Dane Reynolds turn

5 Ways to Put More Power in Your Surfing!

Treat waves like submissive concubine!

It’s the most visceral of surfing experiences. You feel it as much as you see it or hear it. You know what I’m talking about. Those rail-buried-to-the-nose cutback and hacks that hypnotise, and even scare just a little, as you paddle over a wave.

Airs are thrilling and easy to like, easy to understand. There’s a speed and there’s a push and a pull and maybe a huck.

But a cutback with fire; a hack that seeks to readjust the molecular formation of a moving piece of ocean?

Well, that’s something for the purists.

Here’s how you can get some…

1. Get the right board

Surfboard design is game of adding and subtracting. If you want extreme power, you’re going to have to lose some of that pop in the tail and the ability to squeeze into the most radical of curves. There’s only a few surfers in the world who’ve got a power-air game, John John, Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds, if you want to know, but I’m presuming you aren’t in that same league. Talk to a shaper. Tell him you want to explode out of your turns. You’ll need more rail length, more thickness, a straighter rocker.

2. You need to be close to the pocket

I once asked a famous surfer, known for his iconic cutbacks, what the secret to his photogenic success was. He leant over, smiled, and said, “You have to be deep, deep in the pocket”.

Well, sure.

“But can you do that?” he asked.

I went out that afternoon, turned up the face of the wave but instead of hitting the lip, I straightened the front leg and flew into the best cutback of my life.

Who knew there was room for a cutback in such tight a spot? I’d never felt a turn so perfect and so vicious. And then it flew back and pierced my cheek, just missing my eyes.

3. Straighten your front leg

Kolohe’s dad, Dino, once a top pro himself, told me the secret to those beautiful frontside wraps that pleases top-level judges so much is  to “straighten the front leg.” Try it. Sounds easy. It ain’t.

4. Aggression

It takes a certain mindset to jam an entire rail into the face of a wave, and in the most critical part of that wave. Airs are a skateboard-esque dance of weighting and unweighting. Power requires violence.

5. Put on weight

Skinny kids aren’t going to shower the lineup with spray. If you want drama in your turns, put on weight, fat, muscle, it doesn’t matter. It’s a physics thing. Kolohe is one surfer whose spray arcs have doubled in the last five years.


Miracle: Vic Secret model lives!

Yfke Sturm is headed home after horrible motorized surfboard accident.

The Victoria’s Secret model Yfke Sturm who was sent racing into a coma, due to electric surfboard incident, with a fractured skull and many broken vertebrae is back!

“E crociera intorno al logo!” Rome’s La Repubblica shouts.

I know because I am in Rome and what a city! Literally eternal.

But back to Ms. Sturm, it is very good news and Laird Hamilton should be pleased. He, of course, wrought this mess upon us what with his infernal fiddling. Hydrofoils one day, Golfborts the next. Murderous motorized surfboards somewhere in between.

When will it end? Thankfully not with Ms. Sturm.

“Che un succulent bella ragazza!” Rome’s La Repubblica gushes.

Being in Rome makes me think about the permanence of surf on this world and makes me realize how fleeting we are. Like Native Americans.

Our collective addition to mankind’s cultural wealth will disappear as quickly as we do. Is that a bummer?

Should we build a giant marble monument in front of Pipeline? Hmmmm. Whatever, I suppose, at least we (Laird) didn’t kill a gorgeous model.

“Succhia uno grasso!” Rome’s La Repubblica sneers.

Big Cloudbreak

How not to: Surf Cloudbreak Hungover!

What a strangely satisfying thing it is to hit the Cloudbreak reef!

“Fucking Mercury.”

That’s our boatman laughing, lifting the engine hatch on on the big black outboard, hot black oil spewing in every direction. Now we’re adrift in the Pacific Ocean, islands silhouetted against a darkening sky like medieval castles.

But we have beer. And rum. And a bit of scraggly bush weed that we just scored off a funky little ghetto house on the dry land side of Viti Levu.

Dunno about you but my favourite Hendrix line has always been “drifting on a sea of forgotten teardrops”. Nothing captures the feeling of being blown out to sea in a broken down boat by a twenty-knot tradewind,  so very, very far from a madding crowd than those words.

We drank the beer, then passed the rum around, then rolled up the bush weed, and pissed over the side and tried not to fall overboard. It was probably ten nautical miles to the nearest island. If the gods were smiling you might drift there on a sea of forgotten tears. Probably not though.

“On a lifeboat… sailing for your love.”

We drank the bottle of rum and opened a vodka bottle. For the hell of it. If there was needle and a dirty spoon I would have done that too. For the hell of it. The hell of it is an amazing place to be in the South Pacific. Whatever the hell you have Captain, we will take it. Sailing home.

Sometime before midnight we got towed into a small rock-walled harbour on an island. We knew the forecast was six-to-eight-foot at Cloudbreak tomorrow. The smart thing to do was keel over and pass out but we kept drinking, at the bar. Cocktails and Fiji bitters until we couldn’t walk. Until our eyeballs sweated.

Then the boat ride out to Cloudbreak. Those blue hues on the reef kill me. Jumping off the boat. Should I take a bigger board? Nah, nah, come back for it. It’s steamrolling down the reef. Heavy. Thudding head, weak as a new born foal. Slipped off the side of the board out the back, under the sea, drifting in a sea of forgotten teardrops. Your love. Home.

