Gerry Lopez: “Go with the flow smoothly!”

Do you want to surf better? Do you want to be better?

Mr. Pipeline returns! This October, like apparently many Octobers before it, Gerry Lopez will return to his beloved North Shore for his “once-a-year, highly sought-after retreat (sic)” at Turtle Bay.

Mr. Pipeline attributes his zen-like mastery of waves of significance and consequence to his disciplined practice of meditation and yoga—“infusing the focus and mastery” he gained by those pursuits with his surfing’s approach at Pipe.

The retreat promises “three full days with Gerry as takes you on a journey of surf, yoga, SUP, personally guided excursions to some of his favorite locations, meditation, island dining, and Talk Story sessions.”

Which all sounds a little like bullshit. But it’s Lopez, and surely if you’ve ever stared into his eyes you’e probably felt as I did, that his sedated glaze is not the result of years getting cosmic on the North Shore, Ulus, G-Land, and elsewhere, but of some existential mining deeper and possibly more difficult than throwing oneself over the ledge. And so why shouldn’t he make a buck preaching the G-Lo Gospel?

“Surfing teaches you to be in the moment spontaneously,” explains Gerry. “Go with the flow smoothly. That’s how you get the most of the wave and it’s also how you get the most out of life.”

Why yes, of course! We shall live our lives like so many waves!

Shane Dorian calls out the squeamish!

Which animals have the most feelings?

Famous surfer Shane Dorian loves to hunt and has never made any bones about it. You can read his thoughtful take on both the thrill and ethics here. But it must make some people angry because last night, on Instagram, he posted a picture of himself standing over a freshly downed deer with the caption:

if this photo bothers you I’d like to know why. would it be different if instead of a deer and a bow, it was a fish and hook? If you see a difference between fish and deer, why? what if you hooked a deer in the mouth, drug it around the forest for a few minutes then drowned it in water- that’s the same thing (in my opinion) as catching a fish with a pole. people seem to have an issue with killing deer but not fish and I’m not sure why. our fish populations are dwindling rapidly while the numbers of deer are increasing rapidly. fish numbers rarely need to be lessened to maintain a healthy balance in the ocean but if deer populations are unmanaged delicate ecosystems get out of balance quickly. 
I used to fish all the time when I was a kid. every time I caught one I would feel remorse for the fish. I still have those same feelings when I get a deer today. but I like to eat meat, and I feel like hunting it myself is the most respectful way to do it. 
the deer in the photo above died quickly a couple mornings ago from one good arrow and the venison will be appreciated for the next couple of months by many. #bowhunting #vension #bambi@mathewsinc @mavenbuilt @yeticoolers by the way- if you are grossed out by this pic and you are not vegetarian please feel free to unfollow me👍 >>>——->

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Would you unfollow Shane? Are you a squeamish little sissy? I once heard a rumor about how all the deer got to the Big Island (they used to have zero) but that story is for another time.

“That shit just started leaking!”

It's what happens when you rename a ship. Cursed!

The Quest 1 (formerly Martin Daly’s Indies Trader II)—the boat that putzed around the Indian Ocean in the 90’s with a legendary crew of Rip Curl riders while filming the late, great Sonny Miller’s, and somehow still un-remastered, The Search— has sunk to the bottom of the ocean in the Mentawais.

One of the boat’s guests, Pete Nevins, says that after a day spent scoring crowded Lance’s Left, they set out to find somewhere a little less traveled, and under night’s seemingly eternal darkness, the boat started taking on water in the engine room.

“It was a frenzy at first – people were just jumping off, going under the ski, all that stuff – the ski tipped over actually,” Nevins told Surfing Life. “We had a masseuse on board, who wasn’t a very good swimmer, and she grabbed onto one of the guests to stay above water, but was bringing the guest down in the process. We had to stop it. But in the end we regained composure and got everyone into the life rafts.”

They issued a distress call to Daly, nearby on the Indies Trader III, and the Ratu Motu, though for a time the shipwrecked Quest passengers didn’t know if anyone was coming to their aid.

“Me and another crewmember were the last two people on board,” Nevins said. “And I said we should grab stuff and throw it over – we picked up a lot of boards – in order to leave a debris trail and maybe get seen easier.”

The Ratu Motu arrived first, followed by Daly and the Indies Trader III, who watched the boat he once owned sink forever into the deep blue nada.

“But everyone’s ok and safe, and that’s what’s important,” said Nevins. “We’re just counting our blessings and figuring out what we’re gunna do when we get back to Padang. I mean, I don’t even have shoes. I’m just thankful that Martin and his crew were there to grab us.”

After only three days out, they’re all on their way back to Bali.

“It’s pretty funny though because right now we’re running back with the wind to Padang, and basically passing that same debris field,” Nevins says. “So we’re motoring along and see a stand up paddleboard, and then another, and then another board – it’s a trail of surfboards!”

Second place is the first loser

A horrific story of almost famous.

Thirty-four thousand played Fantasy Surfer last year. I finished second.

Not first, who won an all expenses paid week vacation for two to the North Shore’s Turtle Bay Resort, and not sitting somewhere between 2000th and 20000th like the majority of the frothers that try their luck. No, I came in 75 lousy points behind the winner. The equivalent of a couple minor victories over the entire 561 heats ran over the 11-stop Tour. What are the odds? I’ll tell you god damn it. One in thirty-four thousand! And what did the corporate owned Fantasy Surf League give out to the obviously genius runner up?

First, let’s break it down so you too can be a loser. My strategy started off loose. I like my regular footers, even at lefts. And I also lean toward the cool factor: stylish outside the water, good looking even. These things matter. Luke Stedman is the greatest surfer to ever don a jersey and that’s science. Let the record state I’d previously never finished in the Top 10000 following this formula.

