Jack Black Orange County
Jack Black in Orange County, a movie the reviewer Roger Ebert describes thus: "Orange County" has the form of a teenage movie, the spirit of an independent comedy, and the subversive zeal of Jack Black, whose grin is the least reassuring since Jack Nicholson. It's one of those movies like "Ghost World" and "Legally Blonde" where the description can't do justice to the experience. It will sound like the kind of movie that, if you are over 17, you don't usually go to see. But it isn't."

Laughs: Five Classic Hollywood Surf Films!

Quirky, funny, even…subversive!

There’s not a whole lot going on in the surf world today, but I’ve gotta do my daily deal, so I’m just gonna toss a lay-up and write about surf movies. But I’m not going to go on about Point Break or North Shore or Zalman King’s tour de force, In God’s Hands. Those have been covered, we’ve all seen them, and they have their redeeming features.

Instead, here’s some other stuff.

Back to the Beach

This movie does it right, in the same way North Shore did. It’s utterly ridiculous, fun to watch, and doesn’t attempt to moralize. And so does a pretty good job of actually capturing the essence of surfing. Plus, it features some of the best surf CGI ever employed in film making, a kick-ass musical number, and Lori Loughlin, who was an amazing piece of ass back in the eighties.

Surf School

So much effort goes into making a movie, it always blows my mind when the result is a nonsensical abortion. But this movie has Harland Williams, whom I think is hilarious, and features my favorite trope of all time, when the ugly nerd girl turns out to be hot and also the best surfer in the world. Plus, for some reason, she dresses like a geisha the entire movie, which really works for the secret weeaboo living inside me.

The Perfect Wave

Starring Scott Eastwood, The Perfect Wave is another film that tries to shoehorn Jesus into surfing. It’s based on the “true” story of Ian McCormack, some dude who claims to have seen god after being stung by a jellyfish, then spun that experience into a successful career swindling trusting morons.

Dawn Patrol

Another surf film featuring Clint Eastwood’s less talented son, Dawn Patrol is a tale of racism and rape and revenge and guilt and terrible acting and even worse writing. It’s one redeeming feature is a lack of phony baloney Christian posturing.

Orange County

A pretty damn funny movie, Jack Black’s performance is especially hilarious. But instead of going into that, I’d like to talk about how this movie made for my brief brush with Hollywood.

One day, while I was in college, I heard that they were holding an open casting call a few blocks away from where I lived. They wanted surfer types, I am one of those, and I really didn’t have anything more important to do.

So I got drunk, very drunk, and showed up to toss my hat in the ring.

Being in a room full of wannabe actors trying to look like surfers is pretty funny. Un-ironic aloha shirts, strappy sandals, and those terrible trunks with a mesh liner filled the room. We were all handed lines and set to waiting in a weird little office in Marina Del Rey.

I’d brought a couple tall boys with me so I whiled away the time trying to suck them down before they got warm and fucking with the guys around me who were trying to “learn their lines.” Serious stuff for them, make or break dream time. Not so much for me.

My audition approach consisted of drunkenly screaming my lines at the casting lady, making fun of the actor nerds in the other room, then vomiting in a trash can on my way out of the building. Some straight Daniel Day-Lewis type method actor shit. Always in character. Always!

A few weeks later I actually got a call back. They asked for my agent’s fax number, I gave them the one at the Italian restaurant where I was employed as an especially surly waiter and I was on my way to stardom!

But it wasn’t to be.

Apparently, smoking a huge joint in your car, strolling in red-eyed and reeking of weed, then spending twenty minutes making fun of the script, isn’t the best way to land an acting gig. Who knew?

History: How Charlie learned to surf

The Philippines and a glorious discovery.

Surf travels around the world on the backs of wonderful ambassadors. A man, or woman, travels to a foreign shore and walks on water and the local people shriek with delight and emulate. Duke Kahanamoku, for example, or Bruce Brown. But the man who brought surf to the Philippines is none other than Francis Ford Coppola.

That’s right! The acclaimed film director from Detroit, Michigan brought the Sport of Kings to a small fishing village named Baler to film his epic Flight of the Valkyries soaked scene. You remember it, don’t you? Robert Duvall, as Col. Kilgore, screaming at his men to either fight or surf? Beautiful!

Well, those men who surfed left behind a board and a child named Edwin Namoro grabbed it and bang! Surfing in the Philippines. Read Edwin’s story here and watch that gorgeous Col. below. What a man!

Shark attack: Surfer hit! Beaches Closed!

Surfer hit at Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie, life-threatening injuries… 

A little under two hours ago, a bodyboarder was hit by a shark at Lighthouse Beach at Port Macquarie, a five-hour drive north of Sydney.

