“The boogie is one of the greatest inventions ever!”

Tom Curren is a progressive.

I’d heard rumors of Tom Curren surfing fully clothed in Mexico, standing up on a boogie board, generally getting weird. It sounded glorious—the star most any style-minded surfer steers by, soggy in plainclothes, a platypus bill, getting slotted in some right hand Mexican sand bank barrels on a boogie board!

Curren’s always been a fairly aimless experimenter. Remember that section of 5’5” 19 1/4” where he and Greenough shape that odd hatchet-finned thruster? I used to love that part—Curren rocking an awful Mohawk, pushing that duck-billed shortboard through sloppy Aussie windswell, making it look so fucking easy.

Well, Curren got stuck on a boat in the Maldives recently, on board the decadent Guruhali, where LUEX charters cornered him and got him to open up on what’s been tickling his feathers as of late:

On where his head’s at: Well right now I’m really excited about the whole finless movement. It’s really exciting! I think there’s a lot going on there, and I think there’s going to be a lot of progression in the board designs. A lot of people are really enjoying riding finless boards, you know, it’s not the same: they won’t out-perform regular boards, I guess, for now, but maybe some day it’ll be a kinda shift in board design.

On boredom: I think the key there for me is that either you try a different board or something that you’re not usually used to, or body surfing or something, and just to be in the water is enough. It doesn’t have to be… The surf doesn’t have to be incredible to enjoy it.

On boogie boards: “The boogie board is, I think, one of the greatest inventions ever… its just an amazing piece of equipment: so small, so simple right, and it has the flex, and you know it just works amazing and people are doing great things with the boogie board.”

On Skimboards: I was surfing with Brad Domke in Mexico, and just kinda watching what he’s doing, trying to figure out how he does it, because he’s really surfing the wave with the board like a surfboard. The key is the edge is really hard, so it stays in the wave face and you don’t need fins as much with that really hard edge; it holds in so the fun thing about it is you can go really fast, but the hard part is that, y’know its obviously very hard to paddle. I use a soft board to catch the waves and stuff, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s hard too, so I like the challenge I guess.

On boat trips: Where I live is actually really good for boat trips, you know. Santa Barbara is kinda ideal to have a boat, ‘cos especially in the summer there’s a lot of waves on the islands, but the islands are in front of the town and so I haven’t had a chance to do much of going out on a boat trip at home.

On family life: Had a really good trip to the Ivory Coast with my daughter – one of the best trips I’ve been on. We had a great time. Surfing and travelling is obviously really extra special when you can do it with your family…. we all love the same thing: we all love music and surfing.

Our pals over at The Surfer’s Village have the full interview, here.

Save Your Breath from Matt Pagan on Vimeo.

I went down to mainland Mexico a couple months back and spent a few days down there filming with my brother, Mike. We saw some swell on the forecast, called up Las Palmeras and jumped on a plane.
We got some super fun waves and even saw Tom Curren down there covered head to toe in clothes (to avoid getting burnt) riding a boogie board. He was ripping to say the least…


Save the Whales!

Cinematography: Mike Pagan (@mike_pagan)
Creative Influence: Kevin Jansen (@robotsfrom)
Edit: Matt Pagan

Candid: How about we start icing Great Whites ?

Influential Australian newspaper calls for a re-think of the Great White's protected status… 

On Saturday morning, and three days before Mick Fanning’s shark theatre at J-Bay, Australia’s only national newspaper (The Australian) ran a sharp, and brave, piece calling for a re-think of the Great White’s protected status.

No one of any sane form goes into bat against an animal that’s been protected since 1998 and has been turned into a cause celebre, an animal with superior rights to, say, the wonderful swordfish or the awe-inspiring tuna.

But Fred Pawle, The Australian‘s surf writer, ain’t afraid of opinion or of a difficult story.

Years back I commissioned Fred to write a piece on Matt Branson, surfing’s first openly gay pro. That story was a finalist in Australia’s most prestigious journalism awards, the Walkleys.