So it was cool, non-passionate, regular footers only. Then, by chance, a funny thing happened. At Margaret’s my overachieving team that would make any women swoon finished 3rd overall. I thought it was a typo. Then another top placing followed at the despised Bells Beach. It was time to get serious. Turtle Bay was to be mine. So I crunched stats and put an actual strategy together for my Rio Pro team. I bombed. Two dropped scored out of 4 events. Not good, but I still had visions of the glitz and glamour of winning FS. I needed to tap into something otherworldly – a spirit animal. So I ‘became’ Peter Brand (Jonah Hill’s brainy character from Money Ball) and created a similarly sophisticated sabermetric approach – but tailored to competitive surfing – and used it to analyze and pick athletes.

My new teams disgusted the real me. Brazilians and their claiming. Gross. Goofy footers. Much worse! But it worked. Event after event the points were there.

Coming into Hawaii I was a dark horse, narrowly sitting outside the top 20. Exactly where I wanted. If you dropped the leader board’s lowest events I was actually in the lead. I could taste Mai Tai on my tongue. How many could I drink in one week? 100? A mental list was made with whom I was going to take. Babe or buddy? It would be a tough choice.

The Pipe heat matchups were drawn and I discovered Insiders on the beach were giving me tips on who was in form. I double-checked the forecast and no doubt I was getting all 8 past the 3rd round. That’s the secret.

Everything was in place and the huge NW swell hit. Then KP didn’t say #Itson. Then the forecast changed. I was fucked. My team was not built for a head high Backdoor shootout. They were warriors ready to meet their maker at classic, meaty Pipe. I gave up. Crushed, I don’t even remember if I watched the final. But I logged in to FS a couple hours just to see how I faired. Maybe I’d remained in the Top 100?

I didn’t even have to click off the homepage. There it was beside my avatar Jonah Hill’s chubby little face – 2nd. The first loser, but also… SECOND! Fuck yeah! What was I gonna win… some surfboards? Some wetties? A lifetime worth of boxy tee’s and tech boardies that I could donate to the less fortunate? A quick email to the mates at SURFER was returned with this:

Hi Swayzar,

Congrats on finishing second. That’s pretty impressive. Unfortunately we don’t have a prize for second place, but we’re working on that for this year. We’re also looking to give prizes out at each event. I know that doesn’t help you now, but keep the momentum rolling. You’ll be raking in prizes if you do.

– SURFER staff member

Nothing! You win absolutely nothing!!! Images of storming the Turtle Bay stage with fingers raised played in my mind. But still… SECOND! I am a prophet.

Fast-forward to 2015 and my new side-hustle: a FS ghost team picker. Multiple industry bros wanted help for their intercompany “team building” Fantasy Surf Leagues. Some are close friends; others cold called, either way I get a healthy cut of all their winnings. On top of this I’m registered in a handful of private clubs with cash money prizes. Once I sweep these gambling rings and cash out I’ll book my own damn trip to Turtle Bay and drink as many Mai Tai’s as I want!

Note: Currently, I sit on the cusp of falling outside the top 10 000. Prizes are not being raked in. The dream is over.

Strider Wasilewski
Strider Wasilewski, the owner of the greatest tits that ever lived! Sea Bass ain't even game to look at those attack dogs!

“I went to a Chumash Indian sweat lodge in Malibu”

Strider Wasilewski and the best surf profile of the year.

It is not often that great surf pieces appear in non-surf publications but the free LA Weekly just threw down a hammer on the great Strider Wasilewski. It is the best profile of the year, for certain, and I won’t spoil with my words. So enjoy.

If you think you can surf the world’s most powerful waves, you’re fooling yourself. It takes magical thinking to put your flesh and bones in the path of nature’s fury.

“You gotta lie to yourself,” Strider Wasilewski says.

He maintained that lie until one day in 2003, when he faced Andy Irons and other pros in the early rounds of a world tour event at the Tahitian meat grinder known as Teahupo’o. One of the participants, a French local, scraped for an impossible wave — and his failure infected Wasilewski with a mortal truth.

“I could see the fear in his eyes,” Wasilewski says. “And he went and got sent over the falls. And he couldn’t see when he finally came up. He had been underwater for so long his oxygen was gone, and water was coming out of his nose. Nothing was working for him. He couldn’t paddle. He was flopping around, waving. I went to help him, and I was trippin’ on him: Fuck, that was so gnarly. And then I was sitting and a wave came right to me, and I started questioning myself at that moment.”

Until then, Wasilewski had never truly understood fear. But somehow, the French surfer’s fear became Wasilewski’s own.

“And I remember Andy seeing that questioning in my eye. And he took off on the wave, cut back and got the sickest pit. He won the heat. He had the edge from that moment on for the rest of our lives.”

That’s Wasilewski’s perception of it, anyway.

It turns out that, a year earlier, Irons had faced his own life-changing wave — at the same spot. In a video, Irons would describe dropping in on a “dredging” 15-footer that heaved over Teahupo’o’s notorious barbed-wire reef. Irons said that he’d been gripped by fear, unable to catch one wave during that session. He charged only to elbow out his competitive brother, Bruce, who was looking at the same monster. “I pulled back on five waves,” Irons said, “and my balls were just up in my stomach. … I’m scared. I can’t do it.”

He made the wave, though, and he made it look easy. Eight years after the experience, in 2010, Irons would die in a Texas hotel room of a heart attack, likely brought on by all the drugs in his system, including Alprazolam, Zolpidem, methadone, cocaine and methamphetamine.

That could have been Wasilewski’s path. Maybe it should have been.

(Read the rest here)