According to police,

“About 5.10pm (Saturday 22 August 2015), a 38-year-old man was body boarding in the water with a friend about 400m south of the club house, when he was attacked by what is believed is a shark. The man was assisted out of the water and treated at the scene by Ambulance Paramedics to stomach and back injuries. All beaches in the area remain closed until further notice.”

A few weeks ago, a surfer was knocked off his board and mauled at Evans Head, a little north of Port. A week or so before that, a bodyboarder suffered serious injuries to his legs when he was hit at Ballina further north and in February the Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara died when he was attacked by a great white shark, also at Ballina.

Obviously, public opinion around those parts has shifted and “cull” isn’t seen as such a dirty word anymore. It’s instructive to compare the Gold Coast an hour north of Byron, with its shark nets and drum lines, with the NSW mid and North Coast.

Last year, 621 sharks were pulled off the lines and out of the nets: eight great whites, 251 tigers, 111 bulls and 173 whalers.

In the 53 years of netting, and with the biggest surfing population in the world, and one that’ll hit the Supa Bank in the middle of the night, there hasn’t been one fatal hit.

Not one.

Shark Attack Prank
"The prank was obviously fake, or so highly edited as to make it essentially so. Which is too bad, I'm a huge fan of mean spirited pranks."

Is this the funniest shark attack prank ever?

Who doesn't love striking fear into the hearts of other men?

There’s not a whole lot funnier than the ol’ fake-a-shark-attack-and-terrify-a-crowded-beach-full-of-weak-swimmers prank. Unless someone drowns, I suppose. That would be somewhat less funny, if some poor idiot panicked and latched onto a nearby wader and drug them both down to Davy Jones’ locker.

Hard to wring a chuckle when you’re trying to force life into a cyanotic hunk of flesh.

But the shark attack prank was obviously fake, or so highly edited as to make it essentially so. Which is too bad, I’m a huge fan of mean spirited pranks.

Like the setting-your-ex-girlfriends-house-on-fire prank.

(Click here to read!) Fucking classic!

And is there anything more hilarious than the legendary pretend-to-break-into-a-relative’s-house-and-get-shot-in-the-face prank? I think not!

(Click here!)

What about setting a sleeping homeless guy on fire? (Click here!) Good times! That’s the kind of stuff that makes for a fond memory and a hearty chuckle in your declining years.

Who can forget that time you tried to drown a classmate in a toilet and then crushed his larynx?

(Click here!) Ah, to be a kid again. Youth is truly wasted on the young.

I can’t begin to remember all the times my friends and I laughed ourselves hoarse after pulling off a successful jump-onto-a-moving-train-and-accidentally-electrocute-yourself prank.

(Click here!)

But pranks aren’t just for having a good time at another person’s expense. They can also make the work day just a little more bearable. Don’t believe me? Try starting a prank war with a co-worker. If past examples are any indication you’ll be in for guffaws galore.

(Click here!)

Fate: How John John Florence Met Blake Kueny!

Featuring Jordy Smith's honeymoon.

The most anticipated surf film of the year is, of course, View from a Blue Moon starring John John Florence and directed/filmed by none other than Blake Vincent Kueny (watch the trailer again here). It may seem obvious that the finest young surfer in the world would find the finest young filmmaker and the two would form a magical bond that crackles from the screen.

John John’s surfing? Blake’s images, razor sharp edit and singular direction? but it was not.

The fates intervened like they do in all storied collaborations. Like they did with Scorsese/De Niro, Winding Refn/Gosling, Nolan/Caine.

Mr. Kueny was once Jordy Smith’s principle filmmaker. He traveled the globe, shooting and editing most of Bending Colors (though credit for the film went to Kai Neville). It was a good life and Jordy was a star.

There was a kid his own age, though, that the people were buzzing about. A two-named wonder named double John.

Before he was on Hurley, John John rode for O’Neill and Jordy, of course, rides for O’Neill so the two would end up on trips together and Mr. Kueny was there filming the action. On one trip, Jordy brought his beautiful girlfriend and turned it into a honeymoon, leaving John John and Mr. Kueny by their lonesomes to talk shop, dream, create.

That ended up to be the true honeymoon and the two joined forces shortly afterward.

“Did it go well, you leaving Jordy?” I asked.

“It could have gone better. I could have handled it better…” Mr. Kueny responds “…but it is ok now.”

It is more than ok. And because Jordy turned a surf trip into a honeymoon we all benefit. Some things were simply meant to be.

(Watch Jordy shine under Mr. Kueny’s spotlight here)