He followed that up with a piece I asked him to write on the once-great Australian surf photographer Paul Sargeant who fell from the heavens when he performed what Fred described as an “unsolicited sexual act” on the writer, Goons of Doom frontman and occasional surf commentator Adam Blakey (Ronnie Blakey is his brother). That piece shook the pro surfing tree.

So, yeah, Fred’ll have a swing.

And on Saturday, he wrote a story that, morsel by morsel, fact by fact, mounts a compelling case for better management of sharks. Fred argues that in the 17 years since the Great White was protected in Australia the number of human casualties have increased dramatically.

Fifteen fatals in Australia since 2010, and 51 bites since 2012 or triple the 50-year average.

“Have great whites — and, for that matter, tigers and bulls, which make up some of the other fatal attackers — reached numbers that may require more diligent management?” Pawle wrote.

Pawle spoke to two leading researches who weren’t exactly thrilled by his angle. One, Barry Bruce of the CSIRO, didn’t reply to his emails. The other, Ryan Kempster, a shark biologist and founder of Support Our Sharks, replied, if cautiously.

Pawle writes: “He (Kempster) said there was ‘no documented evidence that these species (tigers, bulls and whites) are increasing in abundance’. Anecdotally, surfers and fishermen across the country have been reporting that the size and abundance of large sharks are ­noticeably higher than they’ve been, in some places, for 30 years.”

Pawle spoke to the chairman of the Newcastle Westpac Rescue Helicopter service Cliff Marsh who told him that in January there’d be an ‘explosion’ of Great Whites in the area.

“So why don’t researchers have documented evidence of this?” asks Pawle. “I ask Kempster, but he declines to reply. A scan of the SOS website suggests why. The group is predominantly concerned with protecting the shark’s environment from people. ‘Almost all shark experts feel that the danger presented by sharks has been exaggerated,” the website says.

“The CSIRO’s website is even more sympathetic. When Newcastle beaches were closed for 10 days in January, the CSIRO’s website described the media’s ­response as a ‘frenzy’.”

Three weeks later, and just a one hour’s flight north, a Japanese surfer was attacked and killed by a Great White.

Pawle writes: “Has admiration of large sharks gone too far? Yes, they play a role in maintaining ecological ‘balance’ in the ocean. But these days we see them commonly described as beautiful, mysterious and ­majestic. Two arguments are routinely put forward whenever a person is killed or injured by a large shark: first, the victim entered the shark’s territory; second, the statistics of an attack are almost invisibly low compared with, say, a fatal attack by a malaria-bearing mosquito, which kills more than a million people a year. These two responses are more connected than they seem. Large sharks are described as ‘apex predators’, a jargonistic term that means they sit at the top of the food chain.

“This was not ­always true. Until a mere 2.6 million years ago, 20m-long megalodons ate Great Whites for breakfast. Neither is it true today. Since the demise of the megalodon, another species has developed tools that significantly reduce the odds in its favour. These tools are available at most fishing and diving shops.

“…People who wish to manage their own environment — even for recreational purposes such as swimming, surfing and diving — are not automatically on the wrong side. If you oppose culling, that’s fine. Knock yourself out. Go swimming with them if you like. But spare me the faux sympathy next time someone is killed. These deaths are not necessary.”

Julian Wilson and Mick Fanning pose with shark after incident. "Not a scratch on me," says Mick.
Julian Wilson and Mick Fanning pose with shark after incident. "Not a scratch on me," says Mick.

Petition(s): Did the WSL Screw Mick and Julian ?

And should the WSL add shark fighting to the contest criteria?

With yesterday’s shark-fest in the rear view the healthy glow of excitement and admiration has worn off and it’s time to start second guessing.

Can you believe the WSL only gave Mick and Julian 8000 points each toward their title campaign?  After they fought off like a million sharks with their bare hands? What an injustice!

Or so feels the brain trust behind the newest pointless petition up on change.org.

Click here.

“WSL has decided that both Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson are to share 2nd place points in the J-Bay open final. Awarding them both 8000 points. That is not how you split points. The points of first and second should be collectively split. 18000 points on offer = 9000 each. Furthermore, Adriano was going to lose the ratings lead irrespective of who won the final. Making this decision within an hour of the incident was the wrong call. World Surf League, this is a shameful outcome considering the dramatic events that took place. Step up and do the right thing and award a fair distribution of points. Sign this petition to have the total points on offer split between both surfers!”

