Craig Anderson Desert Point
This, as y'can see, is part of the reason What Youth is such a compelling and important stop on the ol internet carousel. The mag and movie house is tight with the most photogenic surfers in the world (see: Craig Anderson) and their staff photographer Nate Lawrence can turn a simple land angle on its head with his subtle, but interesting as hell, composition. | Photo: Nate Lawrence

Objective: The Seven Surf Websites that Matter!

Like, besides us! Wait, do we matter?

Was it really only a handful of years ago that we’d wait a month for the latest surf news? A surf contest would go down and it wouldn’t be until a journalist had written a story, the photographer had developed all his shots, the story had been submitted to a magazine and then edited, the photos had been scanned into a digital format, the magazine had been designed, printed and then distributed that we’d actually hear and see what had happened.

What a mockery of… everything!

Now, the good surf websites will have a photo gallery of the day’s action along with an analysis within a couple of hours. Shark attack? Yeah, the inside story is up. Someone loses their sponsor of 20 years? You’ll read about it in five different ways. There’s plenty of dross out there, however, so let’s point you in the direction of the sites that matter.

Most surprisingly edgy site: Matt Warshaw’s Encylopedia of Surfing isn’t what you’d expect, at least if you’re unfamiliar with Warshaw’s work. Sure, he’s a historian now, and that’s the genre of this one-stop shop of everything to do with surfing history, but the former editor of Surfer and pro surfer is the sport’s most underrated writer. Combine an ability to write with his enyclopediac knowledge of surfing (hence his current gig) and a fearlessness of opinion unheard of in modern surf writers and you have a site that entertains…and…informs.

(Try this!)

Most complete website: With its formidable arsenal of surf cams and surf forecasting team, the foundation upon which the site was built, Surfline is the one-stop shop. The overwhelming taste of vanilla can be a little disheartening (Hello dull!) as can its obvious sexual proclivities, but, if it happened, it’s on surfline.

The overwhelming taste of vanilla can be a little disheartening (Hello dull!) as can its obvious sexual proclivities, but, if it happened, it’s on surfline.

Best photography: Despite its lack of any breaking news, Surfing presents the bests online photo features in the biz, a result of it having too many staff shooters, and therefore having to disperse its myriad of brilliant imagery… somewhere. The flipbook here (click!) from this year’s Fiji event, is typical. Any other print magazine in the world would kill for what are supposedly Surfing’s outs.

Best original clips and most interesting photos: What Youth is part-owned by the filmmaker Kai Neville and counts the Indonesia-based photographer Nate Lawrence. So what do you expect when they follow and film some hot young thing for a week in their Fairly Normal series or, as is evidenced in the main photo here, follow Craig Anderson to Desert Point? You don’t wanna miss.

Best aggregator: Boardistan. From surf to snow to skate, Boardistan trawls the net and press releases from all the PR companies, provides a very readable synopsis of the event, with links to the original source.

Best architecture: The design of the site (and the magazine) is so simply perfect it’ll move an aesthete to the happiest of tears. It ain’t breaking ground in any other sense but… to look at… superb.

Most interesting insight into a surfer: Marinelayerproductions is the website of Dane Reynolds, the 28 year old from Ventura and, currently, Quiksilver’s most highly paid surfer.  What makes the site is it’s the musings and photography of Dane and not the work of a media minder. Like this, as he posted a collection of his outs from the movie Cluster.

“i emailed a friend of mine a link to ‘SAMPLER’ the other day to see what he thought and he texted me back that it was ‘pretty cool.’ i said ‘that doesn’t sound very enthusiastic.’ and he wrote back that it was ‘a little too b sidey for me.’ then the next day he sent a long winded explanation saying he just expected more. i wrote back ‘that text leaves me more confused than before, so your saying you were just disappointed? i don’t really care i like it… it’s b sides whatever i’m not gonna force people to watch it or pay for it so if they’re disappointed then fuck em’

man… expectations, what a stoke killer. every time you do something, the expectation is that whatever you do next has to be better. do you understand how unsustainable that is? the pressure caused by this principle has stressed me out, burned me out, i eventually cracked, hid out, dropped out, turned away… but then it get’s to a point where you’re just like ‘fuck it.’ that’s when i’ve done my best surfing. when there is a complete absence of consideration for what people expect.

so here’s SAMPLER, which is a collection of surfing i’ve done the past year that didn’t make it into ‘cluster.’ so yeah, it is ‘b sidey’ but that is not a disclaimer, i’m proud of it. every moment can’t be your best, the waves aren’t always perfect, the more you expect the more your disappointed, do what you can with what you’ve got, surfing’s an art, there’s no winner and no loser, no right or wrong way to do it, there’s a big difference between saying ‘fuck it’ and genuinely feeling it, and as much as i wish it did, writing it on my boards doesn’t really make me feel it, and i have to say that for the most part, while filming the past year, i was aware that i was one of the oldest guys in the movie with a reputation to defend, and that is not the right frame of mind to surf your best. or feel your best, or be yourself… but seriously… fuck it, forget what your sponsors expect, what viewers expect, expect nothing, do your best, clear your mind, be present, turn off, tune out, drop in.

or as ethan fowler says it ‘do what you want, do it well, or, if you don’t want to do it well, don’t do it well, just do it how you do it, and that shit shines through a thousand times brighter’”


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!)