Nothing spells living the dream for the working stiff more than standing upright in an ice blue Cloudbreak cavern looking out to islands in the distance framed by falling lip.

I did that first wave. And second.

Somehow I made it three hours in before the inevitable. Threading a hollow one towards the inside. Pinched, then punched hard off the bottom. What a strangely satisfying thing to hit the reef like that. The deep bass note shuddering through your body. The shock. So visceral and raw in a world of mediated reality.

Legrope tangled around my neck. Trussed up like a christmas ham. Pushing off the bottom now with some desperation, and seeing what every trussed up rotting piece of ham wants to see: an eight-footer detonating right in front of you.

Paddling back out the reef drained by a thundering wall, milky blue against white tradewind cloud and sun. It caught me inside. Boom, bang, boof.

On the reef. Tumbling. Legrope tangled around my neck. Trussed up like a christmas ham. Pushing off the bottom now with some desperation, and seeing what every trussed up rotting piece of ham wants to see: an eight-footer detonating right in front of you.

It hit me like a car crash, like a king hit, like a nightmare you had as a kid. A mushroom cloud of whitewater picked me up and smote me on the reef. With biblical vengeance. Again and again and again. I think I blacked out a bit. I was hugging my board in a death grip. Drifting.

Banging coral. Stuck in crevices. I couldn’t see, I couldn’t breathe. All I could see was pure white with little stars floating here and there. A dull rushing roaring sound in the back of the ears.

The rational thing to do was float in and walk up the reef. Submit. But like the drunk guy in a streetfight, too stupid to lay down, I kept trying to stand up until the next whitewater knocked me down. Bang, bang. Bump.

For a long time I stood there on the reef. You want to know what it’s like? Sharp.

Lots of live coral. Big tables of live coral with crevices and trenches. Black and red fish darting out of caves. Clams with iridescent vaginal lips of blue and purple. Beautiful beyond description. I wanted to lie down and have a sleep.  A little sleep perchance to dream about surfing Cloudbreak, like I did so many times.

Eventually I started shuffling here and there like an old man with dementia even though I’m only one year older than Robert Slater and with more hair*. I got to the boat after an hour. Cut up, bruised. Nothing major though.Nothing structural. Ecstasy.

I thought I should drink less after that. But somehow one beer tasted great and then another. And the rum buzz was great. The old letting go. More Fijian bush weed. Before I knew it I was staggering back to a thatched hut with sweating drunken eyeballs. Drifting.

Here is the boat now and here is the boatman and it’s still pumping at Cloudbreak. And like my very good friend Ram Dass says: “The cosmic dance goes on. It’s not an easy task for the working man in this godawful year of our Lord 2015, but it can be done. Fuck you Ayn Rand and the white pony you rode in on.”

*Only a little more.

Mason Ho Surfs The Teahupoo!

For the very first time! Laughs, many thrills… 

How can you not love the Ho family? A surf stoked family of rippers. Friendly times, good vibes.

Short, for sure. Very short, but how much better is that for surfing? Not many six-foot-plus dudes out ripping.

I’ve seen uncle Derek roll into a second reef Pipe bomb, fading and slamming on the breaks right as it hit the inside reef and turned into one of the craziest barrels I’ve ever witnessed first-hand.

Coco made eye contact with me at Laniakea one time. My heart melted.

I was at the Mililani Walmart with my pops, Bill, and Mike Ho was cruising around, shopping for whatever you buy at Walmart. Cleaning supplies and toilet paper probably.

My dad wanted to go say, “Hi” and fan out. Don’t embarrass me, Dad!

But my fave Ho has gotta be Mason. Such a pocket-sized, always amped, ripper imp. Oodles of style, one of the most creative approaches in the business, and he rides proper-sized boards in waves of consequence. I’m a big fan of that, keeps me from feeling like a pussy ‘cuz I don’t have the balls to try the John John two-stroke air drop in on a 6’2″ in throating hell beasts.

Mason makes surfing look fun, even when I know I want no part of the dry reef right belching shoreward from Rockpiles. He’s got that je ne sais quois, where every clip makes me want to paddle out and try throwing airs I have no hope of landing, or pull into barrels I know I ain’t coming out of.

It’s a small group.

Ozzy Wright’s in there. Mitch Coleborn too. Sometimes Chippa Wilson, though not lately.

World’s sexiest surfer?

Has Kelly Slater finally been deposed? Will he be jealous?

Kelly Slater has sat alone at the top of the sexy heap for 20 years. 30 even. That Syrian skin? Those piercing eyes? Pouty lips? Wonderfully symmetrical head? Etc. He is a Bruce Webber dreamboat, obvs. But guess what? There might have been a changing of the guard!

Hawaiian Surfer Koa Smith just won V-Man magazine’s VMAN/Ford model search! Andrew Sayer, editor of the equally gorgeous Later mag, sent it to me this morning in an email and asked, “How jealous are you?” I tried to be a model once but was only offered, maybe, to be shot for Playgirl because “They like men with other jobs…” i.e. I was never going to be a model i.e. I’m not Kelly Slater. Or Andrew Sayer (he is very handsome too).

Or Koa Smith.

Damn it.

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