Far be it from me to miss an opportunity to take a shot at pro surfing’s owners, but I’m having a tough time swallowing the petition’s argument.

Despite the weighty math-based reasoning employed I can’t help but suspect that at least a few people started spouting ideas online without taking the time to check the WSL rule book.

(Click here to read)

If they had, they might have found this intriguing bit of information:

142.03 If a prize money round is not completed: (a) Advancing Surfers shall receive points applicable to the last non advancing place in the uncompleted round.

Pretty clear cut, that. The WSL got it right, as per the book.

We can argue all day long about whether it’s a good rule, or a fair one, or whether it should be altered next year, but that wouldn’t change the fact that it’s there, it’s clear, and it’s how the situation should be handled. Sports have rules, and we can’t just run around changing them willy-nilly to fit whatever fleeting emotional response we’re currently enjoying.

Personally, I think it makes perfect sense.

Yes, the prize money gets split evenly. That’s because the WSL promises a certain amount for each event, and the further a competitor advances the larger the share they receive.

But world tour points are not pooled and split, they are determined by how you place. And neither Mick nor Julian took first, they tied for second. Though, if I had to choose who won, I’d give it to Julian. He was the only one to catch a wave and shark fighting has yet to be added to the scoring criteria.

But shark fighting should be added to the judging criteria, which is why I’m asking you all to sign my petition, Add shark fighting to the WSL scoring criteria 

Click here! Sign!

Together we can change the world!

“He’ll hop on the sled and reset…”

Joe Turpel becomes a legend.

Accolades are still pouring in from yesterday’s best day ever in the history of professional surfing. Mick Fanning’s bravery, Julian Wilson’s selflessness, the WSL’s overall handling, the shark’s kindness, etc.

All deservedly. It was an exceptional moment but there is one name I have not heard mentioned. Joltin’ Joe Turpel. I mistakenly credited him with saying, “Holy shit! Excuse me…” but that was Pottz. No, Turpel, sitting behind the microphone after watching Mick Fanning get pulled underwater by a giant dorsal fin reported the facts, cooly and calmly:

“Looks like Fanning needing……Fanning needing some assistance. He’s swimming in to the beach as we sound the horn to stop the final. Fanning still swimming on his own right to the assistance of the jet ski. He’ll hop on the sled and reset…”

And amazing. Turpel totally unfazed by the surreality. Turpel giving the people at home what they needed to know without becoming hysterical or overly-emotional. And also without speculating. At that early point what did anyone know? Nothing at all beyond sheer conjecture.

“He’ll hop on the sled and reset” should enter the English vernacular alongside Edward R. Murrow’s “Good night and good luck.”

Bravo, Joe Turpel. Bravo.

Tech: Print your next surfboard!

With much power comes much responsibility.

A company out of Bondi, Australia wants to change how you get your next surfboard Disrupt. was founded:

…on the simple idea of creating a board with a specific surfer in mind. Not the average Joe, but you. We help you custom make your own surfboard. From the dimensions , to the construct and even the artistic design, we are able to give you expert advice and guidance on the path to creating your dream board. And once you’ve come up with your custom board… That’s when the magic happens. We use 3D printing design technology to make a digital set up of your board and then shape, glass and spray it by precision computer. Once the dream vessel is made, we ship it to your doorstep and you’re out ripping on your new 100% personalised board.

Wow! A surfboard that comes out of a computer printer! It is like we live in Back to the Future II!

Aside from being crazy tech, I don’t know if it is a good surfboard or not. On the company website there is a live chat feature and “Chris” kept asking if he could help me but never responded to my questions so I could not ask if it is a good surfboard. Their tagline is: RIDE THE BOARD YOU DESERVE

Except I don’t want the board I deserve. I want the board that quiet genius Dane Hantz from Vulcan surfboards thinks I don’t deserve but shapes for me anyhow. I have a step-up pintail that is so delicate yet so brave. It was meant for a professional for sure but I ride it and it makes me surf slightly overhead waves with reckless abandon.  You should order one too.