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?


Ain't That Swell
Radio show that's so not radio but radio format! This is the t-shirt by Ozzie Wright.

Joy: The rise and rise of the (mostly) surf podcast!

Four podcasts to enliven brain and life… 

It’s funny how, now that we live in a crazy future where tech advances have created a world that was considered science fiction twenty years ago, we choose to embrace some aspects, while rejecting others in favor of the simple.

We can, literally, video chat at any time we choose with people in pretty much any part of the world.  But most prefer to send abbreviated text messages.

We carry around magical books that contain all the knowledge mankind has ever assembled, yet use them to play games and browse pornography.

Podcasts are a great example. In a time when it’s easier than ever to create astonishingly high production value videos and distribute them world wide we’re seeing a rebirth of the radio play.

I’m aware I’m a bit late to the party, but I’ve recently found a few I really enjoy. Some are surf related, some are not, but they are all, without exception, awesome pieces of entertainment to listen to at the gym, or play in the background as you clean house.

The following are my current faves, let me know if there are any I’m missing. I’ve got a lot of free time on my hands. Click on the titles (or SoundCloud button) to listen.

Down the Line Radio  

Scott Bass and David Scales put out a top notch ‘cast every two weeks focusing on the current state of the surf world. It’s good stuff, more than enough to keep me coming back for more. And they talk about BeachGrit fairly frequently, which is great, and this week they said some really nice stuff about me, which is even better. Because I love attention. I know you’re not supposed to admit that, but whatever. I’m a total fucking ham and love nothing more than being talked about.

Ain’t That Swell

Jed Smith is one of those guys I kind of want to hate. He’s got a solid writing career going, is all young and in shape and surfs better than me. And his podcast is great. Sure, sometimes I have difficulty understanding the Aussie accents, but I think that’s something wrong with my brain.

WTF with Marc Maron

Marc Maron really comes across like an asshole. In fact, that’s a common theme on his show, what a horrible prick he is. But I’m a prick too, so I can relate. Maron has an amazing assortment of guests and is one of those interviewers who is gifted when it comes to establishing a rapport and getting people to speak from the heart. Which is no easy feat.

Plus, the POTUS said “nigger” on his show.  Which is fucking crazy.

The Drunken Taoist 

I first met Daniele Bolelli nearly a decade ago, when he was one of my wife’s professors at CSULB.  They hit it off outside of class and ended up becoming good friends. Daniele is a crazy dude, a total warrior poet. He’s one of the most brilliant men I’ve ever met, and he could kick your ass.

habits of world champions
Five things y'need to carry the crown: a paid BFF, a distorted view of reality, a sleight of hand, the ability to turn fours into eights and… one shaper for life.

The 5 Habits of World Champions!

You need a paid best friend! You need a distorted view of reality! And three more!

Since 2005, Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning have won eight of the 10 world titles. Kelly has five; Mick has three. (Joel and Gabriel, one apiece).
Have you ever wondered what is it that separates these two men from the rest of the tour? Talent, sure, but isn’t Taj Burrow, just to pick one, as good as Kelly or Mick?
And what about Julian Wilson, Jordy Smith, Kolohe Andino, Filipe Toledo and the rest? Even brave little Matt Wilkinson! Every heat is a potential final. To continually steamroll the pack, to win multiple contests and multiple world titles means there’s something else at play.
And they are:
1. A paid BFF
Kelly has Stephen Bell aka Belly. Mick has Phil McNamara. Australia-born Belly is one of the surf pioneers of Hossegor alongside Maurice Cole, Robbie Page and Tom Curren. He arrived in France in the eighties, didn’t know a word of French, but built a life, and started a glassing factory that finished Quiksilver’s boards. And so he came to know Kelly. And they liked each other. Belly is a straight-talker and he knows boards. Kelly isn’t after a party buddy. He wants knowledge. He’s got it. Phil McNamara, meanwhile, is there to make sure Mick covers the basics, to keep his body in tune and limber enough for continual high-torque turns, to push visualisation techniques and, like Belly, just to be there.
2. A distorted view of reality
How bad do you want to win a world title? Like, really. Are you ready to sacrifice everything for the chance that, maybe, you might win a cup made in a small workshop in South Australia and worth about a grand? And by everything, that includes the parties, the pals, the comfort food, all those everyday things that make your life what it is. Anything that takes your gaze off the finish line has to be taken out of your life. And if a friend gets in your way, you have to crush him without regret. Think Kelly versus Rob Machado in 1995; Mick and Joel in 2011. It ain’t fun and that’s why Kelly and Mick own the world title.
3. A sleight of hand
It’s a subtle theatre. It’s only claiming those scores that fall on the borderline (think: Kelly’s first wave in his semi against John John in Tahiti last year). It’s maintaining a studied dignity when politely criticising judging decisions. It’s being available for post-heat interviews even when you lose. It’s the clever use of criticism of your competitors wrapped up in praise. It’s getting inside a potential rival’s head with outrageous compliments (that you don’t believe).
4. The ability to find a perfect score where none exists
Think Mick at Pipe in 2013. Did he conjure that last-minute, world-title winning wave out of the depths? How? And Kelly, every heat against Taj Burrow. Sure, they might be flat-spin airs, but last second, and totally rotated, and judges have no choice.
5. One shaper for life. 
Mick has Darren Handley; Kelly has Channel Islands. Gabriel Medina? Johnny Cabianca since 2008.