sandwich.

But we’d let the other person watch through a window, and when things were getting hot and heavy they’d bang on the wall and shout, “I see you sinning!”

I don’t know whether Gabby or Laird would be into it, but it really doesn’t matter.  Any shame, recrimination or tears would just make the whole deal even hotter.

US Open of Surfing
Terrorists? For sure. But which kind? Merely style terrorists or worse? Is there any such thing as worse?

Just in: ISIS targets Huntington Beach!

Terror threats darken the skies...

Huntington Beach, home to the Op Pro, the world’s biggest surfboard and Travis Ferre is also home (apparently) to “The Oldest Fourth of July Parade West of the Mississippi.” I did not know that but the Islamic State sure did!

Information has come to light that ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) may have targeted Orange County’s crown jewel during the weekend celebration when a text from Huntington Beach’s fire chief to his son began circulating on social media.

“Hey Bud…” it began “…we received credible Intel that ISIS is targeting the HB Parade tomorrow; pass the world to your friends NOT to attend the parade! The Intel is they are going to kill mass people and then target the fire, police and military that respond. The FBI and military will be at the parade. Threat level is very high!

The Huntington Beach Police Department later responded and said the threats were not, in fact, credible but still warned people to be “vigilant as always.”

Hmmmmmmm I thought to myself. What if ISIS actually did show up to incite mass terror, though? What if they showed up a little bit early and went to Sharkeez to kill some time and split a Sizzlin Fajitas Combo and pitcher of Donkey Punch (an “energizing blend of vodka, Red Bull yellow energy drink (?), Peach Schnapps and splashes of cranberry and orange juices.”)? What if, slightly buzzed, they wandered over to Jack’s Surf Shop and bought two flat brimmed LRG black on black hats and Mick Fanning’s signature bottle opening sandal? What if, inspired, they went to Tribal Ink and got giant tattoos of their last names down their arms and/or backs?

What if, then, the sun started hurting their eyes while they were admiring each other’s work so they hurried in to Main St Eyewear and grabbed some Black Flys? What if they decided to go back outside and listen to House of Pain at full volume and then forgot why they were there in the first place?

What if this has happened hundreds of times before and Huntington Beach is really just a giant dormant ISIS nest?